Monday, December 30, 2019

Subsidies for Foxconn weaken Trump's objections to China's many subsidies

I was taken aback by this summary of the lead story on the home page of The Washington Post website Monday evening:
Initial U.S.-China trade deal’s big hole: Beijing’s massive business subsidies
Subsidies, in the form of discounted loans, cheap land, inexpensive electricity and more, are marbled throughout China’s state-led economy. This edge often makes it difficult for U.S. businesses to compete.
I wasn't surprised by the recognition of so many business subsidies "marbled throughout China's state-led economy." 

What came to mind immediately were the similarities to the Foxconn deal Walker and GOP legislative leaders 'negotiated' forced on state taxpayers, local residents, utility customers statewide, and the environment - - another thing to keep in mind when you read about environmentally-damaging plants in China:

Gov. Walker exempted the Foxconn factory from any major environmental review. Last-minute changes by Trump political appointees at the EPA could keep Foxconn from making expensive improvements to reduce smog 
In other words, Walker, with Trump's encouragement, made sure Wisconsin was playing a record-setting subsidies-and-favor, dare I say 'China-like' game for Foxconn, including:

* $4+ billion in direct public or road-building subsidies - - perhaps even better than "discounted loans" - - to be provided by state taxpayers.

* Along with extensive, separate grants provided by The Village of Mount Pleasant and Racine County now estimated at $911 million. That includes $88 million in water infrastructure spending pledged by Racine County to bring in a controversial Lake Michigan diversion - - high-quality water said to have been among the resources which made the region attractive to Foxconn in the first place.

* And "inexpensive electricity?" How about a $117 million new power transmission line to be paid for by 5 million customers statewide over 40 years.

* And project land described as greater than four square miles which is being acquired for Foxconn:

Foxconn is paying for the land through a $75 million special assessment included in a tax incremental financing district. A year ago, the Taiwanese tech giant also deposited $60 million into a village account for land acquisition.
Let's remember that these privately-owned acreages and homes were acquired for the project by government actions through pressure, threats of seizure through eminent domain, bogus categorizations of 'blight,' and other tactics not unknown to authoritarian governments elsewhere. 

So perhaps the land is not 'cheap' on a per-square-foot basis or handed over by a business-friendly agency, but we're talking about working farms, dream homes and multi-generational homesteads in Wisconsin, in America, which were certainly cheapened by political agendas and state power.

So while US-China trade discussions are being driven by the same Donald Trump who also pushed the Foxconn deal for his own partisan presence in Wisconsin--


-- let's not pretend that only the Chinese use state power to manage the economy pump up businesses to hand marketplace control or political advantages to their leaders.

I've been following the turns, twists and traumas in the Foxconn story for more than 30 months, and have collected hundreds of posts into a running archive, here.


Anonymous said...

What is really amazing is the blind following of the Republicans to an agenda that would fit right into communism. This is some really scary stuff. The same party who would prefer people and their children would starve to death if they are out of a job, are the same party fighting to steal taxpayer money for a foreign company.

The winner is Robin "the Weasel" Vos. Look at all the inprovements he has brought in. A friend in the Foxconnjob area told me that very few citizens wanted it and that the economy in that area was already booming. He leans conservative, note I did not say Republican. He calls it a really bad joke.

I found a perfect example of the GOP hypocrisy: A news article pointed to David Blaska's blog. I couldn't help but laugh when I read about how Steyer and Yang are not qualified because they have never been elected officials. Yet somehow Trump was? I wanted to leave a comment on his blog but certainly do not want that fool to have my email.

By the way, thank you for allowing anonymous comments. Yes, Republicans would use someone's email to attack them and their family. Look at what happened when the recall petition signatures were published.

Maynard McKillen said...

Walker, Vos and the GOP-dominated majority exerted, and continue to exert(!), an odd, pathological desire to lower the quality of life in The Badger State...for all but the One-Percenters, that is. All their quacking about "creating jobs" has proven empty and self-serving, contingency-based, spouted when necessary to horde enough votes from low-information citizens to win reelection.
Before the FoxCon fiasco there were other "job-creating" fiascos: Kestrel Aviation in Superior, Gogebic Taconite in the northern counties, and a set of running fiascos engendered by WEDC.
These ideologically-constipated GOP idiots cannot waste and squander taxpayer monies fast enough! Their incompetence has some of the characteristics of a mania. But their slavish devotion to One-Percent whims must be indulged!

Anonymous said...

It's different when it's Robbin's friends lined up feeding at the taxpayer's trough!

Chris said...

“-- let's not pretend that only the Chinese use state power to manage the economy pump up businesses to hand marketplace control or political advantages to their leaders.”

I agree! There’s another example of our own government managing the economy to pump up businesses that’s been in play for the past 20+ years — one that’s seldom reported on by the mainstream media (or really any media) or discussed by politicians and presidential candidates: the displacement of U.S. citizens (largely in the tech sector) by foreign guest workers. We’re told that we have a STEM shortage in this country, and that business desperately needs foreign guest workers to fill jobs. I thought that shortages shouldn’t exist (or should be short-lived) in a free market economy. The problem is that we don’t really have a free-market economy, but rather one that’s manipulated by our own government for the benefit of big business. The result in the example above has been lost jobs and suppressed wages. I don’t blame guest workers for wanting a better life for their families, but I do blame our government for making it possible at the expense of U.S. citizens.

I find it interesting that politicians (especially presidential candidates) talk about the importance of ‘well-paying, family supporting jobs”, yet none talk about how ‘well-paying, family supporting jobs’ of U.S. citizens are being eliminated every day via guest worker programs implemented and subsidized by our government and used by businesses in all sectors: H-1B, OPT, H4 EAD and L1 to name a few.

I urge your readers to research these guest programs in order to draw their own conclusions. But be forewarned: they (especially the parents of U.S. STEM students and college graduates) may be outraged by what they learn. I know I was.