Trump’s Foxconn Deal Became Just Another Government Development Debacle
In 2018, President Donald Trump teamed up with then–Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) to offer $4.5 billion in subsidies and tax incentives to the Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn in exchange for building a 20-million-square-foot factory in the rural community of Mount Pleasant.
“I think we can say this is the eighth wonder of the world,” Trump said at a groundbreaking ceremony in June 2018.
The project was supposed to employ 13,000 local workers, helping to make good on Trump’s campaign promise to increase the number of domestic factory jobs.
More than two years later, planners have flattened a residential neighborhood and built an unfinished data center and warehouses, which are a fraction of the size of the state-of-the-art LCD panel factory that was originally planned.
After Foxconn failed to reach employment benchmarks, Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, who defeated Walker in 2018, clawed back some of the subsidies that his predecessor had promised. The major facility constructed by the company is one-twentieth the size of what was originally promised, and its planned use has changed from manufacturing to storage, according to an article in The Verge.
The Foxconn debacle is just the latest government-led development deal riddled with false promises in which the state provided the rich with giveaways and used the threat of eminent domain to push ordinary citizens out of their homes to benefit a private company. The Mount Pleasant neighborhood where the Foxconn factory was supposed to be built was flattened—questionably so, since the buildings that have been constructed occupy a tiny portion of the area that was demolished.
When Reason did a story on the project in 2018, Kim and Jim Mahoney were some of the only residents left within 1 1/2 square miles. They were fighting the local government, which was attempting to bully them into selling their dream home by threatening that the state would step in and force them out.
“How can they take my house? To me, it’s stealing,” Jim Mahoney told Reason in 2018.
The Mahoneys, unlike all their neighbors, managed to stay put, and today their house overlooks a warehouse and unfinished construction site. It’s unclear what ultimately will become of the project.
“You’re setting people up for failure if you encourage them
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