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Trump Says He'd Make Apple Build Computers In the US (businessinsider.com) 875

mrspoonsi writes with Business Insider's report that presidential candidate Donald Trump says he'd like to make Apple "start building their damn computers and things in this country instead of other countries." From the article: Trump's ultimatum to the most valuable company in the world was made towards the end of a 45-minute speech he gave at Liberty University in Virginia on Monday. The most popular candidate in the Republican party said he would impose a 35% business tax on American businesses manufacturing outside of the United States. Apple has manufactured its Mac Pro at a factory in Texas since 2013, but the vast majority of its products (including the iPhone) are largely made and assembled in China. How Trump would force Apple's supply chain, which relies heavily on a vast network of suppliers and large factories throughout Asia, to be brought stateside remains unknown. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently called the U.S. tax code "awful for America." If Trump (or anyone) thinks this is a good idea, why start or stop with Apple?
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Trump Says He'd Make Apple Build Computers In the US

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  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @10:28AM (#51328685) Homepage Journal

    He is not actually going to build that wall on the Mexican border, and whatnot.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @10:35AM (#51328745)

      Trump just says stuff because he doesn't actually know how anything works. Business included. He's a complete moron who just got handed a silver spoon at birth. His apparent success should not be any indication he has a clue how anything other than bribing works in the world. He know nothing about politics, nothing about business, nothing about people, nothing about the world. He's gotten were he is simply because of money.

      • Trump just says stuff because he doesn't actually know how anything works. Business included. He's a complete moron who just got handed a silver spoon at birth. His apparent success should not be any indication he has a clue how anything other than bribing works in the world. He know nothing about politics, nothing about business, nothing about people, nothing about the world. He's gotten were he is simply because of money.

        Sounds like every US president ever. What exactly was your point?

        • by shadowrat ( 1069614 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @01:15PM (#51330245)

          Trump just says stuff because he doesn't actually know how anything works. Business included. He's a complete moron who just got handed a silver spoon at birth. His apparent success should not be any indication he has a clue how anything other than bribing works in the world. He know nothing about politics, nothing about business, nothing about people, nothing about the world. He's gotten were he is simply because of money.

          Sounds like every US president ever. What exactly was your point?

          well, we know obama wasn't handed a silver spoon at birth. they don't have those in kenya :)

        • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @02:00PM (#51330587) Journal
          It's great we live in America, which has a system designed to survive through a string of lousy presidents.
          • It's great we live in America, which has a system designed to survive through a string of lousy presidents.

            sadly, we can't survive through a string of lousy citizenries.

      • by Rob Kaper ( 5960 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @10:59AM (#51328987) Homepage

        His apparent success

        ... consists of being outperformed by the average market and the likes of Paris Hilton.

      • Trump just says stuff because he doesn't actually know how anything works.

        It's not just Trump that says dumb things like this. This exact argument I've heard repeated on Slashdot before (that US companies should make all production domestic.)

        It sounds nice, but it just won't work in reality. It *might* work for somebody like Apple with sky high profit margins, however most companies have much smaller margins. In order for them to be able to compete at all in the global economy (and make no mistake about it, it IS a global economy now, has been for a century) they have to be able

        • by Creepy ( 93888 )

          Basically what it'd do is split manufacturing at best. US electronic manufacturing would pick up to avoid high tariffs, but the cost would be passed on to Americans as well. All other countries would continue the same with cheaper prices. I imagine there would be unscrupulous imports to avoid the tariffs, as well. It doesn't really solve a problem, either, as US profits are taxed in the US and foreign profits would still be deferred and could be used in manufacturing costs and thus avoid taxes, just like th

          • Basically what it'd do is split manufacturing at best. US electronic manufacturing would pick up to avoid high tariffs, but the cost would be passed on to Americans as well. All other countries would continue the same with cheaper prices. I imagine there would be unscrupulous imports to avoid the tariffs, as well. It doesn't really solve a problem, either, as US profits are taxed in the US and foreign profits would still be deferred and could be used in manufacturing costs and thus avoid taxes, just like they are now.

            The funny part is that this is already happening in certain industries. A number of manufacturers are moving back to the US. What is driving this is the complete automation of factory floors, keeping costs more inline with offshore production. When you get rid of the labor force, you're next biggest expense is shipping and logistics.

            So, while I dislike Trump and feel that this was one of those stupid throw-away political lines, there is some validity in moving manufacturing back to the US while keeping p

      • by Ranbot ( 2648297 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @01:52PM (#51330545)

        Trump just says stuff because he doesn't actually know how anything works....

        Wrong.

        Trump says these things because he knows how the media works. He makes wild statements because it gets media outlets, bloggers, and every day people talking about him. As long as he's in the news and in the headlines his "stock" rises. It's very similar to how pundits generate attention [and ultimately profits] for their media businesses, Trump just happens to be running for president. This most recent claim, like so many others before, is outrageous, but Trump knows it will never come back to him to follow through on and it serves his purposes now. Just look at this page and the 350+ comments in less than 5 hours all talking about Trump! The fact that the nation doesn't just ignore Trump's inane statements and we hang on his every word is as big of a problem as he is.

        I could use many bad words to describe Donald Trump, but dump or stupid is not one of them.

    • He is not actually going to build that wall on the Mexican border, and whatnot.

      Trump is representative of the lowest form of political pandering the system will support.

      Let's all hope the bar doesn't ever get set any lower than that.

    • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

      What you're saying is he talks shit... in his defense?

    • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @10:45AM (#51328829) Journal

      He is not actually going to build that wall on the Mexican border, and whatnot.

      I suspect that he has no idea at all what this whole 'checks and balances' thing actually does.

      That said, yeah, he's pandering his ass off, just like Sanders and Clinton (and numerous others) are happily doing as I type this. There will be no border wall, no free college/healthcare, no auditing of the Fed (sadly), no tax reforms (in *either* direction)... none of that shit.

      Of course, the angry redneck and the stupid sophomore both have one thing in common: You can't tell either one of them a damned thing right now which refutes their little dreams.

    • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @10:57AM (#51328957)
      The problem is that Trump says stuff and he means it. He's absolutely right in all matters. He's right even when he demonstrably isn't. He's right even when experts tell him he's full of shit. He's right even if it means reality is wrong. And don't dare tell him he is wrong because suddenly you're an enemy to be demeaned and mocked.

      It's not hard to find articles that suggest he is suffering from a narcissistic personality disorder and I can easily believe it.

    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @12:13PM (#51329691) Homepage Journal

      Of course; anyone with a half a brain can see he's a bigtime bullshitter. But that doesn't mean you should dismiss what he says; you can a learn a lot from the BS he spouts about the people who support him. What this shows is that they're not conservative or libertarian; and they're certainly not liberal either. So what are they?

      They're authoritarian.

      Authoritarians are a different breed from conservatives or liberals; conservatives and liberals differ on issues of ideology, but authoritarianism is about the cult of personality. The key attribute of an authoritarian leader is the utter lack of intellectual integrity. Authoritarian leaders don't serve ideologies, they use them, even mixing and matches to suit the need of the moment.

      So the election of an authoritarian would be news for anyone who holds a principled political position, no matter what position that leader claims to support. In this case Trump is running as a conservative, but here he's signaled his complete lack of interest in consistency with principled conservatism. And his admirers admire him all the more for it. They aren't interested in consistency, they're interested in a "strong" leader, by which they mean someone who will unashamedly give voice to their resentments -- of foreigners and of the elite. That should sound alarmingly familiar.

      So yes, Trump doesn't intend to force Apple to make its computers here. But if he gets elected and it serves his purposes he'll try. If he fails, he'll just point that as proof he has to have more power.

      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        While you're correct about being authoritarian, you're making a mistake in thinking that authoritarianism is different then conservative vs liberal. They're actually different axises on the political chart. You can have authoritarian conservatives, libertarian conservatives, authoritarian liberals (the American meaning of liberal) and libertarian liberals. Most successful politicians have been fairly authoritarian and to the right of the spectrum.
        Check out the political compass, even has a nice quiz you can

        • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @04:03PM (#51331635) Homepage Journal

          Yes, I know about the political compass, but I believe it is intrinsically flawed as a guide to authoritarian behavior. Yes, you can be located in the upper left or right hand quadrants in terms of your theoretical opinions, but authoritarian leaders will always do what's most opportunistic and self-serving regardless of what they say they're for on the left/right axis.

          Take the Nazi Party -- aka the "National Socialists". Their early platform fits very poorly into the political compass model; or rather it fits rather neatly into the model in a misleading way. They were authoritarian leftists according to the political compass model, in particular they were corporatists -- which doesn't refer to rule by business corporations, but rather rule by institutions representing groups in society. They also had racist and nationalistic planks to their program which differ dramatically from other upper left-hand quadrant parties.

          All of the positions espoused by the Nazi party have a simple, straightforward explanation: mass insecurity, leading to fear and resentment of foreigners and of the elite. The resentment of foreigners accounts for the "national" part of national socialism, and the resentment of the elite accounts for the "socialism". However when Hitler gained the chancellorship he had no more use for the anti-elitist strain in the Nazi party, so he quickly moved to purge the party of its socialist elements in the Night of Long Knives. This illustrated the behavioral unreliability of authoritarian leaders I'm talking about. According to his rhetoric Hitler was as national socialist as ever, but given the lack of interest of authoritarians in consistency that's mere lip service. Authoritarian leaders always act to consolidate their power; their views on the other axis are window dressing. And the nature of authoritarian followers is to follow regardless of the leader's ideological inconsistencies.

          That's not to say that the wise authoritarian doesn't take some care in shifting his positions. I think this explains the vital role of anti-semitism in the success of Naziism. The Nazis were initially anti-capitalist and anti-communist; but by identifying both with Jews they could keep some pretense of consistency while coopting big business and playing footsie with Stalin. You see what's really wrong with capitalism is the Jews; so doubling down on the anti-semitism allows you to shift right because it was really the Jewish element of capitalism that was the problem. Of course it's all opportunistic nonsense, and trying to locate that nonsense on some political axis is a waste of time. The one consistent thing about the Nazis was they could be relied upon to consolidate their power.

          I also think that left/right axis of the political compass is a gross oversimplification, but that's a story for another day. Yes, the political compass is better than collapsing all differences to a single axis, but it's still simplistic.

    • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @01:08PM (#51330205) Journal

      He is not actually going to build that wall on the Mexican border, and whatnot.

      It's more than that. He won't be allowed to do much of what he's saying.

      I live in California. Remember when Schwarzenegger was 'governator'? It was a disaster. He thought he could just bully everyone into doing what he wanted them to do, which of course wasn't going to work. He was blocked at every turn. That's how it would go with Trump as POTUS. You think Congress is hostile to Obama? It would be like a teddy-bear tea-party in comparison to how Congress would respond to Trump. He's an outsider, he's extreme, he's a blowhard, and he'd be blocked at every turn. He seems to think that he can just say 'jump!' and everyone will say 'how high, Sir?' because that's what he's used to, but it won't work that way. Trump as POTUS would probably be the least productive and positive Presidency this country has ever seen, assuming he didn't get impeached.

      • How would getting impeached change that last sentence?

      • I would agree with your summary, except that we have had *very* bad presidents before. Its easy to forget that those scandals that occurred decades before we were born are just as real as the garbage going on in the present.

  • Politician-Speak (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @10:29AM (#51328695)

    For someone who claims to not be a politician, Trump is very good as politician-speak - the art of telling people you'll do things with no intentions/plans/ability to follow through on it.

    Also, I thought Republicans didn't like the government interfering in business? Wouldn't forcing a company to redo its entire operations just to keep everything in America fall under government interference? How long until people realize that President Trump won't be able to do half the things he claims he'll do?

    • by Drethon ( 1445051 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @10:35AM (#51328749)

      For someone who claims to not be a politician, Trump is very good as politician-speak - the art of telling people you'll do things with no intentions/plans/ability to follow through on it.

      Also, I thought Republicans didn't like the government interfering in business? Wouldn't forcing a company to redo its entire operations just to keep everything in America fall under government interference? How long until people realize that President Trump won't be able to do half the things he claims he'll do?

      If he pulled off half of what he claims, he would be 10x better than any previous candidate.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @10:57AM (#51328959)

        If he pulls off half of what he claims, he'll make America in 2017 look a hell of a lot like Germany in 1939. Only with smartphones.

        • They'll probably be mostly Android smartphones by 2010, because a new US manufactured iPhone would probably cost $1,000 each.

          Maybe Trump would then start putting tariffs on the other smartphone manufacturers as well, assuming that he hasn't completely destroyed the US economy and/or got himself impeached by then.

    • It always cracks me up when naive people ask "What does this politician believe in?" because the answer is ALWAYS the same and never changes. "The politician believes in nothing. He or she will say they believe in whatever it takes to get them elected or re-elected." Yes, YOUR guy too.

    • by dlt074 ( 548126 )

      Trump is not a Republican, at least not in action or belief system. The real Republican is Ted Cruz, in actions and belief system. Until recently Trump was a registered Democrat. He's very far LEFT. He actually came out for taking money out of "rich" peoples bank accounts.

      There is nothing conservative or Republican about him.

  • by Noughmad ( 1044096 ) <miha.cancula@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @10:29AM (#51328705) Homepage

    It's obvious: because it's such a well-known and popular brand, and because it was recently under attack for treating Chinese workers poorly.

    • In the land of massive robotic manufacturing, we need slaves for what again?
    • Funny backhand, if you think about it: Apple treats their workers poorly - so "make" Apple employ Americans instead of Chinese.

      "You're still f-ing peasants, as far as I can see."
      Working Class Hero, J. Lennon 1970

  • by danbob999 ( 2490674 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @10:31AM (#51328713)

    How Trump would force Apple's supply chain, which relies heavily on a vast network of suppliers and large factories throughout Asia, to be brought stateside remains unknown

    How about TFS be consistent with itself? It isn't unknown, it's by taxing them:

    The most popular candidate in the Republican party said he would impose a 35% business tax on American businesses manufacturing outside of the United States.

  • Treaty obligations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by silas_moeckel ( 234313 ) <{silas} {at} {dsminc-corp.com}> on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @10:33AM (#51328723) Homepage

    As in how many would we have to back out of to do this?

    • by NetNed ( 955141 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @10:44AM (#51328813)
      Who cares? Really, I can see why some think what he is saying is pretty out there, but I am always a little shocked when the media that loves to pine on about how many jobs are leaving the US take issue with someone's plan to bring back or keep jobs in the US, most certainly manufacturing jobs. As far as the treaties go, do you really think the countries we have those with are following them to a T? A lot of them don't even follow world treaties and then go on and on about how they are champions of the terms of those treaties then later we find out they have been bullshitting everyone all along.
  • And I absolutely include anybody in that category who promises, while running for president, to do something only Congress can do.

  • by Jaxim ( 858185 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @10:37AM (#51328767) Homepage

    Trump said he would 'get' Apple to make their products in America, not 'make' Apple. There's a difference. He's not going to force Apple to come to America but convince them. He's going to improve the business tax codes which Tim Cooke has said is a driving force for Apple to make their products overseas. Trump's statement is not so outlandish as some world make it to be.

    Here's what he actually said...

    "We have such amazing people in this country: smart, sharp, energetic, they're amazing," Trump said. "I was saying make America great again, and I actually think we can say now, and I really believe this, we're gonna get things coming... we're gonna get Apple to start building their damn computers and things in this country, instead of in other countries."

    • by sribe ( 304414 )

      ... tax... which Tim Cooke has said is a driving force for Apple to make their products overseas.

      Citation? Because I don't think he ever said that.

      But I do know that he has said there is simply no way in the U.S. to get in one place the 10s of 1000s of workers with the equivalent of 2-year associates degrees that are required to keep those factories running.

    • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @01:08PM (#51330197)

      Trump said he would 'get' Apple to make their products in America, not 'make' Apple. There's a difference. He's not going to force Apple to come to America but convince them. He's going to improve the business tax codes which Tim Cooke has said is a driving force for Apple to make their products overseas. Trump's statement is not so outlandish as some world make it to be.

      Here's what he actually said...

      "We have such amazing people in this country: smart, sharp, energetic, they're amazing," Trump said. "I was saying make America great again, and I actually think we can say now, and I really believe this, we're gonna get things coming... we're gonna get Apple to start building their damn computers and things in this country, instead of in other countries."

      Of course the actual reason isn't taxes (the US's effective rate is pretty low) but manpower.

      China has relatively cheap labour and a manufacturing sector with a ton of expertise. You might be able to stop current businesses from making the upheaval to move to China, but making a second upheaval to come back? Not with tax cuts. Trump's chances of convincing Apple to more their manufacturing are about the same as his chances of convincing Mexico to give him a free wall.

      Trump isn't an unstoppable force of whatever, he's an incompetent buffoon who's dangerous for the sole reason that a bunch of people think he's qualified to drive the bus. I don't think he's all that different from Palin who was a political force for years despite massive and obvious red flags. I suspect he'll similarly fade away when people realize just how incompetent he is and they start feeling embarrassed to follow him, whether it happens before the Republican's nominate their candidate is the big question.

  • Every time some politician makes a promise like this I always think, Sure but because of globalisation it will always be the smaller part of the company that resides in the first world. Therefore the logical outcome to any single government's moves against a corporation would be the decamping of said corporation to another jurisdiction. i.e. Apple would move out of the US entirely and place their headquarters in a more friendly nation.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @10:40AM (#51328789)

    Donald Trump says he'd like to make Apple "start building their damn computers and things in this country instead of other countries."

    He can like whatever he wants but it's not possible for a lot of reasons.
    1) Labor costs are too high in the US to be competitive on assembly work of that scale. I know this because I run a company that does contract assembly of electric products. Even Apple's profit margins aren't fat enough to make that possible.
    2) The supply chain for all the components does not exist in the US. That business left the US a looong time ago.
    3) Apple is actually a software company [youtube.com]. If you put Android on their gear, nobody is going to pay a premium for it. The margins on their product are decidedly not in building the computer and Apple has no particular manufacturing expertise.
    4) Apple doesn't build their computers. They hire other companies to do it. Same with Dell, HP, etc. The companies that actually build these things aren't US companies.
    5) The president doesn't have the authority to do that and even if he did it would be a REALLY stupid idea. The only thing he would accomplish is to make it difficult for those companies to compete. Samsung isn't going to start building their machines in the US. Manufacturing goes where the costs are lowest and frequently that is not in the US thanks to high labor costs and in some cases regulations.

    If Trump (or anyone) thinks this is a good idea, why start or stop with Apple?

    It isn't a good idea and Trump is pandering. He knows perfectly well that it isn't possible, practical or a good idea. But he's more than happy to lie to people too dumb or ignorant to understand supply chain economics.

  • by justcauseisjustthat ( 1150803 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @10:45AM (#51328823)
    Apple will be assembling productsin the US within 10 yrs, using robotics, but it won't help employment rates because it will all be robotics based.
  • by tanstaaf1 ( 770797 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @10:54AM (#51328923)
    provides the logic most often used to justify offshoring and "free" international trade. However, the theory (logical as it is) is founded on a number of premises. A number of these premises held centuries ago but not so much any more. There is, notably, the premise that "factors of production" (e.g., factories and resources) cannot easily be moved. And money and credit were supposedly not conjurable at whim from nothing but government dictat. GIGO, even if the machine can run for some time on garbage and momentum.
  • by maroberts ( 15852 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @10:58AM (#51328981) Homepage Journal

    Its effectively a disguised import tariff and the US has gone to a lot of trouble to get "free trade" agreements with many countries, or alternatively deals with minimal customs duties. He'll end up with the regulatory bodies saying that this form of tax is illegal under the agreements and the USA would have to pay a lot of compensation

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @10:58AM (#51328985)

    >> Why start with Apple?

    I listen to Rush Limbaugh's show every couple of weeks and I know he's currently hawking at least two products: Donald Trump and Apple technology. By focusing on one of Rush's biggest advertisers (Apple), maybe Trump ensures he dominates Rush's show (as Rush tries to thread the needle between defending Apple and not trashing Trump) for a few more days?

    (I don't think the effect of Rush's power in the primary polls can be underestimated. When he was hawking Scott Walker, Walker led in the polls. When he stopped hawking Walker, the guy dropped down to something like 1% support.)

  • by zifn4b ( 1040588 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @11:29AM (#51329297)

    This seems like evidence that Trump doesn't really understand macro-economics. The reason why manufacturing of consumer goods was shipped overseas is because it was discovered that we couldn't afford the consumer goods as well at higher prices to pay American workers to make the goods. Thus, we moved the manufacturing overseas to bring down the price point to something more palatable to the typical American consumer. There is a far more complex economic issue going on here. We need to peel back the layers of the onion and find out answers to some real questions:

    • 1) Why do goods cost what they do? What are the components of the cost?
    • 2) Why can Americans afford to buy more product at a different price point than others. That has to do with wages and costs of goods.

    All of these are inter-related. There are better presidential candidates to get into these details than Trump and probably less biased.

  • by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @11:59AM (#51329557)

    This is practically boring by Trump standards. It's not even insane- it's protectionism. This has a long history, and in some industries is generally tolerated or even desired (by more than just fringe groups), in some amount. What Trump is describing isn't of the normal sort, of course- it's extreme and would cause havok in a number of industries.

    Like much of Trump's rhetoric, it assumes powers that presidents don't have. Trump presumably knows this, and is undeterred, because he wants to be elected, and his track is populist screed, so off he goes.

    The only thing he says on this that has some merit is his brief rant about Boeing. A Boeing plant will give China access to seriously new tools and methods that they currently haven't been able to copy from the shortsighted companies that make factories in China and have them duplicated by a Chinese company a few years later. I don't know if this is worth some federal action, however, and certainly a president isn't the one to make the call.

    To answer the question, if you listen to Trump, he wouldn't stop with Apple, he'd go on a rampage of magically teleporting factories around and tossing out tariffs that are likely banned by treaty for decades.

    It's not surprising for a populist to promise protectionism, and it's the least scary thing on his agenda. Destroying a few dozen industries is nothing compared to what he's promised internationally or for civil rights lol

  • by ITRambo ( 1467509 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @12:07PM (#51329629)
    Our government should encourage Foxconn to build a plant in the US. That way Apple, Microsoft and other US company products can be built in the US. A tax break for all companies manufacturing in the US for North American, and other, distribution would go a long way.
  • by RandCraw ( 1047302 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2016 @01:06PM (#51330187)

    Trump is the first truly populist presidential candidate in a long time. But there's a long rich history of chest thumpers willing to say anything to get elected.

    The best recent example in modern times is probably Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

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