Foxconn For Dummies

Remember all the hoopla about Scott Walker’s deal with Foxconn? As the New Yorker summarized it,

When it was signed, less than two years ago, the deal that Wisconsin struck with the electronics giant Foxconn contained all kinds of headline-grabbing numbers: the company promised a ten-billion-dollar investment in the state, a new 21.5-million-square-foot campus for manufacturing L.C.D. screens, and as many as thirteen thousand new jobs, paying an average wage of fifty-four thousand dollars a year. The manufacturing facility would be the Taiwan-based company’s first U.S. factory, and the prospect stirred the hopes of a region that still dreams of clawing back the middle-class factory jobs that were its pride in the middle of the twentieth century and that it lost to foreign competition long ago. As Dan Kaufman wrote for The New Yorker last year, the deal also appeared poised to give a boost to the reëlection prospects of Scott Walker, the conservative Republican who was then Wisconsin’s governor, who transformed the state into a bastion of conservative, free-market politics.

Scott Walker’s version of free markets differs rather considerably from mine; giving huge subsidies via tax abatements and other government goodies to large enterprises hardly equates to a competitive marketplace where manufacturers and sellers contend on equal terms with others.

Trump, of course, applauded the announcement as evidence that he–the self-described great dealmaker– was bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. (although from what I read, he had nothing to do with making the deal originally).

As the details of Walker’s great coup leaked out, and Wisconsin citizens found out what the state had promised, the coverage became considerably less rosy.

But since then Wisconsinites have found out a lot more about the $4.5 billion in taxpayer subsidies that Foxconn was promised—money the company was being given despite the dramatic cuts that the state has made, in recent years, to education, infrastructure, and other public spending—along with the pollution waivers and special legal privileges that it was granted and the bulldozing of neighborhoods that it needed to acquire the land it wanted.

Those details helped defeat Walker in the gubernatorial election. But the state was still on the hook for the promised subsidies.

To add insult to injury, the company recently–and significantly– backpedaled on its commitments, telling Reuters it isn’t even going to manufacture in Wisconsin, and will employ mainly research and development workers. As a result, some of the incentives the state originally promised will be left on the table, but others are irreversible. Millions of dollars of highway money have already been redirected to support Foxconn’s project, and a number of homeowners have been “cleared” from the area designated for the factory.

Time Magazine reported that, following a telephone call from Trump in the wake of the no-manufacturing announcement, the company said it would build a smaller factory after all.

I wonder what Trump promised them.

The Foxcomm scandal is just a particularly egregious example of corporate welfare; bribery ( subsidies and an absence of regulation) has become a commonplace element of what is delicately called “economic development.”

This clusterf**k is simply added evidence that America’s economic system is corporatism, not market capitalism. The dictionary defines corporatism as the control of a state or organization by large interest groups, and adds that “fascism was the high point of corporatism.”

Real capitalists are screwed.


  1. Many cities get their drinking water from Lake Michigan – Millions of people
    The Foxconn people are planning to take HUGE amounts of water from the lake and send it back full of poison.
    Generations of people get to drink those poisons. All for what? This stinks

  2. “Real capitalists are screwed.” You make it sound like they did not invite this, participate in the foreplay, or take the money left on the dresser afterwards.
    For most of my lifetime powerful and rich capitalists prostituted themselves for the bottom line. Their lobbyists walked the streets of Washington D.C. and every state capitol for the promise of deregulation and tax relief. They bought themselves out of investigations into their corporate boards / behind closed door behavior. They soiled their own homes with pollution, greed and a sick disregard for human life. Think addictive drugs. If now they are seen as the syphilitic whores they are, well good. Sunlight is, after all, the best disinfectant.

  3. “The Foxcomm scandal is just a particularly egregious example of corporate welfare; bribery ( subsidies and an absence of regulation) has become a commonplace element of what is delicately called “economic development.”

    Here in Indiana; we are paying for retaining an “economic development”, for a much lower price, to a lesser degree and in reverse – moving jobs out rather than moving jobs in. Remember the Carrier scam; brought about by president ELECT Trump and vice president ELECT Pence regarding Carrier prior to their lower level than reported inauguration attendance? We Indiana tax payers still must pay that $6 MILLION tax incentive to retain 1,000 jobs which moved to Mexico within approximately three months of the deal signing. After that deal, which followed his election, Trump bragged about saving that heating manufacturer…which incidentally manufactured air conditions parts.

    In both states “Real capitalists are screwed.” But the bottom line in both states is that the people are screwed.

  4. Corporatism = Republicanism. How can we forget how the infamous Sam Brownback did the same thing to Kansas? These guys are owned by slimy creatures like the Koch brothers. Scott Walker is fundamentally corrupt – as we now know. I don’t care about Trump’s phone call to FoxxCon (emphasis on “con”). I’ll bet they end up renting a 1,500 sq. ft. office somewhere in a local, abandoned mall, take the tax breaks and leave the good people of Wisconsin holding the bag.

    Voting out Walker was just the start. The totally gerrymandered state has a 60+% Republican majority in its legislature and will hamstring the current Democratic governor. Wisconsin is becoming a truly failed state. Well done, Republicans. You must be so proud.

  5. Corporatism is one way to describe this fiasco. Colonialism by a foreign entity is another.

  6. I recall vividly in this connection that Trump and Pence did in fact bring much ballyhooed 45 jobs from Mexico, but what they didn’t tell us was that all 45 were automated, and last time I looked, robots didn’t either vote or pay taxes. Of course, they work twenty five hours a day sans wages and attempts to unionize, tool

    Financiers have found a way to socialize capitalism, where the consumer finances the production of goods and services but the financiers run away with the profits. Wisconsin has suffered another blow under Walker. Their Harley Davidson company headquartered in Milwaukee is moving its production to Thailand to escape Trump’s 25% tariffs which threatens to destroy Harley’s EU market. Walker and Trump, for their perfidy and if the law allowed, should have been taken out and shot as sunrise, but the law doesn’t allow it. We have taken care of Walker at the polls, and will do the same for Trump unless he is sent to jail and/or impeached and removed during the interim. Talk about good riddance!

  7. Corporatism, Corporate Welfare and Crony Capitalism cross Party Lines. This is labeled Bi-Partisan when both Democrats and Republicans and some big corporation, wealthy individuals or families receive a government handout in some form. This type of Bi-Partisan effort simply means we are getting screwed by both parties.

    New York state and NYC engaged in a bidding war with other states for an Amazon Headquarters in Queens, NYC. Amazon is one of the largest companies in the USA and Jeff Bezos is among the wealthiest on the planet.

    From the Guardian:
    Supported by the New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, and the mayor, Bill de Blasio, the plan has faced a cascade of opposition from elected officials, activists and unions, angry that the company is set to get up to $3bn in tax breaks and subsidies.

    The New York city councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the Queens neighborhood and opposes the deal, told the Guardian, “This whole thing has been bungled since day one by the mayor and the governor and Amazon,” he said. “Defeating an anti-union company is a victory. I think defeating a company that works with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) in terrorizing immigrants is a victory. I think defeating an unprecedented act of corporate welfare is absolutely a victory.”

    A link in the article has this to say: New York City voters approve 57 – 26 percent, including 60 – 26 percent among Queens voters, “of Amazon locating one of its new headquarters in Long Island City in Queens,” according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released today.

    Superficially, then New Yorker’s approve. However, Voters are divided, however, on the $3 billion in city and state incentives to attract Amazon, as 46 percent support the incentives, with 44 percent opposed, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds.

    These types of Corporate Welfare have become commonplace, all across the USA and our McMega-Media never labels it as such.

  8. The question isn’t whether or not the Foxconn deal up here in WI is worthwhile. The real question is, why do we allow a system to exist whereby US citizens in Wisconsin compete against, say, US citizens in Indiana or Michigan to see who is going to deliver the most welfare. As long as that situation exists, nothing will change.

    Don’t blame the corporations for taking advantage of naive political wannabes. As the old saying goes, when you’re sitting at the poker table and you don’t know who the chump is, it’s probably you.

    This could be easily resolved with a national industrial policy if there was a will…a big if.

  9. Imagine the s**t fit wingnuts would be pitching if Dems allowed a foreign corporation to take land and homes away from the koch bros or Adelson.

  10. Yes, but isn’t it nice to know that Indiana isn’t the only state whose leadership is gullible enough to give away the store for a promise to turn it into something it will never be? Almost makes you feel good about United Airlines, doesn’t it?

  11. As I recall, back when I was building computer systems – Foxconn did a lot of hardware for mother boards and modem chips… And they were built on bad tech! Never liked any product with the Foxconn elements. It was a pick an choose for me when it came to choosing which hardware to base your systems on I went elsewhere. (Been a while!)
    I am just sorry that there is all this mix up trying to get people decent employment! I mean this is the United States – we have completely abandoned American Ingenuity and innovation! We sold our innovation for capitalist dictatorship!

  12. “The capitalist order tends to destroy itself…” Schumpeter.

    In order to save itself, these interests try to capture the state through corporatism. The struggle now is between fascism and socialism.

    With all due respect, seeking to restore “market capitalism” is futile.

  13. Based on Trump’s campaign promises and his report during his SOTU statement that manufacturers ARE returning to this country; which ones have returned, what do they manufacture, where are they located, how many employees are working and which manufacturers are in the process of moving back to this country, when will they arrive, where will they be located, what will they manufacture and how many employees will be needed? Just the facts, man! Just the facts!

    Or will they operate the way Rolls Royce here did after letting more than 2,000 workers go; offer them the opportunity to reapply for their old jobs…starting salary would be minimum wage.

  14. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has become if you have face book, etc., the primary target of the Rabid Reactionary Evangelical Right Wing. Photo-shopped pictures and slurs are typical, trying to depict her as a brainless idiot.

    However, In a critique of campaign finance laws that has now gone viral, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) this week showed how the United States has “a system that is fundamentally broken” due to the pervasive influence of corporate money that infects every aspect of the nation’s democracy.

    There is a video that shows just how corrupt our system of campaign finance laws are, and what an elected official can get away with.

    So even when AOC demonstrates her drive and intelligence the Rabid Reactionary Evangelical Right Wing, will have already been brainwashed.

  15. I have edited the post to reflect the correct spelling of Foxconn. Thanks to those who pointed out my error (both on and off the blog).

    Really, I should have known the name was a CON…

  16. Imagine you are the CEO of a large corporation. How anxious would you to be to get the opportunity to match wits with Scott Walker or Donald Trump over big bucks? Talk about easy wins.

    Somebody used the term “socalized capitalism” which is new to me and sort of ambiguous. On one hand captitalism has to be socialized to be of benefit to any country. It will only follow the rules that it can’t get away with ingnoring against make more money now regardless of the impact on any others ever and those rules can only come from government. On the other hand now they have made their relationship with government also a large source of income making more money off of tax payers by playing the taxpayers of X against Y and Z. All of this for, to them, minor donations to politicians campaigns. Now they own the country and their leaders are the Koch Bros. What a country!

    Their power is increasing daily because they are keepers of our jobs. Without them some of us don’t work starting with the poorest of us. Also without them doing well the President has no bragging rights for claiming having something to do with the fact that more of us have jobs.

    Now, put yourself in the place of the dozen or so legitimate candidates for being the next President. How do you break that strangle hold that Republicans have taught CEOs, without costing people their jobs? How do you save the only climate we have ever known without creating the need for the government to employ those without other means?

    Anastasia Oczio Cortez has a plan that has and will put her in the Hillary Clinton memorial political assassination seat. Others are looking for the celebrity that we now require for the office.

    The country is still and glowingly spiraling out of control on both the local and world stage and as the electorate we are called to greatness but can we? Are there sufficient thinkers left?

  17. When middle class or poor people want government protections or assistance, that’s socialism. When corporations want government money or help, it’s ‘economic development’. It seems the capitalists are the socialists – on steroids.

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