iPad costs 'thousands of American jobs?' Think again, Rep. Jackson

iPad costs 'thousands of American jobs?' Think again, Rep. Jackson

Summary: Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D, IL) recently took the floor of Congress to complain about what he perceived as inaction to create jobs for millions of unemployed Americans. Bizarrely, he took aim at Apple's iPad, claiming the device as "probably responsible for eliminating thousands of American jobs."

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Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D, IL) recently took the floor of Congress to complain about what he perceived as inaction to create jobs for millions of unemployed Americans. Bizarrely, he took aim at Apple's iPad, claiming the device as "probably responsible for eliminating thousands of American jobs."

Jackson cited the recent bankruptcy of Borders bookstores as an example, and rhetorically asked "Why do you need to go to Barnes & Noble? Buy an iPad and download your newspaper, download your book, download your magazine." He went on to talk about plans to Chicago State University's plans to create a "textbookless" campus by giving incoming freshman students iPads.

"Well, what becomes of publishing companies and publishing company jobs? What becomes of bookstores and librarians and all the jobs associated with paper," he asked. "In the not too distant future, such jobs simply won't exist."

Jackson's concern for unemployed Americans is, of course, well placed. But his decision to target the iPad is wildly off course.

Certainly the publishing market is changing. According to the Association of American Publishers, e-books now account for the number one format among all trade categories.

I'm acutely aware of the changing publishing market better than many - I'm a victim of that change, myself. My magazine publishing job was eliminated in late 2009, partly thanks to the changing nature of how people are getting their information - from dead tree magazine publishing to online sources. But even I think Jackson's charge is ridiculous.

This didn't happen just because of the iPad. There's an obscure little online retailer called Amazon. Amazon happens to sell quite a few books. It also has a nifty device called the Kindle, which lets you read books electronically. It's been around a bit longer than the iPad. Amazon deep discounts on books has deeply cut into booksellers' ability to make a profit. I suspect the Kindle has also had a longer and more profound impact on the publishing market than the iPad.

But Jackson went on to explain that the iPad is manufactured in China, and that Chinese workers are therefore take advantage of "our First Amendment value, that is to provide freedom of speech through the iPad to the American people."

It's at this point where Rep. Jackson's polemics go off the rail. The iPad may indeed provide access to information for Americans, but it's sold globally. It's hardly just for Americans.

What's more, there's no guarantee of First Amendment rights for anyone using an iPad, or creating content for the iPad - Apple acts as the final gatekeeper for the products sold for the iPad through the App Store. Sure, there are newspapers, magazines and books available, and those publications that are produced in the U.S. are guaranteed Constitutional freedoms, but Jackson's correlation is flimsy and awkward at best.

I certainly agree with Rep. Jackson's concern about the plight of low-wage retail workers whose jobs were eliminated by Borders' recent bankruptcy filing. But just last month, when Steve Jobs took the stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to unveil the iPad 2, he announced that Apple has returned $2 billion to developers of software for iOS devices.

That's $2 billion that simply didn't exist before, all the developers' cut of revenue associated with devices like the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

That doesn't account for the millions in revenue generated by the sales of iPad accessories - cases, screen covers, cables, and so on. Or for the bucks raked in by retailers - big box stores, Apple retail stores, mail-order companies and independent retailers alike - who sell the iPad.

In short, I suspect the iPad has created - and will continue to create - a lot more jobs than can be directly or indirectly related to its release.

So Rep. Jackson, please keep fighting the good fight to get Americans back to work. But next time, leave the iPad out of it. It's plain to see that you simply don't know what the hell you're talking about.

Topics: iPad, CXO, Mobility, IT Employment

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  • Is there any politician that knows what they are talking about?

    The aisles are over flowing with the liars and idiots.
    GoPower
    • They are there because Americans voted them there

      so your disgust is with the wrong group of people.
      fr_gough
      • RE: iPad costs 'thousands of American jobs?' Think again, Rep. Jackson

        So a majority of Americans are stupid. "A people receives the government it deserves"
        john_gillespie@...
      • RE: iPad costs 'thousands of American jobs?' Think again, Rep. Jackson

        John Gillespie is right on target. Over 30 years ago my marketing professor made the statement that two-thirds of Americans are ignorant (not stupid, just ignorant) because they don't take the time to be informed--see sports, comedys, dramas etc. That same marketing professor said that over half of Americans are incapable of reasoning (they take face value in a situation and usually lose, but they get used to it). I have used this insight to target customers for my sales and it does work very well. BTW Tea Partymembers are a GOLD MINE of ego and set ways, just ask the Republican party leaders (not Republican politicians, they won't tell you because they would be committing political suicide). The Tea Party has helped me increase sales by at least 22% in the last year and a half; I now am a multi-millionare.

        If we could only figure out how to feed small quantities of lead to the masses (I jest); I could be a billionaire by now.
        Jesster
    • RE: iPad costs 'thousands of American jobs?' Think again, Rep. Jackson

      @GoPower , don't limit your question to politicians. Why would you repeat ANY information that you can not verify yourself as being fact? Failure to verify what you repeat brings your credibility into question.
      nkfro
      • RE: iPad costs 'thousands of American jobs?' Think again, Rep. Jackson

        @nkfro So you obviously feel this ignorant unqualified person is smart? why?
        tobascobob
      • RE: iPad costs 'thousands of American jobs?' Think again, Rep. Jackson

        I find it interesting when people who have no clue about economics or politics go out and rail against stupidity. The fact is most of you have no clue how or why we, American, lost jobs to countries like China. To blame Unions is silly. There is a saying that goes something like this "those that forget history are doomed to repeat it". The problem here is most of you never learned history so you can't even repeat it. You think what is happening around you is brand new! You blame politicians or the people that voted for them and then you say they are all stupid. My friends I haven't read a single comment and that includes this article that truly understands the dynamics of trade, the flow of money and jobs.

        Jobs went overseas because we didn't think that we would eventually become a service based economy. There wasn't enough forethought by our representatives about the implications of Japan building a transistor radio real cheap. We all thought it was just a cheap radio, junk. But it was the beginning of the end in manufacturing in the USA.

        Add to that the methodology of how US based companies are taxed and how they are taxed when their parent is located off shore and you just add to the financial stress here.

        Quite frankly I love the iPad, iPhone, iPod (not the Mac so much) but their manufacture overseas reduces wages and jobs here. Yes the manufacture of the iPad in China reduces the jobs here and just because we now have ancillary products, also manufactured overseas, doesn't add jobs here. The author really never thought through his analysis. If he had he would have seen that there isn't a direct correlation between the manufacture of an iPad in China to an increase in jobs here. It doesn't matter how we got the jobs due to the manufacture of iPads. What matters is we lost jobs to China. Jobs that could have stayed here if we had a sane tax policy. One that put America first. For tax purposes who cares where a product is manufactured? What we should care about is where it is sold. That is where the profits should be taxed. If we had such a policy, usually referred to as a Unitary Method of Taxation, which is how 20+ states compute taxes in the US then we would either see the flow of jobs back to the US or we would have the dollars to invest in jobs that would stay here.

        I am not an isolationist but I do believe we need to protect our country because we are currently under attack. It is an economic attack which will do more destruction than a war could ever do. We need to do a better job of getting our manufacturing plants running here. We need to build iPads and other really cool stuff in the US. We need to change our tax policy so that it requires companies to build in the US or their costs to do business, worldwide will go up and this will reduce their profitability. They all want to sell their products here because we have the most purchasing power so we need to make sure they build it here. If they want to make more money then build it here.

        Made in America is a really cool concept.

        To digress, to those of you who think it is the Unions fault you might want to ask your parents or grandparents about The Unions. How union jobs enabled them to move up the food chain. It allowed them to buy houses built with American labor and materials that expanded the American economy. They then bought American built cars that had parts manufactured in America. They then drove down the Super Highways, interstates, for those of you who always thought super highways meant the internet. More manufacturing meant more American jobs.

        Now this is true for China and we have become a country with high unemployment, 16% functional unemployment, and we wonder how did this happen. We now have politicians that want to reduce benefits of all kinds and want us to be a self reliant society. Like that is what is good for us?

        The bottom line is you really need to understand economics, politics and history before you make silly and stupid remarks or write articles that are based on a false premise. Just because it is your thought doesn?t make it a correct thought.
        chessmaster31
      • RE: iPad costs 'thousands of American jobs?' Think again, Rep. Jackson

        @chessmaster31. I think you are conflating "disagrees with chessmaster31" and "doesn't have a clue." From my point of view, you are so far off base, you're playing in the wrong stadium. Would it blow your mind if I asked, "Why, in the name of all that is holy, would you want the U.S. To have a manufacturing based economy???"
        caburlingame
      • RE: iPad costs 'thousands of American jobs?' Think again, Rep. Jackson

        @chessmaster31 I can ask my parents and grand parents about unions and guess what, they won't give me the reaction you expect. Unions did have their place and value to society overall at one point, now they are just greedy and cause the price of pretty much EVERYTHING to go up.
        non-biased
      • RE: iPad costs 'thousands of American jobs?' Think again, Rep. Jackson

        <br>If something is made in China... it is being made there for a $$$$ reason. Our country is not competitive with a world market. AND our fellow American's don't like <br>america enough to keep jobs here - DELL, APPLE, HP all of the big Companies take labor abroad the only way to make YOUR opinion heard is to NOT BUY THIER PRODUCTS.
        italley
    • RE: iPad costs 'thousands of American jobs?' Think again, Rep. Jackson

      @GoPower
      Ding, first Obama and now Jackson. What's with the political hater-fest on Apple.

      On a serious note, I would love it if those manufacturing jobs could be in the USA, but its simply economically sensible in China and elsewhere.
      jeff.fostermedia@...
      • RE: iPad costs 'thousands of American jobs?' Think again, Rep. Jackson

        @jeff.fostermedia The only reason its sensible for jobs to be mass exported is we allow things like unions to creep in and demand that someone who never graduated highschool and is barely functional enough not to drink the bong water should be paid 30 bucks to start with a 10 to 20% raise every other year.<br><br>Being that I am in the manufacturing trade I can see why the jobs flood out of the country. I'm facing a future where job I can get I either have to join a shop and pay them or I get paid 1970's scale wages.<br><br>Apple might not have been the first one to the table with this but sense they are the most "successful" they get to soak up the blame. Maybe next time instead of launching a product we dont need thats produced in god only knows what south east asian sweatshop they should make a product we actually NEED and thats made here.
        Relorian@...
      • RE: iPad costs 'thousands of American jobs?' Think again, Rep. Jackson

        @Relorian<br>I get it. You're angry because you can't get a decent job. Your anger is mis-directed. Why is it so wrong to pay dues to a collective bargaining unit that will negotiate better work conditions and wages for you? Is somebody supposed to do that for free, or is your employer just supposed to grant you what you want out of the goodness of their heart? <br><br>Being simply anti-union isn't going to accomplish anything. You are working at a low wage job now not because of a union somewhere else--it's because of you and your employer. You agreed to your work conditions and wages. Why did you do that if you don't like either? Shouldn't you really be angry with your employer? Why are you so powerless to do anything about your situation?<br><br>The first thing you might do is get some honest information about the actual history of unions. It's understandable that you are uninformed--there's plenty of self-interested people feeding folks the kind of misinformation you just regurgitated.<br><br>The other issue you need to understand is that blue-collar American workers are competing with labor willing to accept subsistence level wages in third-world countries. The "wealth" of the U.S. middle class is being distributed worldwide while the the 2% that control 98% of the world's resources just keep getting richer.
        djchandler
      • RE: iPad costs 'thousands of American jobs?' Think again, Rep. Jackson

        @Relorian - You've been taking the rhetoric of politicians in the pockets of large corporate interests at face value for too long. I don't believe unions are necessary at all in situations in which corporate management recognizes the value provided by its employees, shares the rewards of the value created, and provides reasonable working conditions. However, those situations are the exception rather than the norm.

        Unions did not "creep in". They were a last resort effort by workers from the mid-1800s to the early 1900's who got tired of 12 hour work days in unsafe conditions that often killed workers whose lives had little value in the minds of corporate executives of that era. A lot of ordinary working men and women and children (child labor was fairly common in low skilled work in that era) were maimed or died in unsafe work environments and at the hands of what were little more than corporate goon squads just to win what was reasonable compensation and improved worker safety at that time.

        However, as in corporations and politics, union execs seemed to become more interested in keeping their jobs and increasing the power and benefits than in doing what was best for the long term interests of their members. Union leaders promises of more and more to gain more members and power and prestige coincided in the 1950s through the early 1970s with a period of general economic growth. Corporate executives who negotiated and approved union contracts decided that it was in their and their companies short term best interest to agree to union pay and benefits demands and continue operation rather than risk a strike and lose market share to competitors who were still operating. So, the corporate execs caved in and approved contracts with little thought about the long term consequences of their actions. In the 1950s and 1960s, that was probably a reasonable thing to do. At that time there was no other country that had recovered enough from the destruction of WW II to be a serious threat to US dominance of global manufacturing, so there was little immediate risk for US corporate execs to take a short term view.

        Then, high comp and benefits for union workers plus a combination of economic, social, and political factors in the 1970s-1990s created the justification needed for multi-nationals to begin terminating jobs in the US and sending them to other countries. The factors included a strong dollar policy by the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve that made the relative cost of foreign labor even cheaper in US $ terms and a tax code that kept corporate rates high, but provided taxable income offshoring loopholes big enough to march an entire army through. Those factors created new opportunities for corporate execs to maximize their short run benefits (and their own incentive comp) by sending manufacturing jobs overseas, while converting the US to a low salaried, services economy.

        Remember, the execs making the offshoring decisions worked for the same companies that readily agreed to union demands only a few years or decades earlier. However, instead of acknowledging their companies' share of the responsibility for high labor and benefit costs, it was easier to justify the job termination actions by scapegoating the unions. BTW - I was a union member in the 1960s and early 1970s and saw some of those changes first hand.

        I don't know your source for the statement that "... someone who never graduated highschool and is barely functional enough not to drink the bong water should be paid 30 bucks to start with a 10 to 20% raise every other year." While the union contracts I've seen and read about recently usually provide average to higher than average wages and benefits, I don't remember any that provided $30/hr starting salaries and 10% - 20% raises. Such a contract may exist, I just haven't seen it.

        What I have seen are plenty of conservative Republican and Tea Party politicians and some Democrats acting behind the scene, who are using "blame the worker" rhetoric in their roles as shills for their corporation and corporate executive campaign contributors in order to justify legislation that benefits special interests at the expense of the general population. Based on your comments, it appears that their scapegoating tactics are working. If we end up divided and fighting against each other because we've blindly accepted as fact the statements blaming union workers or blaming other workers or blaming poor people or blaming anyone else, then the corporate and political elites of both parties will have accomplished the objective of keeping us distracted while the American dream is stolen from the ordinary workers and citizens.

        Having recently found a job after going through an 18 month job search without unemployment benefits, I sympathize with your situation. But blaming union workers, many of whom are facing the same situation you have, isn't going to take care of your concerns. Neither is parroting the divisive rhetoric of politicians who are in the pockets of special interests. With globalization of production being unlikely to change, there may not be a short term solution. The long term solution will be to get educated about the realities of political and economic issues and then make sure that we elect people who are committed to solutions that benefit the general population instead of providing payback to their campaign contributors.
        Richard-HK
      • RE: iPad costs 'thousands of American jobs?' Think again, Rep. Jackson

        @djchandler
        Sorry to be so contradictory to your opinion of unions, but right to work states in the south seem to build automobiles with higher quality standards, and employees though not as overpaid as the the big three seem to enjoy manufacturing their products. They though not unionized seem to enjoy the benefits of working with more modern equipment on more efficient lines and make enough income to supplement the healthcare they do receive. Their communities seem to be cleaner and more prosperous than those of Detroit (unionized auto manufacturers) and of course we all know why the once prosperous steel manufacturing states now qualify as the rust belt states. I am ashamed the Asian manufacturers are not paid fairly for their steel production, but any American steel worker should be envious of their continuous casting, no shut down modern plants that could have been built on American shores had the unions not been so greedy in their "collective bargaining" with their employers. It is you who are the dinosaur telling people who whether employed or not in this country have unions to thank for it, when if your actually paying attention those countries such as as Japan, China, and Taiwan actually have their thriving economies due to greedy American unions. I might also add it is you the union or union supporter who must be concerned if your job will still be available without support of the federal government and taxpayer T.A.R.P. funds. Good day.
        partman1969@...
      • RE: iPad costs 'thousands of American jobs?' Think again, Rep. Jackson

        Relorian@... - spare the union huff piece. \

        (a) there are very few unions left
        (b) a union is more likely to help you to earn a wage TO BUY THE THING IN THE FIRST PLACE, amongst having a 40 hour work week so you can use it on the side after raising your family, getting further college education, and the rest.

        Unions have problems, but scapegoating one entity where there is a heck of a LOT more going on. That's myopic. To say the very, very least.
        HypnoToad72
      • RE: iPad costs 'thousands of American jobs?' Think again, Rep. Jackson

        @ Richard-HK

        -- WELL SAID, thank you VERY much!!!
        HypnoToad72
      • RE: iPad costs 'thousands of American jobs?' Think again, Rep. Jackson

        @djchandler [i] Why is it so wrong to pay dues to a collective bargaining unit that will negotiate better work conditions and wages for you? Is somebody supposed to do that for free, or is your employer just supposed to grant you what you want out of the goodness of their heart?[/i]
        I might have missed it but at what point did he complain about paying dues? This is not about dues to unions, it?s about strong arming American manufacturers into labor contracts that are unsustainable. I am not putting all the blame on the unions but they certainly do deserve their fair share. Unions had their place and did the right thing back in the late 1800s through about the 1950 but those reasons for their existence have long since gone away.

        [i] Being simply anti-union isn't going to accomplish anything.[/i]
        Being simply pro-union isn?t going to accomplish anything either.

        @Richard-HK [i] Union leaders promises of more and more to gain more members and power and prestige coincided in the 1950s through the early 1970s with a period of general economic growth. Corporate executives who negotiated and approved union contracts decided that it was in their and their companies short term best interest to agree to union pay and benefits demands and continue operation rather than risk a strike and lose market share to competitors who were still operating. So, the corporate execs caved in and approved contracts with little thought about the long term consequences of their actions.[/i]
        So basically unions strong armed the corporations because they knew they couldn?t survive a massive strike and it?s the corporate execs fault for short sighted decisions? The unions acted as the playground bully of the manufacturing world but that?s all right, it?s the exec?s fault? Unions don?t deserve all the blame but you act as if they don?t deserve any. There are other factors but if unions had not driven up the cost of doing business in the US so much there would be a lot more manufacturing here still.

        [i] What I have seen are plenty of conservative Republican and Tea Party politicians and some Democrats acting behind the scene, who are using "blame the worker" rhetoric in their roles as shills for their corporation and corporate executive campaign contributors in order to justify legislation that benefits special interests at the expense of the general population.[/i]
        That is complete BS and you know it. You are simply a union talking head for the left. Please link to any legitimate politician that has been "blame the worker". I say legitimate because it?s easy to find some nut job spouting whatever you want them to spout but nobody is paying any attention to them. Sure a lot of them blame the unions with good reason but not the worker. You are just trying to twist words to make those you appose look bad.

        My personal experience with unions came back in the 80?s. My family had two companies in the same industry, one union and one non union. They both had basically the same equipment and did the same type of work with several lines each of basically the same equipment. On one of the larger pieces of equipment the union required two works to run that one piece of equipment while at the non union shop one worker could operate it. It came to the point that the union decided that we now needed to have three worker to operate that piece of equipment. Not because there was more work involved or that anything had changed other than they needed to create more jobs for their workers. That was the point we decided we had had enough and gave the quality works a choice, get rid of the union or we are shutting this shop down. They made their choice and the employees that earned their jobs were happier and the lazy union workers (not saying all union workers are lazy but there is that element) were unemployed. They guys that we keep to run that particular equipment were happier too. They now made more many than they did with the union and the days went by faster because there wasn?t enough work to do on that piece equipment to keep two people busy let alone three. Now they felt like they were earning their paycheck versus standing around with two other guys all day waiting for something to do.
        non-biased
    • RE: iPad costs 'thousands of American jobs?' Think again, Rep. Jackson

      @GoPower These idiots should pass out whatever mind-altering substances they are using to all their constituents before they open their mouths. Maybe that way we'd all believe nonsense they spew!
      socket4550
      • The substance is money

        @socket4550 politicians everywhere who talk about things they obviously knew nothing about were probably pursuaded into doing it by either money / blackmail / favour for a friend or some other selfish reasons.
        .ray