Forget what side of politics you play on. I am tossing my views aside for this article, just laying out the “logic” cards. Apple is supporting the Hillary Clinton campaign, and even more so Tim Cook. If you thought Apple’s best interests would be to support Trump, who talks about fighting tough on trade imbalance, or better tax rates, there is a lot more to it than that.
First and perhaps foremost is viewing how Cook separates Apple’s needs and wants with his own personal politics. Cook is involved in LGBT politics, and Apple is squarely in support of many LGBT ideals. But many shareholders wonder what this has to do with company profits? And which Presidential candidate should Apple support for maximum financial gains? But maybe Cook and many others on Apple’s board think beyond financial goals with their politics, but there are a few items we can clearly understand (well, as best we can in this crazy Presidential race).
First, Trump has often talked about increasing tariffs on China imports. But any imposed tariff cost is paid by the consumer, and goes into the Federal Government’s coffers to be spent where ever our elected officials desire it go. If that sounds a lot like a tax, for the consumer, it is. Whether it punishes China more than the American consumer and economy, that is a political question. But certainly, any new China tariff will raise the price of virtually any Apple hardware product. iPhone, iMac (save for Mac Pro – U.S. built), virtually everything Apple manufactures in China, those costs to the consumer will go up under a Trump Presidency. That or Apple takes lower margins. Either way, it hurts Apple financially. Clinton is not in favor of additional China tariffs. Chalk one up for Apple, and other tech companies supporting Clinton over Trump on this major issue.
If you think I'm slanting all this because I hate Trump and love Clinton, think again. Clinton is one of the largest, politically established crony-capitalists there have been in a long time, selling out to Wall Street every which way possible. Just ask the Bernie Sanders supporters a bit about this and you will get a lifetime full of how Clinton has bowed to the hand of the almighty dollar in her corner. So is Trump a winner here for Apple? The guy that has never run for office before, and running on his outsider status? Therefore shouldn’t Apple want Trump? No. Not really. If Apple wants a tax holiday, or lower taxes to repatriate their money, and can buy the Clinton’s team ear (along with Microsoft, Google, Facebook, you name the tech company), then team Clinton will be supported. Ironically, as Clinton wants to tax companies for leaving the U.S. she just might be willing to grant tax breaks to bring money back into the U.S. If it is true Clinton can be bought (selling the Lincoln bedroom anyone? Pardoning hardened criminals who gave them millions in donations, the Clinton Foundation...), then Apple would logically want Clinton in the White House allowing the company to repatriate over $150 billion dollars. At that point, Apple could buy Disney, Comcast, whomever they wanted, whenever they wanted. And borrowing money to supply dividends would no longer be necessary. Chalk another win for Clinton with Apple and crony capitalism.
Looking at Apple’s board of Directors and their politics, Clinton also makes sense based on their political persuasion. On the other hand, Trump is a wild card, long on holding to his ideal that no one can buy him, that he is not for sale. While that is a great ideal for the office of President, how does that aid corporations with their own goals in mind? It doesn’t. Therefore, do not think Apple is altruistic more so than any other company, or individual, looking to find an advantage and lean and except support. Cook and Apple are going to support who will be most likely to do what they want them to do. And in this election cycle, that is Hillary Clinton.
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