Monday, August 27, 2018

About Foxconn's $100 mil pledge to the UW-Madison...

Officials quoted by the Journal Sentinel Monday were understandably generous with praise when describing Foxconn's pledge of $100 million to the UW-Madison for the development of a science and engineering center.

Can we at least consider some cautions?

* First of all, as the Journal Sentinel noted, the deal is not 100% transparent:
The agreements signed Monday describe the planned cooperation and partnership between Foxconn and UW, and are public documents — though they were still being processed late in the afternoon and were not yet available, said Lucas, the university spokesman.
The gift agreement is separate. It is between Foxconn and the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association, and "is not public because the university doesn't hold it," [UW spokesman John] Lucas said. He described the foundation as the university's fund raising arm — an affiliate of UW but "not part of the university state entity."
Lucas could not say what Foxconn's gift commitment would be should the university fall short of raising $100 million. 
* This all comes ten weeks before an election where the incumbent Governor and Foxconn's #1 cheerleader is on the ballot. 

Is there enough separation, do you think, between a partisan campaign and the the publicly-owned-and-operated state university system? We all know that promises are made during campaigns that are inflated with rhetoric and unattainable outcomes, like, say, 250,000 new private-sector jobs created in four years.

* The announcement of Foxconn largesse for Madison seems to fit a pattern - - every few weeks we get some big Foxconn development or contracting announcement, whether in downtown Milwaukee, or Brown County, or Eau Claire, or Brownsville, or La Crosse and now in deep-blue Dane County - - that could also be an overlay map of where Scott Walker doesn't have a cake walk to re-election and where he needs to convince skeptical, out-state voters that Foxconn is more than a big, mutually-self-serving- subsidized project to boost the SE corner of Wisconsin and Northern Illinois job seekers.

And since the company is to receive more than $4 billion in state and local aid, it might be fair to look at the pledge as more of a promised 2.5% rebate to Wisconsin - - and a write-off for the company against earnings, no?

*  Foxconn has already stepped back from its commitment to build as promised a plant based on next-generation products, and has said it intends to make heavy use of robotic production company-wide that will inevitably reduce human hiring. 

So let's not go overboard embracing this latest Foxconn promise when others, shall we say, are squishy.

Full Foxconn archive, here.


Anonymous said...

Please call your source what it is, more scott walker cheerleading and pro-foxCON propaganda from the biggest GOP disinformation asset in Wisconsin. This has nothing to do with being "generous".

It is yet the latest stream of walker talking points misrepresented as news. It begins with MJS and will be cast across Badgerland by the rest of our rightwing media echo chamber, newspapers, radio, and television.

Anonymous said...

What's Tony Evers' take on this con job?

You done flacking for Evers?