| Enda Kenny, taoiseach (2nd from left), maybe giving live responses or possibly not, at a Facebook Q&A at Facebook's headquarters in Silicon Valley, California, June 05, 2014. Barry O'Leary, IDA Ireland chief, is on the right of image. What is surprising is that so few images of meetings with leaders of the tech giants he met on the 3-day trip, were released. They may have been avoiding giving attention to their Irish tax arrangements but Governor Jerry Brown filled that void.|
In the week when the Irish ambassador to the
United States contacted the office of Chuck Schumer, US senator for New York,
over a tussle about jobs at the Bausch+Lomb plant in Waterford, and Governor
Jerry Brown of California at an event in San Francisco attended by Enda Kenny,
taoiseach, made a barbed comment about Apple's 'creative accounting' and
Ireland, there should be some lessons learned from the trip to California.
Even a Facebook Q&A
was a dud as the taoiseach managed to only answer six questions on the theme
of 'trade, investment and job creation.'
"I don't know how you got to have Apple to have
so much of their business in Ireland, we thought they were a Californian
company, when you look at their tax returns they're really an Irish company...
it's called creative accounting," Governor Brown said to laughter at the
Enterprise Ireland organised event on Friday.
Jerry Brown is an experienced politician who was
the once the youngest and now is the oldest governor of the nation's biggest
state, having succeeded Ronald Reagan in 1975, who had defeated his father
Governor Edmund G. Brown Snr in 1966.
Governors and US senators are closer to the real
world of a challenging jobs market than the president and earlier on Friday in
Washington DC, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported ostensible good news that
employers added a net 217,000 workers in May, more than enough to overtake the
138.4m jobs that existed when the US recession began in December 2007.
However, just 58.9% of working-age Americans have
jobs, down from 62.7% at the start of the recession and the Economic Policy
Institute, a think-tank, says that 7m more jobs would have been needed to keep
up with population growth.
For the bottom 30% of earners, inflation-adjusted
wages have fallen over the past 14 years. For the next 40% of earners, pay
The Wall Street Journal said that despite
signs of sustained strength, the job market is a far cry from what it was before
the financial crisis slammed the economy in 2008. The number of jobs in
manufacturing, construction and government—typically well-paying fields—has
shrunk, while lower-wage work grew. The US has 1.6m
fewer manufacturing jobs than when the recession began, but 941,000 more jobs in
the accommodation and food-service sector. More than 40% of the jobs
added in just the past year have come in generally lower-paying fields such as
food service, retail and temporary help.
The economy "is now beginning to show incremental employment growth," said Doug
Handler, chief US economist at IHS Global Insight. But now the focus is turning
to the types of jobs being created.
The first new job beyond the last peak, he said, will probably be
"a barista at a local coffee shop."
reported that Bausch + Lomb, the eye contact lens manufacturer that was
founded in Rochester, New York in 1853 and is now owned by Valeant, a Canadian
firm, is seeking job and pay cuts at its Waterford plant.
Valeant has threatened to shut the Irish
In light of the news Senator Schumer urged the CEO of Valeant
Pharmaceuticals, to strongly consider moving the work
and jobs to Rochester from Ireland. Schumer said that, after his phone call with CEO J.
Michael Pearson, he is confident that Rochester will have "a great shot at adding
work and jobs from the potential closure of the Ireland plant."
The senator claimed to have successfully pushed Valeant to locate the manufacturing of the next-generation
contact lens line called “Ultra” in Rochester instead of Ireland, and is
following up that effort by urging Valeant to make a similar move with the jobs
in Ireland. Schumer explained that Rochester has a number of competitive
advantages over other locations, including a dedicated and well-educated
workforce, and a wealth of experience in optics manufacturing.
Last week, the Irish ambassador to the US confirmed
in a letter to Fine Gael TD John Deasy that following his request, the Embassy
in Washington got in contact with the New York office of Senator Schumer.
The week should be a reality check for Enda Kenny
that it's easy to promise tech chiefs in Silicon Valley that he will fight to
maintain their low tax breaks in the upcoming reform of international tax rules
when he will have little if any influence on the outcomes.
Magicing up ready-made American jobs is also easier
than developing a credible jobs strategy for the Irish economy, but that is also
running out of road despite the official jobs propaganda machine.
The number of jobs in the foreign-owned exporting
sector are below the level in 2000 and the competition for American jobs is
A blizzard of announcements on job and activation
schemes is no substitute for a strategy and claims about the Irish tax system
that are risible to people in California and Ireland, show a continuing failure
OECD BEPS Project: Ireland should embrace corporate tax reform