The Proletarian | Foxconn-Parkside partnership: Who’s really benefited?

ETHAN COSTELLO | coste012@rangers.uwp.edu

The past several months in Wisconsin have been trailed with the ever-looming promise of economic glory to come. Gov. Walker has incessantly pressed for an investment of Foxconn in southeastern Wisconsin, and the corporation is all but confirmed for the construction of their facilities. Yet, despite all the alarums raised against the companies, our Chancellor Debbie Ford seems much too eager to welcome them here with open arms.

Walker and other wealthy interests—businesses and politicians—keep proclaiming this deal will bring about a stimulation of the Wisconsin economy like nothing else before it. The promise of 13,000 jobs within the proposed Foxconn facility alone, plus 10,000 constructions jobs and interest from 500 businesses is most certainly an enticing idea because most assuredly, Wisconsin is suffering. The world is suffering. 

What they do not tell you is that these jobs are possible through questionable means to the point of honest reappraisal. The hacked-out deal calls for complete disregard of environmental regulations. Local newspapers have reported that air, water and land regulations are being discarded to accommodate for Foxconn’s unhealthy requirements. The corporation is expected to pump an unsustainable amount of water from Lake Michigan for use in its facility—our clean drinking water—and will not be held accountable for fully returning their debt, and with no obligation to return it pollution free.

There are also economic concerns. The proffered incentive package is now up to $4 billion to be paid to Foxconn as they work towards their job creation mark. Where is this money coming from? The taxes that we are all paying. Economists expect Wisconsin’s gross domestic product (GDP) to increase by $51 billion dollars, but that figure does not indicate impact on standard of living. What is likely going to happen is that the thousands of workers will not be paid their true worth to the company; the workers’ value will be sent upwards towards managers and administrators, and the money made from us Wisconsin workers will be funneled overseas to the Taiwanese based company, benefiting wealthy interests at the hard-to-see detriment of Wisconsin laborers.

Chancellor Ford and other education administrators at UW-Milwaukee and Gateway seem to willfully ignore these considerations. In several press releases and reports, Chancellor Ford anticipates the need to provide Foxconn with a host of educated workers—a docile workforce. The question is why? This will look very good for the Chancellor and UW-Parkside’s Administrations, won’t it? This would lead to more revenue from further investment in the campus from outside sources. Some would argue is a good thing, but judging by how our administration handles our money—with actions like cutting programs and faculty while spending money on aesthetic projects like Wyllie Hall—further investment would not be set aside for the students and faculty who desperately need the funding. I urge the Chancellor to reconsider this partnership.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of The Ranger News.

A Message From Nature: The zero waste lifestyle: A trendy illusion

ADELANA AKINDES | akind001@rangers.uwp.edu

I first found out about the zero waste movement a few years ago after stumbling across a video on YouTube. The woman who made the video, Lauren Singer, had gone a year living a ‘zero waste lifestyle’ and all the waste she did produce was concealed within a single mason jar. She used homemade toothpaste, bamboo toothbrushes, reusable upcycled razors and glass jars instead of plastic containers. It seemed impossibly green, chic and eco-friendly.

Zero waste thinking has its advantages, mainly by drawing constant attention to the issue of waste. By committing to a zero waste lifestyle, this awareness becomes instilled into everyday decisions and thoughts. One takes into consideration how much waste they produce, how much is thrown away and what in their lives can be used more than once. One may learn to value things that last longer, that have more staying power in one’s life and which are not easily disposed of.

Yet the issue of waste cannot be solved from individual choices about what to buy. We can try navigating the market to find products that fit a zero waste standard: no plastic packaging, long term use, no complex methods of disposal required. Yet when one goes grocery shopping with their reusable bags and mason jars, buying items in bulk, it is impossible to notice all of the other items, the wasteful, one-use items which are still the norm. It is the mindset of capitalism, hyper-focused on increasing profit, that is the root of the problem. It is this constant overarching system of overproduction and misuse of resources which ultimately needs to change for ‘zero waste’ to be a realistic vision.

Simply because waste does not reside in your own home, does not make it any less of a reality somewhere else. No matter what the consumer chooses to do with the waste in their own home, it is still being made on a mass scale. The consumer is not the true producer of waste. When one wishes to rid one’s life of plastic products for example, they are only navigating a maze. Whether one uses plastic or not, it’s still being produced and mass distributed on a grand and global scale.

What the zero waste lifestyle does is bring to a person’s attention the materials they use, where these materials come from, and where these materials are going. It is in this way that conscious consumerism is as an effective step for the consumer. Yet in order for any large-scale, long-term solutions to be made with environmental degradation, it is time for the true producers of waste, the giant corporations of this planet, to consciously consume.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of The Ranger News.

The Conservative Ranger | The benefits of the GOP Tax Plan

JIMMY GRAHAM  | graha028@rangers.uwp.edu

In late December of 2017 the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, also known as the GOP Tax Plan, was signed into law. This policy so far has helped put more money in the pockets of hard working Americans. It also has helped businesses in raising wages and expanding.

How individuals are affected

Under this new tax plan, individuals are taxed less on their wages. This plan lowers taxes roughly 2%-3% for most tax brackets. For instance, a married couple bringing in $77,400-$165,000 a year in 2017’s tax rate would be 25%. Under the new tax policy that rate is lowered to 22%. A 2%-3% decrease in income taxes may not seem like a huge change, but that amount that is saved in wages in just one year adds up to a significant amount of money. For Example, a family making $80,000 a year will save $2,400 a year. This amount that is saved can mean a lot to hard working Americans. Many can use this extra money toward things such as rent, utility bills, or even toward their children’s education.

How businesses are affected

Prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the corporate tax rate for most businesses was at roughly 35%. Currently under this new plan it has been lowered to 21%. Due to this large cut to many large companies have used this as an opportunity to give bonuses to their employees. Companies such as AT&T, AAON, and American Airline have awarded many of their employees with $1,000 bonuses. Many companies have also used this tax cut to raise wages for their employees. One instance of this is Associated Bank raising its base wage from $10 to $15 per hour. On top of raising wages and giving bonuses many are also using this tax break to expand their businesses. Boeing and Comcast for example are using $100 millions of its tax break to expand their infrastructure and facilities.

How to make these cuts permanent

Unfortunately, because this bill was passed through congress with only a slim margin, it can only be in effect until 2025. In order for this to be permanent congress would have to get a wider majority of votes. The only way for there to be a wider majority would be for congress to put aside partisan differences and give this bill bipartisan support.

Jimmy Graham is a sophomore majoring in business management and is political director of College Republicans.

Shots fired: the debate on gun control

via creative commons (1).jpg
MARCH ON WASHINGTON FOR GUN CONTROL / Assemblance at the US Capitol Reflecting Pool on the national Mall just off 3rd Street in Washing DC on Saturday morning, 26 January 2013. COURTESY OF ELVERT BARNES VIA FLICKER

It’s not too soon- let’s talk about guns.

 

RORY LARSON | larso066@rangers.uwp.edu

Gun control— it means many different things to many different people, but let us have some real talk here. Gun control means controlling guns. We as Americans have options for how we would like to pursue the issue. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and in our polarized country, we often seem to forget the complexity of issues and boil it down to being on one side or the other- ban guns or no regulation. It is not. The following is a series of four common arguments against gun control, and responses to them.

  1. “Our country was founded on an uprising against the government. Our guns are meant to protect us from the government and the second amendment says so.”

 

 

Well, that is a lot to unpack from the get-go. Our country was indeed founded on an uprising, but there are some fundamental misconceptions there that many people fail to recognize. The American colonies wanted fundamental rights that were secured to British citizens, to have representation in parliament and a say in how the colonies were run. It was only after Britain refused to grant Americans those rights after many attempts at diplomacy did war break out. War was not our first option.

The second amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” If you believe that gives Americans the right to bear arms constitutionally, you would be correct. But there is that other part–a well regulated militia. Individual gun owners who may or may not have proper training and are certainly not well regulated do not make a citizen’s army. If that alone was not enough, since the constitution there have been many technological advances that make the right to own guns to protect yourself from the government completely obsolete. Guns will not protect you from the SWAT team, an army or nukes.

  1. “Guns protect us from bad guys. Anyways, criminals will find a way to get guns no matter what.”

Theoretically, guns can be used for protection and sometimes are. Whether or not this is actually how guns are used is another story. Armed men and women have stopped criminals with guns before, but it is far more often that “good guys with guns” add more tension to armed situations and are more likely to misfire or make the situation worse. Human error is just a fact of life.

Statistics have shown that the “good guy with a gun” protecting the innocent is little more than an occasional heroic story with little basis in everyday life. In homes with guns, people are three times more likely to be killed than unarmed homes according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Also, the more people that own guns makes the number of guns for criminals to access increase exponentially. The NRA opposes regulations on stricter gun storage. Just because people find ways around laws and regulations does not mean we should sit idly by and let it happen. Laws are what keep this country a civilized democracy. If we have no faith in laws to help protect our citizens we would not have any laws or regulations at all.

  1. “Background checks are too invasive.”

If you are a responsible gun owner you should have nothing to hide in a background check. Background checks are standard procedure for nearly every job and your personal information is now less private than it ever has been. A simple lookup on WCCA in Wisconsin will turn up records of just about anyone who’s broken the law, whether it was a minor slip up or a felony. Proposing background checks does not mean that, across the board, anyone who has had a legal transgression will be banned from purchasing a firearm but it does allow us to have a better system to identify higher risk individuals and prevent possible gun violence.

  1. “What about hobbies like hunting or collecting?”

Many hobbies have laws. Some people like to make bone-jewelry, but did you know that owning human remains can be illegal. Some people collect cars and have to get special license plates and follow regulations about what conditions they can and cannot take it out in. People love animals, but over a certain number of pets you have to have a special license and certain animals are illegal to own. Proposing that certain types of guns be more restricted or have more regulated ways of obtaining them does not inhibit hobbyists. A gun should have at least as much regulation as owning cars and driving them in the United States.

Gun control is about protecting people. Individual rights are important in America, but the selfishness or short-sightedness of certain individuals should not be allowed to override the safety of millions. America is the only place mass shootings like this occur. America is the only place that gun violence on this scale in a so-called world power happen. Take a stance and look for a solution and help prevent the nearly 96 deaths a day (CDC, 2016) that occur due to inadequate gun control in this country.

Letter to the Editor: Feb. 14, 2018

In last December’s issue Jimmy Graham, a sophomore Business major argued that UW-Parkside was unlike “many colleges” who “discourage free speech”. To some extent, I agree with Mr. Graham, since UW-Parkside does not inhibit the free exercise of constitutionally protected speech. But that is about all that I agree with from his argument.

Mr. Graham, like many other conservatives, lazily confuse “free speech” with the freedom to be free of the consequences of their ostensibly free speech. Moreover, many across the political spectrum, erroneously labor under the illusion that all speech is constitutionally protected; this too is a mistake.

While Mr. Graham may have had some negative experiences, they hardly compare to the institutional suppression of speech by others in this country, against those who suffer far greater consequences than his, for far longer periods of time (Colin Kaepernick being one particularly salient example).

I find it hard to credit his assertion that DePaul “did not promote free speech whatsoever”. If that were true, that school couldn’t have any curriculum in the social science or humanities, given the centrality of free speech in the classrooms to those disciplines. Indeed, it’s consistently ranked in the top 50 or top 20 film schools in the nation and in the top 25-18 drama schools in the nation thereby illustrating the absurdity of that claim.

He incredulously argues that the cancellation of his invited speaker was based on claims that “his views encouraged violence”. Surely Mr. Graham recognizes that universities have an in loco parentis responsibility to protect its students from violence wherever and whenever it might occur.

There’s certainly sufficient evidence that the mere appearance of some of the favorite conservative speakers (Milo Yiannopoulos for example) will predictably trigger a response in others to vigorously and sometimes violently, react to their presence. Thus for Mr. Graham to bemoan the cancellation of this event is tantamount to him gleefully looking forward to such reactions if only to substantiate claims, that university campuses are bastions of intolerance. When in fact, those institutions are doing their level best to ensure no one gets hurt and public facilities that we all pay for are kept intact.

In keeping with the espousal of his not too subtle ideological critique couched in a compliment, Mr. Graham then argues that “DePaul…is not the only school that is silencing the voices of conservatives” and that “across the country it is becoming seemingly more apparent that only one kind of thought will be tolerated”. Leaving aside how Mr. Graham’s many experiences with multiple universities across the country have equipped him to make such broad generalizations, his conclusion that public universities are somehow– in plain sight no less –stifling student speech by willingly hiring faculty with the knowledge that they’ll censor students in their classrooms, while paying them – is laughable in the extreme.

Mr. Graham’s diatribe traffics in the worse kind of political propaganda by reproducing a false persecution complex replete with anecdotal evidence, but woefully lacking in actual evidence or data to substantiate his claims. I’m glad he loves Parkside, but it’s no different than most public universities and their commitment to protect constitutionally protected speech as best as it can.

 

Michael Johnson Jr., Ph.D. Lecturer and Faculty Advisor, The Center for Liberal Studies