Other Views: Foxconn deal is a real con job
President Donald Trump has boasted about the 13,000 jobs he’ll create by bringing electronics giant Foxconn to Wisconsin. The problem with the just-finalized deal is that Wisconsin’s taxpayers are paying for those jobs—and at a cost of $230,700 per job, it’s not such a great deal.
In the best-case scenario, the state won’t break even for 25 years.
The $2.85 billion Foxconn deal, the largest subsidy ever given by a state to a business in U.S. history, is the latest example of Republican-sponsored corporate welfare. In the end, corporations like Foxconn get richer, state and municipal budgets are stretched even thinner, and the profits end up being shipped overseas.
Foxconn already has a troubling track record when it comes to creating American jobs. Despite rosy promises from the Taiwanese corporation to build a $30 million factory in Harrisburg, Pa., and create 500 jobs, Foxconn backed out at the last minute. Foxconn also has a long history of labor violations and worker exploitation—in 2010, the company strung nets under the roofs of factories and dormitories in its massive Longhua, China, complex to prevent workers assembling computers and phones for companies like Apple, Dell and Sony from committing suicide.
At a campaign rally in 2016, Trump declared: “We’re going to get a lot of jobs. We’re bringing our jobs back from China. We’re bringing our jobs back from Mexico.”
But under Trump’s watch, workers continue to be laid off in staggering numbers. Over a quarter million workers were laid off in the first seven months of 2017. And the working class wage growth Trump promised hasn’t materialized. Nationally, hourly wages have grown a meager 2.5 percent in 2017, barely matching growth from the previous year.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
In a letter released recently on Capitol Hill, Bernie Sanders and several other Democratic U.S. senators called on Trump to use his executive powers to keep his campaign promises to workers.
“We need to send a very loud and very clear message to corporate America: The era of outsourcing is over,” the senators wrote. “If you are serious about ending offshoring and helping the American worker, you will issue an executive order ending government contracts for companies that offshore American jobs.”
Trump needs to use his executive powers to tell corporations that they can’t do business with the federal government—and get rich off taxpayer money—unless they stop offshoring jobs and raise wages for the roughly 1.1 million workers employed by federal contractors.
More than half of the American companies that received the 50 largest federal contracts in 2016 routinely move jobs abroad in search of lower labor costs. Despite sharply criticizing that kind of business practice during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump hasn’t made any attempt to end it now that he’s in office.
I’m a worker who has spent my career helping build southeastern Wisconsin with my own two hands. But while people like me are working harder than ever, we have less and less to show for it.
We deserve better than corporate boondoggles like Foxconn, and our government’s leadership needs to stand on the side of workers.
Randy Bryce is a U.S. Army veteran, former union iron worker and cancer survivor who is running as a Democrat in the 1st Congressional District race. He wrote this for Progressive Media Project, a source of liberal commentary on domestic and international issues. It is affiliated with The Progressive magazine.