Rush Limbaugh

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RUSH: Now, something fascinating came up the other night in a debate, and I wanted to mention it the other day, and I didn’t get to it. Candy Crowley brought up the Apple example and manufacturing. And the example was that not one Apple product is made in America, and yet they’re the largest company in the country, they sell gazillions of products, and not one of them is manufactured in the United States, and of course the hand-wringing and, “Oh, what can we do? Can we bring that back? Oh, my God.”

There’s a simple reality. The last time Apple products were really manufactured in this country, you’ve gotta go back to when John Sculley ran the company, the early nineties. Apple had two factories, and they could stamp out a million Macs a day, computers. There was no iPhone at this point in time, just the Macintosh. They had two factories. One was in California, I think Fremont, if I’m not mistaken, somewhere in California. The other one was in Cork, Ireland. But the iPhone, the iPod, the current iteration of the iMac, all the Macintosh line of computers, the iPad, have never been made in America. Those are not jobs lost. Those are not manufacturing jobs that have somehow been squandered and lost.

Those products have never been made here. However, they wouldn’t exist without American ingenuity. All of the industrial design, all of the software engineering, many of the components for the various products, all of them are designed here, every damn one of them is designed here. Many of the components inside, the chips, made here. If you want to go ancillary, okay, so Apple sold five million iPhones in the first weekend that it was on sale, and everybody wrings their hands, “None of them are manufactured in America. We’ve lost our manufacturing base.” No, the iPhone was never made here.

But what did it take to get those iPhones in everybody’s hands? It took airplanes. FedEx, an American company. Apple buys out FedEx routes for weeks leading up to the release of a product. Then once the iPhones got here, where did they go? They went to Apple stores, they went to carrier stores, they went to individuals’ homes. They had to be delivered by somebody. UPS delivered some, FedEx delivered some, people picked them up themselves.

The Apple Store has its own employees. The number of jobs that Apple creates or facilitates, despite the fact that their products are manufactured (or assembled, I should say) in China would astound people if they ever stopped and looked at it. There are plenty of jobs in this country that are being filled and that are necessary because of Apple, even though their products are manufactured there.

By the way, I’m not speaking to you as an Apple fanboy. I’m speaking to you once again strictly in economic terms. Apple is not a drag on the US economy, even though those products are not manufactured here. Those are jobs that are never gonna come back. Have you ever stopped to think…? The iPhone 5 right now, they can’t make enough. They are selling every iPhone they make.

They have had the fastest rollout, international rollout of a product ever. The iPhone is on sale in more countries than any phone at this stage of its release date as any product they’ve ever had. They simply can’t make enough. And one of the reasons is I don’t think Apple was prepared to be number one, frankly. I can’t get my arms around their manufacturing. Their phones, their products, their computers, the iPads, the iPhones, the iPods.

All these are made by one company called Hon Hai Precision, Foxconn, and they’ve got factories all over China, factories that employ 300,000 people. The total number of employees of the manufacturing firm is over one million. It takes five days to make an iPad, I read. Manual labor, five days. I don’t know what it is for an iPhone. One of the reasons the manufacturer says the iPhone’s late or tough to get is because its design is so intricate.

It’s the thinnest and the lightest and it just takes a long time to put one of these things together, and it is really hard because it’s so miniaturized. It’s so technically advanced. The way manufacturing and union jobs are in this country, those jobs would never exist here. Nobody could afford an iPhone manufactured in this country. But just as an aside, I’m not capable of understanding how it’s done anyway.

I don’t know how a million people spread out over factories throughout China — there’s even a couple in Brazil now — turn these things out in the quantity they do. All handmade. Now, the components are not handmade. Some of those are precision made, but the assembly is all done by hand. And the volume, the number of devices! They’ve got a new miniature iPad that they’re gonna be announcing in a week, and they’re not gonna have enough of those.

I frankly don’t know how they get all these things made. I can’t conceive it. I’d have to go to China, see one of these factories, and see how it’s done. I can’t conceive it. But that’s just an aside. The bottom line is that those jobs were never here. We didn’t lose those jobs. And the jobs that are related to all those products are real, and they are American jobs, and the intellectual content — the stuff that makes those iPhones valuable — is all made and designed here.


RUSH: I don’t know where to stop when talking about Apple. Look at the people that make accessories for all their products: the cases, the external batteries, the chargers. It really represents total economic ignorance to sit here and wring your hands and worry about the fact that the iPhone, the iPad, whatever, is not made in the United States. The economic activity associated with the assembly of those products over there by the ChiComs is incalculable.

Well, you could calculate it, but it would stun you.

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