Thursday, January 25, 2018

Conning spotted in Walker's State of State. Part I.

[Updated from 1/25/18] In Walker's Wednesday State of the State speech, it was 'Foxconn...public subsidies...filled wetlands, huh?'

Here's the speech text. It was, first and foremost, a long, state-financed campaign ad with 'highlights' strategically dribbled out before the address, followed by statewide media market saturation, then day two analysis, etc. 

Here a few observations, with more later in Part II about the environment about which Walker said nothing.

*  About halfway through a speech that lasted more than an hour, Walker made but very brief references to the Foxconn project in a few tight paragraphs about what in the fall was his number one focus, talking point on a loop and repetitious Twitter subject - - even more frequent than pictures of his half-eaten meals and Bucky Badger sweatshirts:
And we’re just getting started. Foxconn, for example, will begin construction this year on a $10 billion campus. This will require 10,000 construction workers from all over the state. Earth movers from Hoffman Construction out of Black River Falls are already starting work on the infrastructure for this major project.
Families, workers, and companies from across the state will benefit from one of the largest economic development projects in the history of America. Once operational, Foxconn will spend roughly $1.4 billion a year with Wisconsin businesses. ...
If you are a small business that would like to be a part of the Foxconn team, I invite you to sign up on the website,
Most importantly, Foxconn will be one more reason for our graduates to stay in Wisconsin. Young people like Amber, who is a student at Gateway Technical College, Joey and Tim, who attend Madison College, and Eric, who is a student at Fox Valley Technical College. They all have plans to be a part of the 13,000 people working on the Foxconn team. Thank you for being such a visible reminder of all the employers that are growing here in Wisconsin. 
Of course he made no mention of the record-setting, $4.5 billion taxpayer subsidies involved, as if there were no public dollars involved, or if the money was coming from the company itself, or elsewhere.

No mention of the local controversies already arising or the unique polluting environmental exemptions awarded to the company.

So why so little of Foxconn in this high-profile address?

*  Because as I've argued, Walker knows that every motorist in the state bouncing through the potholes on the way to the tire shop understands that Walker is pouring hundreds of millions of public dollars into new and repaired roads for Foxconn that are not available to repair our roads ranked second-worst repair in the country.

And that the spin in Walker's speech about spending he's agreed to send to local schools does not make up for his earlier cuts, and, as with so many other program shortfalls he's cavalierly and indifferently aimed at his base - - whether it be his underfunded chronic deer wasting disease approach, rural broadband expansion he undermined, or health care coverages he refused to finance earlier because bashing Obamacare was more important - - the Johnny-come-lately dollars he's finally budgeting could be much larger and effective were his Foxconn focus not draining away record amounts of state dollars that may not reach a break-even point for another 25 or 30 years.

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