Posts Tagged ‘Steve Jobs’

The billionaires who control the US federal government and both major political parties are quaking in their boots because the Mexican government has increased the national minimum wage ever so slightly, by .45 cents per day. No doubt the billionaires are worried the increase will cut into corporate profits, slow the increase in share prices during the current economic and stock market bubbles, and perhaps even slow the increase in dividend payments. Heaven forbid!

CNN reports that “Nearly 25 million Mexicans are getting a pay raise next week. From $4.25 to $4.70 — a day. Mexican government and business leaders agreed on Tuesday to raise the country’s minimum wage starting on December 1 to 88.36 pesos from 80.04 pesos. The 10% raise is good news for 24.7 million Mexicans who work either one or two minimum wage jobs. But it also resurfaces a key complaint by American workers who voted for President Trump, in part because of his pledge to renegotiate NAFTA, the trade pact between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Trump blames NAFTA for the loss of many American jobs. Cheap labor has attracted American companies to Mexico for decades.”

Trump, of course, is correct. Millions of US jobs have been exported to Mexico since before Nafta, and millions more have been created there by US corporations rather than here because the terms of Nafta paved the legal road to do so. Generally, the numbers have been egregiously understated by researchers because the methodology they use deliberately understates US job losses.

What Trump doesn’t want US citizens to know, which is also what the billionaires who run the Republican Party and the Democratic Party don’t want you to know is that US income and wealth inequalities have been fueled by Nafta, and the stock markets have been booming since Nafta, precisely because Nafta has allowed US corporations to export millions of US jobs to Mexico. The difference between the old higher US wages and benefits and the new lower Mexican wages with no benefits goes straight into the already super-sized and ultra-fat wallets of the uber-rich via higher corporate profits, surging share prices and rising dividends.

Do you ever wonder how Warren Buffett, Phil Knight, the Koch Brothers, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and others ever got so much richer than they should be? These wonder boys have always been big-time supporters of cheap Mexican and cheaper Chinese, Vietnamese and Bangladesh wages with no benefits and fewer worker safety and relaxed or nonexistent environmental controls in those and other nations. They also have prospered because of these things.

So these rich folks owe quite a debt to the record income and wealth inequality they have created to Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, Paul Ryan, and Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden. The rest of us pay the price of the massive political corruption they have created.

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Apple’s new I-phone is out. It’s i-watch is also out on the market. Apple also shifted $79 billion overseas from 2009-2012 so it didn’t need to pay a single cent of taxes on it. Apple has plenty of money on hand to pay taxes, but then the company would have less money to pay its shareholders, so the argument goes, except its not paying its shareholders tens of billions of dollars its holding. And if the company paid taxes so that schools could operate, police could work, and roads could be maintained, Apple would have less money to pay its shareholders what it isn’t paying them. By not paying taxes, Apple is crushing job growth since there are less policemen, teachers and road workers on the job and demanding goods and services. Sound confusing? It isn’t.

According to the Guardian newspaper, (bn = billion below).

“At the last count, at the end of June, Apple had $164.5bn of “cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities” on its balance sheet – up a heady $18bn on just nine months earlier. The vast majority of that money – $137.7bn – is held by Apple’s foreign subsidiaries. From September 2013, its overseas cash mountain increased by $26bn.

In April, US Trust, a private bank, calculated that Apple’s hoard, then $159bn (£97bn), was more than twice the UK’s cash reserves, which stand at $70bn, or roughly equivalent to Britain’s annual spending on education and housing combined.

Only $8.3bn of Apple’s stash is actually in hard cash. The rest is invested in government and corporate securities and other investments. Its biggest holdings are $35.5bn in US treasury bonds and $73bn in corporate securities. Apple also holds sizable investments in foreign countries’ debt, commercial paper-based and mortgage-backed securities, all controlled by its own fund management group, Braeburn.

This giant portfolio is bigger than the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater, which manages about $150bn. But Braeburn Capital – named after the apple – is not run from Wall Street. It is based in Reno, the capital of Nevada, a state where there is no corporation tax or capital gains tax.”

Apple management, in other words, is charging too much for its products, most likely in concert with its supposed competitors. Management and its not so rivals are regulating their market, so that they can regulate their share prices slowly upward, among other things. (Most major US corporations do this.)

Otherwise, if the market in these items were truly competitive, profits would be minimal and Apple’s share prices would be much lower than today’s share price. That overcharge payment to its customers is redistributed to its wealthy shareholders via higher profits, dividends and share prices. It’s an income redistribution scam. Management keeps the billions in reserve for hard times, which it will divvy up to its shareholders in the hopes that such a move will keep its stock price up, which coincidentally, is the only real way to keep score as to how management is doing.

Today Apple’s share price is $102.80. If it were a truly competitive business, the share price might be closer to $5. Which suggests Apple’s management team would not be so wealthy.

What would happen if Apple management stopped regulating its profits and retained earnings? What would happen if Apple suddenly decided to award its billions of dollars to its shareholders? The price of shares would rise in the short run, perhaps to two to three times its current rate, but then awarding those billions to the shareholders (the powerless owners of Apple–in theory) would not leave Apple management with a healthy reserve for when hard times hit.

The other thing that would occur is that more jobs would be created, inequality would be lessened, and the economy would be more robust than the historically lackluster economy the US has today. Further, if all corporations stopped regulating their markets and engaged in real competition, the positive effect on the US economy would drive it forward and strengthen it like never before.

But that’s not going to happen with the massive corruption of government and both major political parties. That’s why the economic game is totally rigged against the 99 percent.

Money–Apple Shifts Billions Overseas

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A few days ago, the New York Times announced that thousands of workers had (and are still) rioting at the Foxconn Technology factory in Taiyuan, China. Five thousand police had to be called in to quell the riot. Windows were shattered, police cars overturned and fires were set.

One source reported that components for the Apple I-Phone number five are made at the factory.

The cause of the riot is not clear, but some sources say there was an incident between security and workers that triggered the riot. But the reason is probably more widespread than that.

Why are these jobs overseas? The authors of the story, David Barboza and Keith Bradsher, report that “Analysts say worker unrest in China has grown more common because workers are more aware of their rights, and yet have few outlets to challenge or negotiate with their employers.”

In other words, beside the massive difference in pay between workers in the US and in China, the Chinese workers have virtually no rights in the workplace to negotiate pay increases, hours worked, overtime pay, as well as health, safety and environmental standards.

Foxconn has had problems with workers committing suicide on-the-job last year at one of their factories that produced exclusively for Apple, Inc. Here’s another fact; this riots demonstrates that the race to the bottom in China continues, as well as in the USA. The difference between the old wages here in the USA, as well as the higher amount of dollars needed to maintaining higher factory standards, worker safety and environmental standards here, compared to in China, go into the pockets of the rich, (such as the late Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Wall Street Mitt the Complete Twit Romney) via higher corporate earnings, surging dividends, and rising share prices. That’s why the jobs are in China and not in the USA, where they belong. Standards are higher in the USA.

The rest of us 99 percenters are made to suffer lower standards of living, as our income is redistributed to the 1 percent via trade treaties that all US jobs to be exported or created in foreign nations.

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The cost of labor is only one factor in why a US corporation chooses to relocate or create jobs overseas. The labor cost in the US to produce a $1500 computer is about $25 per computer compared with about $9 in China. The difference appears miniscule, but it’s a serious factor. But there are more sinister reasons that help shape the decisions of CEOs to ship or create jobs overseas. Apple executives gave us one of those reasons.

“Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option. One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.

A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.”

In other words, slave labor is paramount in deciding when and if to move jobs overseas. Click the link below for the complete story.

Apple, America, China and the big squeeze

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There was a reason why Apple Inc. builds their stuff in China and Taiwan and elsewhere; some of it has to do with money, but there are other reasons, as well. An example is provided below.

“The chemical n-hexane used in the Taiwanese-owned Wintek factory caused dozens to faint, fall ill and complain of headaches and other mild symptoms. But many workers were hit harder, suffering nerve damage in their hands and feet from exposure to the chemical, the use of which is regulated in China. The lasting impact of their exposure to the toxin remains unknown, and Apple has repeatedly ignored requests for comment on the situation. They did mention the case in their 2010 corporate supplier report, but said the matter had been solved.”

The full story is below.

Steve Jobs death doesn't absolve Apple Inc.

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Audit finds illegal overtime and unpaid wages at Apple factory

Steve Jobs sure knew what he was doing. An independent audit has discovered that workers at an Apple factory were forced to work overtime without pay. Why would we be surprised?

“The Fair Labor Association (FLA) said employees at Foxconn, which produces products including iPhones and iPads, typically worked more than 60 hours a week during peak periods but were paid unfair compensation for overtime.”

Click here for the complete story

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Nightline has an interesting story that fails to mention a few things. One of them is that if you build a computer in China that sells for $1500 in the USA, the labor cost per unit is about $9. The labor cost per unit of the same product made in the United States is roughly $24. So why does Apple have its factories in China and not in the USA if the cost difference per unit is not all that much?

The Nightline story isn’t going to tell you that Steve Jobs could have his Chinese factory employees working 12 to 16 hour shifts on a moments notice, and they couldn’t and can’t do anything about it. The story isn’t going to tell you that the workers could be fired for just about anything. Nor are they going to tell you that it is very difficult for employees to quit. The story isn’t going to tell you about the environmental hazards workers toil in. It does tell you of the numbers of workers that preferred to commit suicide rather than work for Apple. But these are the reasons why the jobs are there and not here; labor and environmental standards are higher in the USA. Steve Jobs wanted virtual slave labor. Sounds like a nice guy, a visionary. Right.

By the way, the jobs aren’t here, so the iPads are imported into the United States from China, helping to swell the US trade deficit, which is technically with China, but in reality with Apple Inc., as well as the rest of US corporations doing business there. Wall Street and the rich are the primary beneficiaries. The difference in compensation from the jobs that should be here (higher wages) but are over there (lower wages) goes into the pockets of the rich, year after year. That includes savings from lower environmental and labor standards over there. That’s one of the major reasons the rich are getting richer and the rest of us US citizens are descending into third world status. Your government officials are legislative whores of the wealthy.

When you’re reading the story, remember you’re really reading about how income is being redistributed from the 99 percent to the rich.

Click here for the full story

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