How Romney and/or Obama should have answered Candy Crowley’s Apple assembly question

“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


  1. How bout she shuts the hell up instead of advocating for Obama while cutting off Romney! Typical liberal elitest demagogue masquerading as an unbiased reporter! Why didn’t they just have lying thru her teeth Stephanie Cutter moderate it? Or better yet, Joe Biden?!! VP debate moderator hosted Obama’s wedding don’t ya know? Journalism in America is dead! Unworthy to utter the word, “Apple”! One term president!

    1. Wow! Got your facts a bit off there.
      She did what she was supposed to do, moderate a debate. And when one is clearly wrong she corrected him so they could move on to more questions from the gallery. It has been clearly shown that Romney was wrong.
      As far as the moderator of the VP debate, Martha Raddatz, Obama attended the wedding of his friend, who was marrying her. Obama is not friends with her and she has since divorced Obama’s friend.
      Besides which she was very fair, if you watch the debate you will see her correcting BOTH candidates.

  2. At lot of people are attracted to those jobs, even in American, because they don’t really require you to think or have much skill. You can show up do your job and go home. I think that’s what this argument is all about.

    The advanced manufacturing requires more of people. In other words, you ‘d have to get an eduction, know what your doing and you couldn’t just show up, turn on auto-pilot and breeze through the day. That’s probably why the McDonalds had trouble recruiting workers. The work is hard and even at that level requires you to think.

  3. A socialist mouthing off socialist values. That idiot wouldn’t understand the term job creation even if it hit him in the face. After all he glided through life by being a community organizer on minimum wage. That’s all he understands – state assisted handouts, like someone standing on a corner begging for alms. That’s what he wants to reduce the entire country to, a population living off welfare fed on Dramamine to keep them docile voting in more socialism.

      1. No he is a Marxist, like his father.

        One of his god brothers named Mohammed, a card carrying member of the Religon of Peace, just tried to blow up the Federal Reserve building in Manatten today.

        1. You wouldn’t recognise a Marxist if he shoved an AK-47 up your nose! ‘Ubermac’, ha! A very telling nomenclature, considering how you insist on calling a shade-to-the-left-of- center President a ‘Marxist’. Ignorant asshole.
          I suggest you go to Kampuchea, Zimbabwe, or Peru, and ask victims of the Khmer Rouge, Sendoro Illuminoso, or Robert Mugabe if THEY think Obama is a Marxist. They’ll laugh in your face and call you a stupid, ignorant Yanquis.

        2. You are another angry white male complaining about the lack of size your penis has. Your mouth is full of hate. Your only disappointment is not being able to use the vile language you learned in a back alley somewhere. UberMac indeed.

    1. You are terribly wrong about most things. There is no welfare state in america; there hasn’t been since the first Clinton administration. Minimum wage workers who work full time live below the poverty line. They don’t get welfare, handouts or any of that. We have 26 weeks of unemployment and then you’re done. And, unemployment is an insurance policy, not a handout. My state doesn’t hand out anything and hasn’t since 1996. I don’t know where you live, but it’s the same thing saw these changes were introduced at the federal level. Lastly, judging by what I read from you here, you are ignorant, ill informed and full of yourself.

    1. Please quote me the ” insanely high corporate tax rates” that you talk about. Corporations pay less tax in the USA than any other western country, and most of the world. If you factor in the “effective” tax rate, most corporations don’t pay any taxes. Figurative, I figure you’re full of shit.

  4. Americans who play with Apple toys don’t realise there are a lot of fellow Americans who don’t have higher education, who are in need of those low skill jobs that are being shipped to China. Among Americans, there is a collective denial syndrome which assumes that a 16 trillion debt is somehow do-able. So meanwhile, while the once great empire crumbles, the Americans play with their Apple toys and come up with arguments on how Apple is doing the right thing by shipping jobs to China. Most of you will live long enough to see the consequences of your ideas.

  5. Anyone in the IT business can tell you how far Programmers have come in the past 5 years that live in India and/or Ukraine. Remember when computer science was the next economy? Guess what, there’s people more hungry than us that can do the job just as well and for much cheaper. So, 10 years from now, it won’t be just those low end manufacturing jobs but also the highly skilled ones. The Western World has failed to level the playing field. They keep talking about it, but all that’s happening is the 1% is getting richer. One day we will wake up and wonder what happened.

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