In the op-ed “Guess Who Came to Dinner; Guess Who Didn’t Even Get Asked?” Leo Hindery, Chairman of the Smart Globalization Initiative at the New America Foundation, points to the president’s dinner in Silicon Valley last month with eight of his new “BFFs” – each the CEO of an internet-related company including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Steve Jobs and Google’s Eric Schmidt.
“The purpose of the dinner was to ‘discuss his competitiveness agenda and find new ways the government and private sector can work together to lift the shaky economy,’” wrote Hindery. “But let’s look at the ‘employment credentials’ of some of those attendees. For every one of the 25,000 American workers now employed by Apple mostly in marketing, administration and R&D, there are 10 Foxconn workers in China physically manufacturing the iPads and iPhones which Apples sells everyday — 250,000 in total.”
“The president and Ms. Valerie Jarrett keep talking about jobs and competitiveness as if these tech companies are the end-all and be-all to economic recovery,” he writes. “Again and again, he seeks counsel among the Silicon Valley crowd, while staying away both from the non-virtual manufacturing facilities found in all fifty states and, it seems, from talking with the nearly 30 million real unemployed workers for whom we’re trying to find those new jobs.
“As long as Mr. Obama focuses on CEOs in Silicon Valley to the neglect of rebuilding manufacturing in America,” writes Hindery, “we won’t see anything near the official, let alone the real, unemployment rate that his economic team predicted in early 2009 and continues to promise.”