Not Drinking The Kool Aid
I admired Steve Jobs’ product development acumen as much as anyone, and we know from various accounts that he was an imperialistic sort, which doesn’t necessarily make him a bad guy. With snippets of the Issacson biography coming out, I’m sure we’ll learn a lot about Jobs that may trouble some of us. Here’s my first bit of heartburn:
Jobs, who was known for his prickly, stubborn personality, almost missed meeting President Obama in the fall of 2010 because he insisted that the president personally ask him for a meeting. Though his wife told him that Obama "was really psyched to meet with you," Jobs insisted on the personal invitation, and the standoff lasted for five days. When he finally relented and they met at the Westin San Francisco Airport, Jobs was characteristically blunt. He seemed to have transformed from a liberal into a conservative.
"You're headed for a one-term presidency," he told Obama at the start of their meeting, insisting that the administration needed to be more business-friendly. As an example, Jobs described the ease with which companies can build factories in China compared to the United States, where "regulations and unnecessary costs" make it difficult for them.
Jobs also criticized America's education system, saying it was "crippled by union work rules," noted Isaacson. "Until the teachers' unions were broken, there was almost no hope for education reform." Jobs proposed allowing principals to hire and fire teachers based on merit, that schools stay open until 6 p.m. and that they be open 11 months a year.
I'd like to know how many times Jobs told George W. Bush about the regulatory barriers companies faced in America, because unless I missed a flurry of regulations passed by the Obama administration in the last two years that would have made things more difficult for Apple to build factories here in the USA, Jobs was full of shit to blame Obama for a bad regulatory environment.
As for Jobs' criticism of our public education system, I'll defer to others who know more about Jobs own educational background and his commitment to improving public education, if any.
But I have a hard time hearing a lecture from a beloved CEO of a company that has hoarded over $76 billion in cash, primarily from making itself a foreign corporation to avoid domestic taxes, trash the teachers union for the failings of public education, when that company has a minimal state and federal tax bill now, again thanks to the manipulation of the American tax codes.