A gloomy Tim Cook stalks Bloomberg Businessweek's cover today, and he has some thoughts. Some thoughts that sound suspiciously like a preamble to a "my fellow Americans" speech.
Image: AP Editor Megan Murphy's conversation with the Apple CEO isn't substantively different from the sprawling, 10,000-word interview he conducted with the Washington Post last year — whole paragraphs of boilerplate answers to softball questions could easily be swapped between the two — except for one subtextual revelation: It sounds like this guy might want to run for President of the United States.
On employment (all emphasis ours):
I feel a responsibility as the CEO of an important company to grow jobs in the United States... in advanced manufacturing, there's going to be a lot of jobs. An example of this clearly is Corning. We're working with them on things that have American innovation in them and create a good number of jobs... Apple's created 2 million jobs in the United States.
We provided [a programming curriculum] for elementary schools because we think coding should be a required language just like English is... we prepared a Swift curriculum aimed at [community college students] and went out to community colleges around the U.S. We picked a half a dozen where we had preexisting relationships to work with them and get their feedback. We're providing it for free as well... We also have the largest number of student developers. It does your heart good to sit with these folks. They're idealistic. They want to learn. There's no cynicism. We can change diversity by doing this. We can begin to help people who have been left behind by the tech resurgence.
On wealth repatriation:
That's not the parochial view of what's best for Apple. That's a view of what's good for America. I'd come up with a reasonable percentage. I'd make it required... You get charged, and you can decide whether you want to bring it back or not. But you're getting charged.
On global trade:
I think it's smart for the United States to have some kind of tax revenue for international earnings — if that tax were reasonable. Because it will be the small-business guy on the corner that this happens to. They're going to see opportunity to sell their wares around the world — and it's worth something to be domiciled in this country. And I'd give a credit for the taxes you pay internationally.
Veterans Affairs has struggled in providing health care to veterans. We have an expertise in some of the things at the base level that they're struggling with. So we're going to work with them. I could give a crap about the politics of it. I want to help veterans. My dad's a veteran. My brother served. We have so many military folks in Apple. These folks deserve great health care.
On Apple's ethos:
It's like the Constitution, which is the guide for the United States.
You might ask: How could Tim Cook reasonably expect to influence US trade, health care, education and economic policy? The obvious answer is that he'll run as the probably-soon-to-be-founded American Technocrat Party's first candidate for president. He has his platform ready, peppered with just enough heartfelt anecdotes and the occasional wink of contrition for his industry's undeniable role in deepening global wealth inequality.
Mr Cook, we look forward to you handily annihilating Mark Zuckerberg in the 2020 primaries.