1/22/2012

New York Times gives only one side of Obama - Steve Jobs discussion

Here is the way the New York Times in an article entitled "How U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work" describes the interaction between Obama and Steve Jobs:

But as Steven P. Jobs of Apple spoke, President Obama interrupted with an inquiry of his own: what would it take to make iPhones in the United States?
Not long ago, Apple boasted that its products were made in America. 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.
Why can’t that work come home? Mr. Obama asked.
Mr. Jobs’s reply was unambiguous. “Those jobs aren’t coming back,” he said, according to another dinner guest.
The president’s question touched upon a central conviction at Apple. It isn’t just that workers are cheaper abroad. Rather, 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. . . .


The Times then goes on to quote Jared Bernstein to argue that this is a really difficult problem for the administration to fix.

“Apple’s an example of why it’s so hard to create middle-class jobs in the U.S. now,” said 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.” . . .


So it seems pretty clear from the Times that Jobs didn't really blame Obama for driving American jobs to China. But there is a significant problem with that story:

“You’re headed for a one-term presidency,” Jobs told Obama at the outset. To prevent that, he said, the administration needed to be a lot more business-friendly. He described how easy it was to build a factory in China, and said that it was almost impossible to do so these days in America, largely because of regulations and unnecessary costs.

Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 544). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

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