Tech jobs need to come home
Last year, during an intimate chat and chew dinner with some Silicon Valley high-tech barons, President Barack Obama posed a question to Steve Jobs, baron of the Apple empire. "What would it take to make iPhones in the United States?"
Good question! We need to put more people to work building more stuff in America, rather than shipping all that manufacturing off to China. Instead of answering, however, Jobs just said, "Those jobs aren't coming back."
Well, why not? Why shouldn't American corporations go all out to help meet the obvious economic needs of the nation that nurtures them? The high-techers don't mention the obvious reasons for their jobs dodge: raw corporate selfishness. Rather than looking inward, however, they blame America.
First, they wail that American schools are failing to produce the high-skilled workers they need, so they must go abroad. Yet, these very executives constantly demand that governments exempt them from paying the taxes necessary to improve schools.
Second, they say that the U.S. lacks an integrated supply chain, which would locate makers of assorted computer parts right next door to assembly plants. But, wait – that's their fault. Apple, Dell, and the like have the market clout to entice suppliers to relocate anywhere in America. Indeed, U.S. suppliers say they've had to move to China because that's where Apple et al. went.
Finally, industry leaders blame us, their customers! They assert that we insist on getting a new, cheap iGadget every year, no matter where it's made or how workers are treated, so we've forced them to abandon America.
Hogwash. These self-serving, over-pampered high-tech elites can make iPhones and anything else here – but they care more about their bottom lines than their country or their workers, and it's time to call them on it.
For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, "The Hightower Lowdown" – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.