Today it was announced that Apple will replace AT&T on the Dow Jones Industrial average. This is a spec sheet from Walmart showing that the Ipad Air has no, that’s right, zero, components that are either manufactured or assembled in the U.S. It is also well-known that Apple has over $100 billion dollars abroad which it keeps abroad in order to avoid U.S. taxes. Apple even borrows money in the U.S. in order to avoid bringing that money home. (search: apple money abroad). However, Apple is in the position to make that money because U.S. taxpayers have funded the universities that educate those Apple geniuses, the transportation system, the public utilities, the environmental and occupational health and safety protections, and the fire and police that make the Bay area such a nice, safe place to live and do business.
It is also known that Apple’s contractors in China, which contains 19 of the 20 most polluted cities on Earth, have had repeated trouble with underage workers working overlong, repeated 12-14 hour shifts, in substandard health conditions; in the words of the BBC, Apple has routinely broken promises to protect workers, and this after the tragedy in 2010 when 14 workers killed themselves at Apple’s biggest supplier, Foxconn. (http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30532463). To put it bluntly, Apple is contributing to pollution in China and by extension the rest of the world, exploiting Chinese workers, and weakening the U.S. by hiding their profits in Ireland when Apple is, according to President Tim Cook, “an American Company” and 95% of their creative base is in the U.S. It’s all legal, mostly, and Microsoft does exactly the same thing.
The question is: How come Japan and Korea can build world class electronics, and make a healthy profit, with workers who have a comparable standard of living, benefits, and health and safety environment to the U.S., but Apple and Microsoft can’t? I know there are a lot of good people at Apple and Microsoft who would like to find a way out of this conundrum. Here’s my proposal for agreement. Make a deal. That’s what made America great. Apple pays 2% on those profits in Ireland. They would pay 35% here. Does anyone else see room for negotiation? Why doesn’t Apple bring the money and the manufacturing home, get a special rate for the current money, and pay fair taxes for the benefits they receive, just like the rest of us—I would in turn be willing to pay a 20% premium for Apple or Microsoft products made in the U.S.A.