President Trump traveled to Wisconsin yesterday to help cut the ribbon at a new factory being built in the state by Hon Hai Precision Industry (more commonly known by their trade name Foxconn), the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer that does much of the assembly work for Apple’s iPhones.
The President gave a speech at the ceremony celebrating the groundbreaking for the new factory which is slated to produce LCD displays for the Asian high tech manufacturer and which Trump, in true P.T. Barnum carnival barker fashion, described as “the eighth wonder of the world.”
Trump tweeted out a congratulatory message this afternoon to Wisconsin Governor and union buster Scott Walker to commemorate the occasion.
The new plant being built by Foxconn in Wisconsin is incredible. Congratulations to the people of Wisconsin and to Governor Scott Walker @GovWalker and his talented representatives for having pulled it off. Great job!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2018
Not everyone is as excited as President Trump about the deal that brought the Foxconn factory to Wisconsin. Local residents are concerned about the costs of the incentives that Governor Walker offered to the Taiwanese company, especially as they compare to the number of jobs that they will bring to the region. Others are concerned about the environmental impact of the deal.
With state subsidies and tax breaks totaling around $4 billion dollars, according to the Wall Street Journal, and an estimate that the factory will bring nearly 13,000 new jobs to the state, that means that Wisconsin taxpayers are essentially on the hook for $307,692 for each job Foxconn says they will create.
That’s $690.25 from the pockets of every single citizen in the state going to the Taiwanese manufacturer, enough to pay for 67,751 state jobs paying the median U.S. income of $59,039 per annum.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Wisconsin voters are divided on the merits of the economics of the deal.
“About 46 percent of registered voters think the state is paying more than the plant is worth, while 40 percent think it will provide at least equal value, according to a recent Marquette University Law School poll. Most voters think the Foxconn plant will boost the Milwaukee-area economy, but statewide only 29 percent think their local businesses will benefit.”
Homeowners living on the land slated to be used for the factory complex are being forced to move thanks to Gov. Walker ceding eminent domain to make way for the facility. Most report being lowballed by state appraisers over the current value of their property.
“There was no consideration of the impact on residents,” Kim Mahoney, one resident being displaced, said. “I don’t know how this plays out for the state, but it’s another example where big business is getting all this money and it’s only going to benefit so many people that get these jobs.”
Environmental groups have also slammed the Trump administration’s decision to make much of the nearby areas of southeast Wisconsin exempt from the current federal limits on smog pollution.
Those rules would have mandated that Foxconn and other smog-producing factories either install more effective pollution-control equipment, scale back production, or make emissions-trading agreements with cleaner facilities.
The Attorney General of neighboring Illinois said last month that she plans to file a lawsuit challenging the EPA’s decision on the matter because she fears the new exemptions will affect the health of her state’s residents as well.
Even as Trump was congratulating Wisconsin on its costly new jobs, Trump’s bumbling trade policies were driving jobs away, as Harley-Davidson announced that it was shifting production of motorcycles for the E.U. market to Europe because of Trump’s new tariffs.
With public perception among his base being the only thing that matters to President Trump, he simply ignores the human and long-term costs of his misguided policies and cheerleads his way to disaster.
Great job … if you’re working to destroy America. Your patrons in the Kremlin will be very happy when they get your progress report at the summit in Finland in a few weeks.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.