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The Verge: ‘Inside Foxconn’s Empty Buildings, Empty Factories, and Empty Promises in Wisconsin’

Josh Dzieza, in a devastating investigative report for The Verge:

In 2017, President Donald Trump and the Wisconsin GOP struck a deal with Foxconn that promised to turn Southeastern Wisconsin into a tech manufacturing powerhouse.

In exchange for billions in tax subsidies, Foxconn was supposed to build an enormous LCD factory in the tiny village of Mount Pleasant, creating 13,000 jobs.

Three years later, the factory — and the jobs — don’t exist, and they probably never will. Inside the empty promises and empty buildings of Wisconn Valley.

The hallmarks of the Republican Party, exemplified by the Trump administration, are incompetence, corruption, and lies. All three are at play in this story, but it’s hard to say in what order. The promises were all false — some combination of outright lies and utter failures — but the results are very real to the people of Wisconsin:

That illusion has had real costs. State and local governments spent at least $400 million, largely on land and infrastructure Foxconn will likely never need. Residents were pushed from their homes under threat of eminent domain and dozens of houses bulldozed to clear property Foxconn doesn’t know what to do with. And a recurring cycle of new recruits joined the project, eager to help it succeed, only to become trapped in a mirage.

“All people see is the eighth wonder of the world,” said an employee. “I was there and it’s not real. I mean, it’s not. This is something I can’t talk about ever again, because people think you’re crazy, like none of this could ever happen. How could this happen in the US?”

We all know how it happened. We made a terrible mistake in 2016 that we’re set to fix next week.

I can’t say enough good things about Josh Dzieza’s reporting and writing for this story.

Wednesday, 28 October 2020