The Foxconn deal is a massive payoff, at taxpayer expense, to a manufacturing company with a shady record, simply to make Trump and his allies look as though they have accomplished something.
Foxconn, a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer that supplies the screens used in Apple products, has announced plans to build a plant in Wisconsin. The move comes after Trump and Jared Kushner met with the Foxconn chairman Terry Guo, and the state's Republican governor, Scott Walker, pledged $3 billion in tax credits upon completion of the facility.
This deal sounds great on the surface. But on closer inspection, it looks less like a jobs deal and more like a taxpayer-funded bribe.
Foxconn has pledged the plant will create 3,000 jobs up front and 13,000 jobs in total. Even if the company meets that projection — and historically, Foxconn has wildly inflated its job creation promises — that would mean Wisconsin is paying over $230,000 for each $54,000 job.
And that is not all. Fortune reports Walker is trying to exempt Foxconn from several state environmental regulations:
The bill Walker unveiled Friday would allow Foxconn, without permits, to discharge dredged materials, fill wetlands, change the course of streams, build artificial bodies of water that connect with natural waterways and build on a riverbed or lakebed.
Foxconn would also be exempt from having to create a state environmental impact statement, something required for much smaller projects.
On top of everything, these inducements are directed at a company with a track record of horrifically mistreating workers.
All things considered, this is a massively raw deal. It is not so much a legitimate jobs plan as it is a huge payoff to make it look as if Trump and his fellow Republicans are accomplishing something.
Such a deal is par for the course for Trump, who in December took credit after Mike Pence, in his role as Indiana's governor at the time, gave $7 million in tax cuts to Carrier to "save" 1,100 Indiana manufacturing jobs from going to Mexico. Carrier later laid off more than half of those jobs anyway.
Trump has long promised he would enact punitive taxes against companies that make products overseas, but as president, he has done the exact opposite, bribing foreign or outsourced manufacturers to make shallow, token gestures of American employment.
The Foxconn deal is essentially the same as every other aspect of Trump's brand and presidency — a massive ripoff sold with hype and bombast.