Wineke: Fitzgerald and Vos might like to shut up
You’d think that if you were a legislative leader who convinced Wisconsin lawmakers to promise subsidies of more than $4 billion for a project that may never happen you would consider lying low when it appears it won’t happen.
Ha! That was in the old days when colossal blunders were considered an embarrassment rather than a challenge.
Welcome to Wisconsin in the Scott Walker era.
The crown jewel of Walker’s eight-year reign as Wisconsin’s governor was the recruitment of Foxconn, a giant Taiwanese electronics manufacturing firm, to build a $10 billion huge-screen television facility in Southeastern Wisconsin.
Foxconn promised to employ up to 13,000 workers, almost all of them relatively unskilled factory workers to make Wisconsin a high-tech manufacturing hub.
The Legislature, led by Republican Sen. Scott Fitzgerald and Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, rushed to give Foxconn anything it wanted. Walker, if press accounts are accurate, penned the original agreement on a napkin. Public hearings were a hurried joke. We agreed to rebuild highways, divert Lake Michigan water, relax environmental protections and force families from their homes, all to get this project going.
President Donald Trump flew in from Washington to call the project the “Eighth Wonder of the World” and to take full credit.
When everything was signed and sealed, Foxconn admitted it couldn’t quite deliver.
First, it said the giant screen manufacturing was dependent on a glass company building a $1 billion manufacturing plant nearby, but it couldn’t get anyone to build the plant.
So, instead, Foxconn said it would build smaller screens that involve less technology and fewer workers.
This week the company said it has determined that America is a stupid place for it to build manufacturing facilities because our workers get paid too much.
That, of course, is a time-honored reason why companies build things overseas but, apparently, no one thought of it before now. However, Foxconn promised to maintain its promise of creating 13,000 jobs here. Except now they will be engineering jobs, not manufacturing jobs. Oh, instead of creating 5,000 jobs by next year, it will only create 1,000 jobs. If that.
And what was the response of Vos and Fitzgerald? Why, to blame incoming Gov. Tony Evers and his “wave of economic uncertainty,” of course.
I think maybe these guys might consider shutting up. Just, shutting up.
They have been in control of this state and its economic process. They controlled the executive and legislative branches of government. They gerrymandered the state legislative districts so that, even though Democrats won massive electoral victories in the last elections, Republicans maintained all the power. They even changed state laws so that things that were once illegal are now legal.
And when Evers finally pushed Walker out of office, they rushed to their desks to make sure they maintained control of the state’s economic destiny.
I have no idea what will become of the Foxconn process. The company must have some reason for this whole scheme and it may be that Wisconsin will end up better off.
But do you know who else has no idea? Vos and Fitzgerald. Just shut up.
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