Before the Watergate scandal that brought down his presidency, Richard Nixon made history in 1972 when he made a surprise, earth-shaking visit to China to re-establish relations with its Communist leadership.
Through trade deals made in the four decades since then, China has become a global economic superpower, though a great portion of her success can be attributed to the practice of American companies outsourcing jobs from the U.S. to China, where labor costs are low and regulations are few and far between.
One of the most distressing outcomes of our economic relationship with China was described an article which appeared in The New York Times last week on Apple.
“Not long ago, Apple boasted that its products were made in America,” according to the Jan. 22 article written by Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher. “Today, few are. Almost all of the 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads and 59 million other products Apple sold last year were manufactured overseas.”
Prior to his death, Apple’s Steve Jobs was asked by President Barack Obama if those jobs would ever again return to American soil; Jobs told the president, “These jobs aren’t coming back.”
What is even more damning is that “Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that ‘Made in the U.S.A.’” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.
Continuing in this vein, Apple executives added that even though they “employ more workers in the United States then ever before,” curing unemployment is not their job. “We don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems,” said one unnamed Apple executive. “Our only obligation is making the best product possible.”
These statements were made by the leaders of the world’s most valuable and well-known electronics company. Undoubtedly, many other huge companies which have outsourced their jobs from the U.S. feel the same way.
What has to be addressed by the people of America are the reasons why these large companies refuse to stay in the U.S. For starters, are the trade and tariff laws crimping the market, making us incapable of competing with other nations?
The New York Times article didn’t mention anything about unions in America. Are their higher wage and benefit demands pricing the workers out of the market?
During his State of the Union address, President Obama sent a message to American businesses: “Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed.” He talked about reforming the tax code and lifting barriers to make it easier for American companies to export their goods.
It’s a great message, but will Washington finally live up to its promises—or was this another example of politicians paying us the same old lip service?
It may be too late to bring Apple back, but it is not too late to give other companies a few good reasons to keep their jobs and businesses here or bring them back.
Post new comment