Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Foxconn Standard

So Republicans are busy breaking their arms while patting themselves on their own backs over their major deal with Foxconn, bringing a major LCD manufacturing plant to Paul Ryan's district. It's a win, I'll grant. When the other team makes a great play, all you can do is tip the cap and say, "well one." But not everything is quite so rosy.

First, let's understand that most of these new jobs will not go to Wisconsinites. The brain-drain caused by Walker's slash-and-burn approach to education has created a dearth of marketable skills within the state, and Foxconn will have to bring qualified workers in from outside Wisconsin, or even the U.S., to fill their openings. The employees laid off by Chrysler in Kenosha will not find much here. Thywill remain stuck at Amazon, filling orders for $11.25 an hour, and pining for the glory days when an honest days work was something you could live off of. That's not to say that these jobs won't have a positive impact. Those people who come to Wisconsin from India or elsewhere will shop at local stores, buy valuable real estate, and eat at local restaurants, all of which will increase the overall well-being of Southeastern Wisconsin. But it won't be the boon that Ryan, Johnson and Trump claim it will be.

That being said, there is one additional positive effect, and that is the valuable lesson in economics this presents to us. You see, Republicans have now demonstrated that government spending to create jobs works - which is exactly what Democrats have been saying for decades. The only difference between the two parties on this one is that one party says government programs and education creates jobs, while the other says that corporate welfare creates jobs. Both are correct, as it turns out. The only question is whether you agree with lining the pockets of a foreign corporation to create those jobs or not.

Republicans are now forced to answer a fundamental question: If one believes that this government spending to create jobs is acceptable, what is the difference between this corporate welfare and more traditional welfare? In both cases government money is doled out to improve the economy. But who is the bigger deadbeat? The local citizen, or the foreign corporation who profits off our tax dollars? The answer is simple: if one believes in corporate welfare, one must also believe in traditional welfare.

I'll bet all the CEO's of this corporation play golf with a handicap.

We could have lured jobs here by having the best engineers and highest quality workers in the state. Instead, we chose to preach water and drink wine when it comes to believing in the "free market."

Because these jobs were anything but free.