When you spend hundreds of millions of dollars to extend manufacturing in the United States, hiring and training 500 people to staff the facilities, you are doing what President Donald Trump wants you to. And what President Barack Obama wanted you to. And what President Bush, both Bushes wanted you to do.
Yet, when I read and watch the coverage of the Apple (AAPL) event yesterday where President Trump toured the plant, I found it almost horrifying. So many in the media started in not on the new jobs, the retraining, the return to American jobs that might easily have been established in China, but on how Apple's CEO Tim Cook's a veritable tool of a president that many commentators despise.
"How could Tim Cook willingly partake in a campaign ad for that despicable man," represents the common refrain.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is all nonsense. We -- all of us -- want jobs created in the United States. We are a country that has starved its manufacturing base for years. It is true that the workers showed in the coverage weren't Apple workers, they belonged to Flex (FLEX) , a manufacturing outsource company we have chronicled many times on "Mad Money." That was not hidden. Yes, the plant will put out a very small percentage of Apple's offerings, but it's an amazing machine that's 15,000 times faster than the original Mac with 12 million times more memory with a ridiculous amount of storage. The darned thing could probably put a man on Mars.
"Building the Mac Pro, Apple's most powerful device ever, in Austin is both a point of pride and a testament to the enduring power of American ingenuity," said Tim Cook in a release.
I think it's time we accepted that it isn't a bad thing to create jobs here, because it might further the president's agenda. Should Tim Cook have turned down the president's request to come down and champion Cook's choice of Austin to locate Mac Pro production? Does it somehow taint the act of job creation? Does it debase Tim's morals and ethics, cause an unpardonable sin of compromise to further the cause of avoiding tariffs on imported iPhones?
No, no, no, no, no. It's simply a positive act to bring jobs home which, frankly, should be rewarded, especially because with tariffs on Apple iPhones, Korean giant Samsung benefits. Is that somehow what this country should want?
I don't think so.
I know the intelligentsia is still portraying the Chinese as the good trading, righteous partner. But I think that the business world is starting to recognize that Trump is right that we have done too little to stop our terrible trade imbalance with China -- terrible because it comes on the backs of our own unemployed. Take Gary Friedman, CEO of Restoration Hardware (RH) , which makes a ton of furniture in China, but is moving manufacturing as quickly as it can without compromising quality. He's emboldened to tell the truth, even if it coincides with the president's views.
I have to tell you that every time you hear this kind of hectoring, know that it only hardens the president's position on trade. We got one more leak last night from the Chinese that the talks might intensify.
I think this kind of talk is way off base. There has yet to be any movement by China to demonstrate that it will change its ways and stop committing the seven deadly sins: stealing our intellectual property; forcing tech transfers; hacking our computers; dumping into our markets; giving state-owned enterprises heavy subsidies; allowing poisonous fentanyl to come here; and manipulating currency.
Buying tons of soybeans will not ameliorate any of these ills. That's why the prospects of a deal seem to diminish by the day. That and the fact that the policy to bring back jobs is working. Lots of presidents have tried and failed to do just what Trump is doing. That Tim Cook's doing his part is something that should be applauded, not derided, whether you hate Trump or not and the pundits better figure that out, because Cook's not the last to do it. He's the first, and there will be many many behind him.