CNN panel praises Trump for taxpayer-funded job creation in Wisconsin
Jeff Zeleny: “The fine print on this will not look as good as the big announcement, but still it's, of course, a big deal without question”
During a July 26 event at the White House, President Donald Trump and Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin announced that Taiwanese electronics company Foxconn had agreed to open a new manufacturing facility in Wisconsin, claiming that it would eventually employ up to 13,000 people in exchange for "$3 billion in tax breaks and other subsidies over the next 15 years." (Foxconn “says it will create 3,000 jobs with the potential of generating 13,000.”) According to reports, the company, which has become notorious in China "for worker suicides, accidents and labor disturbances," could end up having difficulty even finding enough workers to staff the facility.
A CNN panel discussing the yet-to-be created jobs praised the president, crediting Trump with “a huge win.” Reporters have already spent months promoting Trump's exaggerated jobs announcements (See: Alibaba, Carrier, Ford, SoftBank), many of which have failed to materialize or had little to do with him, and the fawning coverage of his latest media spectacle shows that the lessons remain to be learned. From the July 27 edition of CNN's Inside Politics:
CHRISTINE ROMANS: A huge win for President Trump's jobs promise, a promise kept in Wisconsin. Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturer, is coming to Wisconsin with a big investment. The CEO, Terry Gou, says Foxconn will invest $10 billion in an LCD panel plant. Foxconn, of course, is an electronics manufacturing powerhouse, assembling products for Apple and Microsoft from its Chinese factories. Gou teased bringing production to the U.S. shortly after his inauguration, but the CEO there has promised that before with little result. For example, back in 2013, Foxconn announced a $30 million plant in Pennsylvania.[t still hasn't been built. The big difference here, Wisconsin is offering generous tax incentives, totaling as much as $3 billion of taxpayer money. Governor Scott Walker says the project will create 13,000 jobs by the year 2020. That would cost the state about $230,000 per job. But, John, Foxconn was a bit more conservative with its job estimates. The company says it will create 3,000 jobs with the potential of generating 13,000. Certainly 3,000 jobs in Wisconsin, John, is a drop in the bucket for this humongous company. It employs a million workers, as I said, in Asia. You might recall this company had a real hit to its reputation back in 2011 after a spate of worker suicides. At the time, the CEO said he would begin to position the company away from human labor and toward robotics. John?
JOHN KING (HOST): Christine Romans breaking down the numbers of the deal. Without a doubt, the president got a chance to stand at the White House yesterday and say a company that does most of its work overseas is going to bring jobs to America. That's a good thing. There is the debate about the numbers. Does it matter? Does it matter if they bring 3,000 jobs to Wisconsin or 13,000 jobs to Wisconsin? Can you score this one as a win for the president? Showing that he -- this is being more like a governor than a president. You know, sort of getting everybody to get together and figure out a deal to get a company to come.
JEFF ZELENY: I think you score a win for the president, no question, but it does matter, of course. The state of Wisconsin, the General Assembly and the Senate, still have to vote on this. And I was talking with the speaker of the General Assembly, who was at the White House yesterday, and he hopes to call a special session in August for this. But this is the biggest deal Wisconsin has done in terms of a sweetener, so $3 billion, that’s a lot of money. The fine print on this will not look as good as the big announcement, but still it's, of course, a big deal, without question.
ABBY PHILLIP: I do think you have to give Trump credit, and in some ways you have to look at this as a rare moment recently of the White House doing kind of what it's supposed to be doing. Having a big East Room ceremony on something that is central to his platform and having the president be on message about this. I mean, you can have a lot, another conversation about whether the Republican Party is typically in this kind of business of meting out deal by deal, bringing jobs company by company back to the United States, but that's what this particular president promised to do. And if he's fulfilling that promise, more of that and less of all the other stuff.