How do you follow up a deal to bring a Foxconn plant to Wisconsin at an estimated government subsidy of $1 million per $54,000 job created?
If you’re Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, you start calling your state “Wisconn Valley.” Walker and Foxconn CEO Terry Gou coined the name together, according to what the governor said at the White House last week while celebrating the plant’s announcement. The audience clapped when they heard Wisconn Valley. Then Walker repeated the name several more times.
This probably supposed to be a muddled phonetic approximation of “Silicon Valley,” but it’s pretty hard to read it as anything other than a weak portmanteau of “Wisconsin” and “Foxconn.” And one of Foxconn’s main competitors is named, uh, Wistron, so I’m sure CEO Terry Gou is thoroughly enjoying this taxpayer-funded troll.
Quartz has a good breakdown of the name and lofty vision of a Midwestern tech boom, but I’m going straight to a plea from the heart: Please, Scott Walker, do not rebrand my home state after a single supplier who signed a massively favorable deal. It is a road to ruin. You are two more iffy tax incentive schemes away from renaming my hometown Racine 4G LTE Touch Presented By Verizon, and we just can’t do that to the people we love.
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I texted some of my friends in Wisconsin to gather their reactions to this renaming scheme, and the responses were bleak. “Wisconn Valley, or as I like to call it, 1,000 acres surrounded by people who didn't need three-billion dollar incentive packages or exemption from environmental regulations to do business,” replied one.
“Is there an actual valley in that area? It’s like the flattest part of the state,” noted another.
“He must have eaten a bad ham and cheese sandwich,” said my friend Barret Van Sicklen, who delightfully agreed to be on the record.
Anyway, I will at least be here for it when Wistron responds to this situation by renaming it Minnesotron.