Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mitch Daniels Republican Response Proves He Doesn't Read

I enjoyed the opening of Mitch Daniels GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union address. He commended Obama for being a good father, husband and leading the charge to rid the world of Osama Bin Laden. I was beginning to think the Governor from Indiana was willing to depart from the antics that has hindered the progress of our nation. Then it happened.

Daniels conjured the memory of Steve Jobs. He made a comment about that last name – Jobs - and how it was fitting to have that name given how many jobs he has created to support the American economy. He talked about how government needs to encourage businesses like Apple by not loading them down with high taxes. Shame on Obama for fueling a class war. Shame on Obama for blaming the deficient on the rich and forcing them to pay as much in taxes as million and billionaires.

The problem with Daniels comments is it followed an article in Sunday’s New York Times. It told of an exchange between Obama and Jobs last year. Obama was at a dinner in Silicon Valley last February when he asked Jobs what it would take for iPhones to be made in the United States.

“Those jobs aren’t coming back,” was Jobs response, according to the NY Times. Not long ago all Apple products were made in America, but now all of the 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads and 59 million other products sold last year were made overseas.

In using Jobs as an example of how low taxes and incentives foster an environment that encourages businesses to create jobs, Daniels proved he didn’t do his homework before making his speech. One would think that someone would have slowed his roll before making a statement that could be used later to bite him in the ass.

Or maybe his pro business position isn’t as much about creating work for those in our own back yard. Maybe, in the minds of those stuck on reducing the deficient at all cost, the loss of jobs in America isn’t as important as allowing companies like Apple to make as much money as they can, even if at the expense of the American worker.

The NY Times article makes a good argument for why Apple decided to take their show on the road. “Last year, it earned $400,000 in profit per employee, more than Goldman Sach, Exxon Mobile or Google.” It simply isn’t financially viable for Apple to move those jobs back home.

“Apple’s an example of why it’s so hard to create middle-class jobs in the U.S. now,” the article quoted Jared Bernstein, who until last year was an economic adviser to the White House. “If it’s the pinnacle of capitalism, we should be worried.”

“A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day,” the NY Times reported.

“The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” an executive said. “There’s no American plant that can match that.”

The Foxconn City plant in China employs 230,000 people, many working six days a week and 12 hours a day at the plant. Foxconn Technology has facilities in Asia and Eastern Europe, and in Mexico and Brazil and is responsible for assembling 40 percent of the world consumer electronics for companies like Amazon, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, Samsung and Sony. An official at Apple says they can employ 3,000 people in one night.

“We shouldn’t be criticized for using Chinese workers,” a current Apple executive said. “The U.S. has stopped producing people with the skills we need.”

Republicans have argued that business opt to leave American soil due to regulations and taxes. The NY Times article paints a different picture. Companies are manufacturing services abroad because doing so increase profit. One could argue that this is a variable of extreme regulations. That may be true if you’re willing to have workers function in sweat shops.

What Daniels failed to concede are the numerous implications related to the article in the NY Times. His comments showed a lack of sensitivity to how jobs in America are being lost as companies take advantage of the benefits of using factories on foreign soil. Obama addressed this issue in his State of the Union address.

The least that Daniels and other Republicans could do is face the elephant in the room.

Last I checked, the elephant is a Republican mascot.

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