Jul 22, 2018

One Gov Candidate Vows to Terminate Massive Foxconn Subsidy and Free-to-Pollute Guarantees

In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott
Walker's discredited claim
that 13,000 new jobs will
materialize with a $3 billion
public investment is meeting
with incredulity. Walker's 2018
campaign, Friends of Scott
Walker, is now pitching the
scheme dubbed the
Fox Con.

The election of Matt Flynn as Wisconsin governor would result in litigation against Foxconn placing Donald Trump and Republicans in an untenable Foxconn-first position against an elected state government

Analysis - Madison, Wisconsin — The election of the leading Foxconn foe running for the nomination for governor in the Democratic Party Primary would mean the greatest industrial-policy litigation against a foreign corporation in American history, Matt Flynn promises.

Such litigation would highlight the political vulnerability of pro-Foxconn policy that could potentially obliterate Trump's faux America-first appeal.

Alone among Wisconsin gubernatorial candidates, Matt Flynn has vowed to litigate the Foxconn-Wisconsin contract with an objective of terminating all public monetary subsidies and specific contractual exceptions to environmental and zoning state and local laws for Foxconn.

The latest public polling data on Wisconsin's $ 4-billion-plus subsidy to Foxconn shows strong plurality sentiment against the biggest give-away of state monies to a foreign corporation in American history, (Marquette University Law School Poll (July 18, 2018)).

Reads the poll analysis by Charles Franklin:
Views of [Wisconsin residents on] the Foxconn incentive package and the effects of the new manufacturing center are little changed from the June poll. Forty-six percent think the state is paying more than the Foxconn plant is worth, while 39 percent think the plant will provide at least as much value as the state is investing in the plant.

Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Donald Trump have hyped Foxconn [Foxconn Technology Co Ltd., aka Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd.] in Wisconsin past the point of credulity.

Last month at the ceremonial groundbreaking in southeastern Wisconsin, Trump acclaimed the proposed Foxconn center as "the 8th wonder of the world," (CBS News). Last year, Foxconn CEO, Terry Gou, told Trump "off-the-record" that the company will triple its promised $10 billion investment in Wisconsin to $30 billion, Trump claimed, aka a lie (Associated Press).

Foxconn at the Ballot

Will this unprecedented public give-away to a Taiwanese corporation be able to pass muster at the ballot box?

Foxconn may indeed succeed in the mid-term general election voting because of the diffuse nature of grassroots opposition and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

One anti-Foxconn Facebook site, No to the Fox Con run by Madison resident Allen Ruff and boasting 100s of activist members, declares candidate positions of gubernatorial candidate are the same, a patently false statement. Ruff further declares that candidate positions on Foxconn should not inform analysis of anti-Foxconn commentary and public information, another ludicrous position.

But the site highlights a problem. Many residents would prefer to express anti-Foxconn sentiment, while ignoring the high-stakes strategy needed to produce the desired results.

Last Summer, Gov. Scott Walker (R) was able to jam Foxconn through the state legislature because so many people tuned out of the magnitude and costs of the project. No referendum was offered or demanded.

We can't now wish Foxconn away. Alone among Wisconsin candidates for governor, Matt Flynn proposes to terminate the contract through a complex litigation strategy. This is going to be the greatest Wisconsin industrial-policy case in state history pitting the Taiwanese corporation v. Wisconsin, if Flynn wins the nomination and the general election.

So would Donald Trump, the first cheerleader for Foxconn, then double-down on his support for the Wisconsin-Foxconn deal in favor of Taiwan?

This would be politically disastrous.  Unfortunately, inflicting political disaster onto Trump and Scott Walker is not always high on Wisconsin Democratic-progressive strategic missions or on a list of things to do.

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