Grifters often have a blind spot when it comes to detecting one of their own kind, so we shouldn’t be surprised to see the latest chapter of the Wisconsin-Foxconn saga leave the state’s citizens holding an empty bag while the politicos who summoned ruin look for a side door.
A company whose employees use threats of mass suicide as a bargaining tactic might not seem like an ideal partner for the wholesome Dairy State, but a few years ago they simply had to mention “high tech” and “13,000 employees” to get then-governor Walker, a man whose notions about economics arrive in a fat envelope from the Heritage Foundation, to strap on his kneepads and do whatever had to be done.
Even the Carnival Barker in Chief got in on the act, because there was credit to be claimed without actually doing any work besides shaking a hand and grimacing at a camera. And so it came to pass that Wisconsin ponied up $2.85 billion in tax credits in exchange for Foxconn’s promise to hire 13K workers who would make next-generation LCD screens. A wise man would question why a manufacturer of electronic commodities would choose to plop down a new factory in Wisconsin, the state’s sudden love of cheap labor notwithstanding, but no one has ever accused Scott Walker of being a wise man.
Similarly, history buffs might have spoken up about past examples of Foxconn playing bait and switch with rubes around the globe, but I guess the economic cheerleaders in the state don’t believe there’s anything to be learned from the past.
The train wreck that will forever be known as Fox-Con has happened in exquisite slow motion. An empty “innovation center” distracted curious eyes from the lack of actual manufacturing, while “someday soon” became less of a promise and more of a doomed dream.
Yet, some hold on to that dream and boldly believe, against all reason, that manufacturing activity will crank up and Foxconn will add the 12,719 additional employees needed to meet their commitment. But grifters know never to hang around one town too long. To paraphrase a famous movie about swindlers, I guess Foxconn will move on and won’t be getting a straight job anytime soon.