“Toward the end of last night’s presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney, the moderator, CNN’s Candy Crowley, asked a perfectly legitimate question, one that Obama himself is once reported to have asked a group of tech executives that included the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs,” Arik Hesseldahl writes for AllThingsD. “Essentially it was this: Why can’t iPhones and iPads be manufactured in the U.S.?”

“Sadly, both Obama and Romney flubbed their answers, and educated voters not at all,” Hesseldahl writes. “Here’s what one of them — either one, I don’t care which, and assuming no time limit — should have said in response.”

Candy, I understand how some people might get frustrated when they see Chinese workers assembling iPhones. It’s easy to think that those jobs rightly belong in America. The reality is a little more complex, but when you understand it, there’s a surprising amount of good news for American workers.

The fact is, assembling iPhones and iPads is the final step of a complex process, and is really a low-skill, low-cost kind of job. China has spent decades building much of its economy around these low-skill jobs, in part because it has such a large labor force and plenty of workers who are willing to do the work. And, frankly, here in America you wouldn’t want to try to support a family on the kind of wages a job like that would pay. I know it sounds harsh, but it’s true. So I know this may sound odd when I say it, but I ask you to hear me out: I’m perfectly comfortable letting those kinds of jobs go to China or somewhere else.

In fact, some researchers at the University of California at Berkeley found that for every iPad or iPhone manufactured, Chinese workers add $10 or less to the value of an iPad or iPhone. On an iPad, they found that American workers add $162 worth of value, and on an iPhone it was more than twice as much.

In America, when we talk about manufacturing, we should be talking about advanced manufacturing jobs for highly skilled workers that require a solid education and pay wages on which you can support a family. And the fact is, there’s a lot of American work that goes into an iPad or an iPhone or a Mac.

Tons more in the full article – very highly recommendedhere.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

Related article:
Romney and Obama spar over Apple’s Mac, iPad, and iPhone manufacturing jobs – October 17, 2012