President Trump was in Racine County last Thursday to attend the ground breaking ceremony of the new FoxConn factory. Officials say the factory will produce liquid crystal display screens and provide jobs for 13,000 people. The Taiwanese company was lured by Governor Walker’s a record breaking tax breaks totalling 4 Billion dollars in taxpayer money.
By Helena White, Photo courtesy Dylan Brogan, Web Work by Peyton Barber
There are 2 sides to every story.
Here’s one side.
A huge warehouse on the outskirts of the village of Mount Pleasant is transformed into a high tech FoxConn trade show. You can watch industrial robots and a handful of human workers assemble flat screens on the mini assembly line and peer at a scale model of the planned Foxconn industrial community.
During a panel discussion with FoxConn executives and boosters for the large business audience answer question like will Wisconsinites get a good return on their one thousand dollar per household investment?
“It’s not just about the thin film transmitter or TFT fabrication.” Colonel Pete Buck explains, “It’s really an innovation hub and enabler for the community here in Wisconsin”
On the same day, FoxConn announces they are scaling back their plans for the facility. The company asserts it may build a larger factory later… Meanwhile FoxConn still benefits from tax credits in Harrisburg Pennsylvania resulting from a deal that never happened. But Governor Scott Walker is undeterred.
“Because of president Trump FoxConn’s LCD panels for the first time ever will be made in the USA”
Retiring Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is also looking to the future.
“Our best days as a states,and to my fellow americans, Our best days as a country are ahead of us because of projects like this. Thank you”
Ryan then immediately leaves the building.
When President Trump takes the stage with great fanfare, he peppers his prepared remarks with some not so prepared remarks.
“This one of the largest plants in the world […] When we won the state of Wisconsin. It had to have been won by a republican since Dwight D, Eisenhower in 1952. Did you know that?”
Fact check: Ronald Reagan won Wisconsin in 1984.
Trump takes credit for the Foxconn deal, implying he directed Foxconn to Wisconsin as economic payback for winning the state.
“I recommended Wisconsin this case. I will be recommending Ohio. I will be recommending Pennsylvania. I will be recommending Iowa. This is something just seemed right.”
During his address, Trump also looks towards the 2020 presidential election.
“America first, make America great again. What are we using in two years ‘Keep America Great of course!’ hats… make them green representing cash.”
Here’s the second side of the story.
Over 100 people gather in Mount Pleasant to protest the new factory. There are political marching bands, Native American water protectors, grey haired community activists and young latinas wearing monarch butterfly t-shirts. The speakers clamber on to the back of a pick up truck, addressing the audience through an amplifier with a buzz.
“Labor is not inferior to capital. Capital has its rights but labor is the superior,” says Professor John Shelton, quoting President Abraham Lincoln.
“All value comes from labor. It comes from work. Think about all the things that 4.5 billion dollars could go to. It could out people back to work. Developing our infrastructure making it more environmentally sustainable. Put money back into UW system.Put Money back into k-12 schools. Provide universal health care in our state.”
Democratic candidate Cathy Myers is running to replace Paul Ryan in the 1st congressional district, which includes Racine county. She doubts the state calculations that Wisconsin will gain back the 3 billion dollar tax cut by 2043.
“I remember hearing about this about a year ago, and I smelled a rat right away. This is a four Billion dollar corporate give away. The people in the first congregational district have been through a lot and this is just going to add to it. homes will be destroyed. We are going to be poisoned. This is an example of our representatives who are only interested in Corporations over people.”
“I too value jobs. We can value jobs and we can value ecology,” said Kaysha Patel is one of the organizers of the resistance, “This deal isn’t just about 13,000 jobs, it’s about the wetland that will be filled in. The red wing blackbirds that are lose their homeland. Landowners forced to leave their land. Lake Michigan will polluted from company’s waste. If we let this go were giving them consent to do it again.”