Then-governor Scott Walker gave the $4.7 trillion manufacturing maven tax breaks worth $4.8 billion to bring a $10 billion 20-million square foot state-of-the-art flat-panel display factory, that was supposed to "create 3,000 jobs with the potential to grow to 13,000 new jobs," according to a Foxconn press release.
But as The Guardian reported at the time, even "if 13,000 new jobs are created, Wisconsin would be paying $346,153 per job at a subsidy of $4.5bn. An astronomical sum, but nothing compared to the $1.5m per job cost if the deal ends up creating just 3,000 new positions."
And yet, President Trump heralded this as a massive achievement, which it never was.
Now, it's even worse than it originally was, and President Trump is scrambling to save face.
Reuters reported this week Foxconn has ditched plans to build the $10 billion manufacturing facility, and instead will operate a campus to employ "mostly engineers and researchers," possibly with some light manufacturing. They're now calling it an "advanced manufacturing facility as well as a hub of high technology innovation," but being silent as to what that means or how many jobs they will be creating.
“In Wisconsin we’re not building a factory. You can’t use a factory to view our Wisconsin investment,” the special assistant to Foxconn CEO Terry Gou told Reuters.
This has become a major catastrophe for Trump's legacy. It was supported to exemplify that he was the great deal maker he claimed, and that he could revive U.S. manufacturing, which was never possible.
Desperate for some good news and to do damage control, President Trump Friday afternoon tried to brag that he called Foxconn's CEO, and suggested he saved the deal, which would be false. He also tweeted out a CNBC article that literally calls a new Foxconn press release "damage control."
Great news on Foxconn in Wisconsin after my conversation with Terry Gou! https://t.co/2wtuCdl7TX
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 1, 2019
The Foxconn press release in the article does not offer any new details, does not say the manufacturing jobs are saved (they are not) or anything new – it just repackages what Reuters had reported two days earlier.
CNBC notes that Foxconn "isn't clarifying what kind of jobs will be housed at the $10 billion plant."
Bottom line, Foxconn is not going back to the original deal, and it appears there will not be 3000 or 13,000 new Foxconn manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin.
See a mistake? Email corrections to: [email protected]