In his November 6, 2018 opinion column, Noah Smith of Bloomberg News discusses the cash subsidy — $4.5 billion — the state of Wisconsin is paying to Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn in exchange for locating a factory in southeastern Wisconsin. If the factory eventually employs 13,000 people, the cost per job created is approximately $346,000. He says this “corporate welfare” a zero-sum game and calls for a smarter approach. These include infrastructure, universities, creating attractive downtowns and public-private partnerships to boost local development.
He points out that “these approaches are all hallmarks of the successful local revitalization stories observed by James and Deborah Fallows in their book Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America,” and that “the model generally agrees with researchers’ findings.”