Wednesday, February 6, 2019

In-depth biz report calls Foxconn deal 'disastrous...hollow...nakedly political'

The con is out there in the open now, and not one person Wisconsin will be caught off guard by this Bloomberg news story and headline:
Inside Wisconsin’s Disastrous $4.5 Billion Deal With Foxconn
The only surprising thing is that the story cites 49 sources - - a number far higher than any local or state media had managed to interview to produce such a timely, authoritative report: 
Interviews with 49 people familiar with Foxconn’s Wisconsin project, including more than a dozen current and former employees close to its efforts there, show how hollow the boosters’ assurances have been all along...
The only consistency, many of these people say, lay in how obvious it was that Wisconsin struck a weak deal. Under the terms Walker negotiated, each job at the Mount Pleasant factory is projected to cost the state at least $219,000 in tax breaks and other incentives. The good or extra-bad news, depending on your perspective, is that there probably won’t be 13,000 of them.
I will say 'I told you so' because I have been saying it in one way or another since Walker announced the deal he'd sketched out on a single piece of paper.

Here is one of my earliest 2017 posts, and notice that it's Bloomberg raising the alarm:

About Walker's '18 campaign 'Foxconn' over-under 
I'd mused on Facebook about guessing Walker's Foxconn over-under number through the November 2018 election because we knew he'd use the proposed deal to distract from his failed 250,000 new jobs promise that is 70,000 jobs and 2.5 years short of its January 2015 deadline..  
Anyway, Bloomberg News carries a reality-check op-ed which says, in effect, 'don't be conned' by the jobs the factory could create: 
Anyway...the only way to make it viable is by keeping staffing low and leaning on automation to boost productivity. This LCD factory will be either labor intensive or highly automated. It can't be both... 
Just this past year, Foxconn is reported to have pledged investments of $27.5 billion...That's more than Hon Hai has spent in the last 23 years. 
Terry Gou didn't get where he is today by blithely spending money on huge factories. Instead, he's learned to entice leaders into thinking big, and then letting them pay.

Here's a snippet of the Foxconn archive's index that is now closing in on 300 posts:
Walker is quoting a Trump reassurance on Foxconn. Please!
What's worse than a Walker reassurance on Foxconn? Trump's. 
On-again, off-again Foxconn project, with its bulldozing, subsidy-hogging and environmental risks, wags Wisconsin.
Foxconn Fiasco shows arrogance of WI's leader class. Again.
* Vos, Fitzgerald tell a cover-your-as* whopper about Foxconn and Tony Evers
WI GOP fib gets jump on Lie of the Year Award
*  The bond-rating firm Moody's issues warning about local government's Foxconn risks.
Here's a new way to measure Walker's Foxconn folly
Foxconn now says it cannot say 'if, when and which' items it will manufacture or assemble in Wisconsin. The billions of dollars in subsidies granted, and other permits, permissions, perks and approvals were based knowing that Foxconn would build an LCD TV facility. How is this deal not now voided?
We in Wisconsin will say 'I told you so' because the deal was arranged by a self-centered, self-indulgent Governor grasping for re-election who had already failed to coordinate all the resources of the state - - all the agencies, all the budgeting, all the legislation his one-party rule handed him for eight years - - to create 250,000 jobs in the state he said would be done after one four-year term.  

For example, in August, 2017:

On jobs, and moral leadership, a persistent Walker con
He's willing to distort and drain the state treasury of $3 billion, commit local government and their taxpayers to very expensive infrastructure perks for the company, and fill in wetlands with the people's water beneath stands of forests and along streams or on shorelines and at the bottom of lakes to do one thing:
To get you to forget he ever promised to create 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin in four years, and failed to hit the number after more than six-and-a-half years in office with a GOP-led legislature that gave him every tax cut and pro-business program in their playbook...
Job-creation? Republican-boilerplate. No sweat. He'll just snap his fingers and watch that WEDC he set up and chaired until it got too embarrassing - - and which we learn today to no one's surprise that it continues its sloppy, slothful, scandalous behavior by not yet verifying Foxconn's bona fides - - to show Democrats how easy job-creation really is. 
The state's top jobs agency has yet to run a full check on the finances and market position of Foxconn Technology Group — the Taiwanese company seeking up to $2.85 billion in cash from state taxpayers in exchange for thousands of new jobs. 
In the past, taxpayers have suffered after the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. neglected to make careful checks on companies receiving state incentives. 
So during the 2018 campaign that is obviously underway, and assuming the Legislature capitulates to Walker's whim and delivers what he needs, you will hear "Foxconn!" minute-by-minute from Walker for months on end.
And if he's asked about that broken 250,000 new-jobs pledge he said he wanted his incoming cabinet appointees to tattoo on their foreheads, Walker will pivot to Foxconn, Foxconn, Foxconn, distracting and fudging the numbers as he did with a quiet amendment on Twitter this morning to Foxconn PR about spin-off jobs: 
  2 hours ago2 hours ago2 hours agoMore Foxconn’s historic investment will create some 22,000 ripple effect jobs -- proof hard-working WI families are winning!
Even though the projected spin-off jobs total has been lowered substantially by an independent analyst....
And when the bloom falls off the Foxconn rose, as it has already begun to do with a smaller-by-$100 million projected Foxconn payroll and the diminished spin-off job projections making the news, Walker will just stand behind the smaller numbers he did today on his Twitter feed today without any clarification and shout "Foxconn" even louder...
He's proven time and time again, and historians will carve it into his post-gubernatorial assessment, that if it wasn't about himself, and couldn't be spun it to his advantage regardless of the public impact, Walker was never interested.
A final snippet of archived relevant posts:

Foxconn now says it cannot say 'if, when and which' items it will manufacture or assemble in Wisconsin. The billions of dollars in subsidies granted, and other permits, permissions, perks and approvals were based knowing that Foxconn would build an LCD TV facility. How is this deal not now voided?

Foxconn changes the channel; old, new questions remain
WI got federal funding to add driverless trucking technology on I-94 to help move Foxconn manufactured goods to Mitchell Field. But if there's no factory envisioned on the Foxconn site now, why spend the highway money on the 'upgrades.'
Should Wisconsin still finance Foxconn special driverless I-94 shipping lane? 
 * Foxconn has cancelled its Racine County factory. So it doesn't need the host of water diversion and air pollution permits the DNR awarded it. Or the facilitating federal clean air enforcement exemption handed over by the US EPA along the SE WI lakeshore north of the Illinois line.
No Foxconn factory, no need for those air and water permits and permissions.
January 30 produced the news that Foxconn was scaling back its WI project and would not be building a factory, as promised - - and publicly-funded - - in Racine County. Here's short course in how that came to happen.
Short roadmap to today's Foxconn news
* Protection for taxpayers was not adequately built into the Foxconn deal until WI State Democratic Senator Tim Carpenter blew the whistle and got it inserted.
Let's correct Walker Tweet about doing us Foxconn deal favor
* The headline says it all.
Breaking news: Foxconn says "not building a factory in Wisconsin."
* Oh, boy. Talk about a Friday news dump: Foxconn has 'adjusted' its hiring and recruitment timelines.
Walker's WI looking conned and outfoxed 
Oh, here's a surprise: Foxconn missed its 2018 hiring goals. All they had to do to qualify for state subsidies was to create 260 jobs. All they could muster was 178.

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