The Wisconsin boondoggle just keeps getting worse.
The Wisconsin governor gave away the store last year in order to land the construction of a 2,800-acre production campus for Foxconn, the Taiwan-based company that makes products for Apple, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, among others.
The corporate giveaway, which will cost each Wisconsin household $1,774, is supposed to be justified by all the local jobs it will create. But the Wall Street Journal now reports that Foxconn is looking to bring in lots of Chinese engineers to supplement staffing.
Obviously, there's nothing wrong with any American-based enterprise hiring foreign workers. It's a common occurrence across the country. But Walker's entire rationale for placing such a huge strain on Wisconsin taxpayers in order to secure the Foxconn deal was that it would employ local, American workers — more than 10,000 of them.
The revelation about Chinese engineers comes after a recent Verge report on how Foxconn will have "most of the manufacturing done by robots."
The Wall Street Journal news arrives on the very day that Walker's run as governor may come to an end. Polls show him fighting a highly competitive re-election race against Democrat Tony Evers. And it's a race where the Foxconn deal appears to have done nothing to bolster his chances.
"As the public has become aware of the spiraling costs for these jobs, the Foxconn deal has become something of a political liability for Walker, particularly among voters outside of southeastern Wisconsin," The New Yorker reports this week. "Those costs include taxpayer subsidies to the company totaling more than $4.5 billion, the largest subsidy for a foreign corporation in American history."
A recent Marquette University Law School poll shows that a strong majority of Wisconsin voters don't think local businesses near the Foxconn campus will benefit from the new plant.
State officials estimate that the earliest Wisconsin will see an economic return on the Foxconn giveaway won't come for at least two or three decades from now.
Foxconn generated a mind-boggling $58 billion in revenues last year. Yet Walker and the Wisconsin GOP are showering the tech giant with unprecedented tax write-offs — so it can bring in Chinese engineers to Wisconsin.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.