By Lina Bryce
When Donald Trump said, “We want to win, win, win,” during his 50 minute speech on Martin Luther King day, this is what he really meant:
Trump claimed that although he supports free trade, he insisted that he would impose a 35% tax on businesses producing goods overseas, including Ford cars produced in Mexico. Basically, American companies will not have the freedom to manufacture their goods wherever they choose.
“Free trade is good. But we have to do it [force them back to the US]. Or we won’t have a country left,” said Trump.
Trump’s campaign for the Republican nomination has been full of controversial ideas, with headline grabbing comments on Mexican immigrants, mosques, Muslims, and refugees, among others.
“We’re going to get Apple to build their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries,” Trump promised.
Has the billionaire asked what caused manufactures to seek operations oversees in the first place?
According to Bloomberg, attempts had been made by the Cupertino based company to bring manufacturing back to US, in 2012 it invest $100 million in domestic capabilities. However, declining expertise in skills such as tool-and-die manufacturing in the US has made the transition difficult.
According to the New York Times article in 2012, Apple’s executives had estimated that about 8,700 industrial engineers were needed to oversee the 200,000 assembly-line workers that would be involved in the manufacturing of their iPhones. The company’s analysts had forecasted it would take as long as nine months to find that many qualified engineers in the United States.
In China, it took 15 days.
There was a time when Apple would have loved to make the iPhone in the US, it prided itself on making products in the US. But ever since the early 2000’s, Apple has made most of its products outside the US due to a combination of cheaper and better labor, better factories, and scale.
Apple executives stated that going overseas, at that point, was their only option. A former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.
The New York Times reported:
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 speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” the executive said. “There’s no American plant that can match that.”
Today, Apple does currently manufacture its Mac Pro in the US (specifically in Austin, Texas), and according to its jobs creation website, Apple insists it’s responsible for creating and supporting 1.9 million US jobs, as of the end of 2015. It also claims that “thirty-one of the 50 states provide parts, materials, or equipment to make Apple products.”
Meanwhile, Trump leads in the polls and it is likely due to the idea that one person can save us from economic ills. But since when did the right wing look for a strong executive to “fix” the economy through government regulation and taxation? That sounds more like President Obama’s platform.
Saddling some the most productive companies in the world with more cost and mandates is not a free market position. Trump wishes to use the force of the federal government to dictate terms to the free market. Doing so would not “make America great again” but would harm the very freedom that makes America great.