Some Lawmakers Pose Concerns About Foxconn Deal

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Foxconn, the Taiwan-based manufacturer that makes electronics for Apple Inc's iPhones and other tech companies, announced the new plant in Washington on Wednesday at the White House, along with President Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, who represents the state, and Walker. "Hopefully we can work hard and get the deal done".

Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, said in a statement that the investment "signifies the start of a series of investments by Foxconn in American manufacturing in the coming years". Even if these are good-paying jobs, they may not be good ones.

Indeed, in an interview on the day of the announcement, Walker himself qualified the 13,000 figure as less than certain in discussing $3 billion in incentives Wisconsin is offering Foxconn. The New York Times calculated this would amount to $15,000 to $19,000 annually per job.

Foxconn's estimate on jobs was more conservative.

"Is there an absolute guarantee that there will be 13,000 jobs?" In fact, the Walker administration has acted to overturn the prevailing wage system which prevents contractors from using government subsidies to lower construction bids.

"We are putting out $3 billion". But it is worth noting that, for years, the Republican-controlled state Assembly and Senate have preached fiscal responsibility and railed against spending when it comes to education, health care, and transportation. If both sides deliver on their promises, it could cost Wisconsin up to $1m per job, according to calculations by Bloomberg BusinessWeek writer Tim Culpan.

The answer is most probably "yes". Wisconsin has also pledged $3 billion in incentives for the company.

Syracuse University Professor Jason Dedrick said the main issue is "whether the benefits outweigh the costs of various subsidies likely used to attract Foxconn's investment" and if "this investment can attract other manufacturers of key components to the USA, and eventually create a supply chain that can support final assembly of smartphones".

Or think of a billion-dollar investment in a modern rail transportation network linking the cities of Wausau, La Crosse, Eau Claire and Green Bay with Chicago and Minneapolis. He has made several announcements since his election in November about US investments by both foreign and domestic manufacturers, building on his campaign focus on boosting American jobs. That investment has yet to occur. Foxconn counts giants like Amazon and Google among its clients, as well as smaller outfits like Vizio and Acer.

Workers who are out of the labor force but need a job often are weighing the pay and benefits against new costs: a vehicle to buy for commuting, fresh work clothes and arrangements for childcare, he said.

Frank Emspak is a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin Extension School for Workers and executive producer of Workers Independent News.

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