Multinationals aren’t here to help

“We don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems.”
Remember this quote from an Apple executive as reported by Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher.  It appeared in the first of a two part story that will surely win the two New York Times journalists deserved recognition for exposing Apple’s decidedly un-American manufacturing standards in China.
Remember this quote the next time you hear Apple, which is sitting on $98 billion in cash on hand, and other multinational corporations offer to help the American economy if we only lower their corporate taxes and let them bring home overseas profits with little taxation so they can hire workers.
Remember that quote the next time Apple and their ilk lobby for more trade deals with other countries to create jobs here at home like we did with China in 2001 (we’ve lost 6 million manufacturing jobs since then).
Remember that quote when you hear Apple and their big business elite or one of their organizations like the U.S. Chamber telling the American people that they know what is best for our country.
Remember that the real motive of Apple and other multinational corporations is not to solve America’s problems.  That’s because they are not American businesses any longer—they’re “citizens of the world” Thomas Friedman correctly points out in his column yesterday.
These multinationals have no allegiance to any country.  They have only one goal—to make as much profit for their executives and shareholders as possible by increasing production and lowering costs.  The slave-labor like conditions and slave-labor wages at Apple’s Chinese manufacturing plants are detailed in the New York Time’s stories.
Likewise, America should have no allegiance to these multinationals.  When Steven Jobs told President Obama last February that the iPhone jobs aren’t coming back to America, the President should have told him that we were going to start getting tough on trade enforcement.  No longer should we allow other countries to produce cheaper products due to little concern for their workers and environment.  “Meet our standards or pay tariffs” the President should have told Mr. Jobs.
Almost a year after that meeting with Mr. Jobs, the President did call on tougher trade enforcement in his State of the Union.  Let’s hope he means it and give him our support.
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