Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. recently went on a rant discussing how the iPad is produced in China and is responsible for killing jobs and is responsible for Borders going bankrupt. He continued to rail against universities who have adopted the iPad instead of text books. He went on to wonder what happens to publishing company and librarian jobs in such an environment.
The question on our minds must be why is the iPad the focus of his concern and not the digital camera which caused Kodak to go into a tailspin and local photo shops around the country to close down? Why not target IBM for inventing the mainframe and making it possible to use vacuum tubes and later microprocessors instead of humans using pencil and paper. Somehow Amazon got off without even an honorable mention.
One wonders how many jobs have been killed because of the automobile or the abacus or the steam engine. Why let these technologies off the hook. Closer to home, email is responsible for killing post office jobs and causing huge federal deficits – why not complain about that?
As usual, politicians seem to not comprehend how free markets work or how to equip their constituents to maximize the opportunities they afford. For example – we all know that newspaper and magazine publishers have moved to the web to generate revenue and while the mix of employees needed in media is changing, the constant is people with inadequate education are shed while those with leading-edge education, skills and experience tend to do well.
In the US the days of full employment for those who possess physical strength and little else seem to be over.
In other words, in a world where there is instantaneous communications, you can source your workers in the lowest cost country with the lowest wages and this means the race is on to develop the most highly-skilled workforce possible with the most favorable business climate.
So instead of ranting against the iPad – which at least thankfully was designed by a US company, he should be focusing like a laser on retraining those people who are on government assistance who have the capacity to be retrained. If we want to compete in the new tech world our workforce needs to be the most motivated. And does anyone believe receiving years of unemployment is a motivating agent? Or food stamps or myriad other forms of entitlements which are not only not working but responsible for the creditworthiness of the entire nation to be questioned?
And do they think the massive growth of government under Obama with its countless new regulations is positive for the job market or companies looking to hire?
And we hear constant complaints from politicians about the successful – almost every day. They seem to despise achievement – and without a doubt they seem happy to punish it with higher taxes, more IRS audits and any other weapons they have to reduce incentives to create jobs for other US citizens.
I encourage the Congressman, if he really cares about his district to push for keeping kids in school, increasing education in science and math as well as promoting more programs which bring business and schools together – allowing businesses to dictate which job skills schools should focus on. How about less celebrity meetings in the White House and more meetings with the top people from NASA, scientists, engineers, mathematicians and entrepreneurs who are growing their companies and making a difference in the world?
Moreover, there seems to be a continuing message from a number of politicians that becoming successful is a bad thing. A comment made in the video above is “Steve Jobs is doing pretty well.” It is said as if it is a bad thing to win in business employ hundreds of thousands of people and better the lives of society.
The message it seems – and more misguided it cannot be – is new technology is to be avoided because it eliminates US jobs and creates new jobs overseas.
What he should have said is as long as we want to enjoy free trade in this country meaning we want to be able to get access to the best materials available in the world and generally be free to export worldwide, we need to deal with the fact that the standards of living are lower and regulations are generally nonexistent in some competing countries. And this means streamlining our country so US companies can win in this environment.
At Least Steve Jobs controls Apple (well it’s a public company but you get the idea) but instead – Jackson would suggest we should have a Chinese company design the iPad instead? Does he think no one would invent a tablet if Apple didn’t?
Shouldn’t Steve Jobs be a hero – shouldn’t Obama be bowing – not to foreign leaders but to US business leaders who allow him to travel and live in the utmost of luxury? And the Congress and Senate should be joining him.
What would I do if I were president? I would take a page from Reagan who threatened the Japanese automakers regarding fair trade and as a result many of them set up factories in the US and are now employing hundreds of thousands. I would tell China they can no longer steal – and yes they are stealing US technology every day as a precursor to companies getting access to the Chinese market. I would tell the UN that if we believe in democracy and freedom of expression then Internet censorship is no longer to be tolerated by countries who want to buy and sell on the international market. And I'd enforce these ideas as needed.
I would open up the country to H-1B Visas, allowing a virtually unlimited flow of the best and brightest engineers who are looking to live the American dream – understanding how many jobs are the direct result of immigrants coming to the US and starting new companies.
But sadly the attitude of nonconfrontation which is being shown by President Obama tells us this won’t happen under his leadership and as great as he is at making speeches, he is a spineless leader who would rather appease than help get oil prices to go down. He would prefer to make friends than have a skirmish with a country which steals US jobs and technology without giving much in return.
The point of this post is certainly not to suggest starting a war but listening to Donald Trump speak in the last few weeks about how to solve problems with the Saudis and China has been refreshing and it’s the exact opposite of what we hear from Obama who seems determined to make sure the world sees the United States as a country of 300 million spineless rodents.
The question is – besides Trump, who else has the level of reproductive brass needed to get the job done correctly?
So to Rep. Jackson, I would like to say – the problem isn’t the iPad. The iPad is a shining symbol of American technological leadership which in-part is responsible for you to have the privilege of serving in a position of power. Instead of complaining you should be thanking Steve Jobs daily that we can still afford to allow you to live a great life. The real problem is our lowest skilled workers are way behind in becoming skilled – in part because living on government handouts is easier than being retrained and studying 24x7 for a new career. Moreover, the issues we have as a nation require a leader who takes bold stands and isn’t afraid of his own shadow. Someone who understands that while we live in a global society, each country must pursue its own interests – and the interests of its citizens first – usually at the expense of having nice touchy-feely relationships with China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and others.
All we can do is hope our next president won’t list timidity as an attribute.
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