back to article President Biden signs CHIPS and Science Act into law

On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act into law. The bipartisan legislation calls for $52.7 billion to advance American semiconductor research, development, manufacturing, and workforce development. In July, the bill passed the US Senate in a 64-33 vote and was approved 243-187 in the US House of …

  1. John 104

    There isn't a research and development problem with semiconductors in the US. Most of that already happens in the states. There IS a manufacturing and workforce issue that should certainly be addressed by building more fabs on US soil and training a proper workforce to operate them.

    As for chip 'shortages'... Come on. There wasn't a chip shortage as much as there was just bad market predictions at the beginning of the pandemic. Reg readers know better.

    1. jmch Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      "There isn't a research and development problem ... There IS a manufacturing and workforce issue"

      This sums it up perfectly. Companies didn't move manufacturing overseas because they couldn't find any competent people or couldn't build factories, they did it because local competent people were more expensive than the competent people abroad, and local regulations made building and running factories more expensive than in places with less regulation.

      The bill is framed as an investment in technology, but it's actually state funding to offset the additional expenses that fabs have to operate in the US instead of abroad. It's not really a handout to Intel etc because their extra income will, in effect, flow to all their US employees and contractors/suppliers*.

      Same with the similair EU chip funding. I'm not saying its a bad thing, its actually good to be more self reliant for technology (also for energy which is another parallel issue).

      *Distinct from pork, because it has a targeted end goal deemed to be useful to local society and not just to the reelection chances of some congresspeople/senators

  2. Youngone Silver badge

    Lack of Confidence

    Schumer characterized the substantial investment called for under the new law as an affirmation that America's best years still lie ahead.

    That statement sounds like it comes from someone who doesn't really believe what he's saying.

    1. PhilipN Silver badge

      Re: Lack of Confidence

      Beat me to it. Does sound desperate.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lack of Confidence

      Considering the state of the republican party and their willingness, even eagerness in some cases, to hitch their wagon to one of the most divisive and destructive con men in history, perhaps he's right to be a little skeptical about the future, even privately.

    3. NoneSuch Silver badge

      Re: Lack of Confidence

      "Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the CHIPS and Science Act "the most important thing we have done for America in years if not decades."

      I wonder which US State is getting the majority of the funds? (That's a rhetorical question.)

  3. Lordrobot Bronze badge

    Caution ... Chuck Schumer is Back! Going Going ... Gonif

    March 5, 2012

    President Obama boasted at a United Auto Workers conference last week that General Motors was back in business, producing cutting-edge vehicles like the plug-in electric Chevrolet Volt. He even promised to buy one when his time in office ends “five years from now.”

    Whoops! Just three days later, GM announced that it would suspend Volt production for five weeks this spring, idling 1,300 workers at a Hamtramck, Mich., factory.

    Alas, Obama’s endorsements notwithstanding, there’s not much of a market for this little bitty car, at least not at the price of almost $32,000 — after a $7,500 federal tax rebate.

    So much for Obama’s goal of 1 million all-electrics and plug-ins on the road by 2015.

    A123 Systems, a maker of electric-car batteries that has received $374 million in state and federal loans, announced 125 layoffs last fall. The cause: problems at its main customer, Fisker Automotive, which builds expensive plug-in electric cars. Fisker got a half-billion in loans from the Energy Department, though the money was recently frozen because of the company’s failure to meet production targets.

    These events confirm the wasteful folly of allocating capital according to the dictates of politicians, such as when Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) declared in November 2008: “A business model based on gas — a gas-guzzling past — is unacceptable. We need a business model based on cars of the future, and we already know what that future is: the plug-in hybrid electric car.”

    1. nintendoeats Silver badge

      Re: Caution ... Chuck Schumer is Back! Going Going ... Gonif

      I don't think your evidence proves your conclusion. The reason governments invest in these kinds of projects is because they have significant risk; more than most investors will be willing to bear. If we want to accelerate commercialization of alternative energy vehicles, somebody has to assume that risk. Distributing it across all taxpayers seems like a reasonable option, since they are supposed to be technologies that will benefit everybody.

      Of course then if a company is successful they will "forget" about all that investment and charge consumers through the nose. But that's really a separate issue from the question of where such a company can find capital investment.

      I say this as a person who loves his supercharged Miata.

      1. I miss PL/1

        Re: Caution ... Chuck Schumer is Back! Going Going ... Gonif

        In a capitalist society you wouldn't have to subsidize because the people would pay for it if they wanted it. This is social engineering and a waste of tax money.

        The reason we don't make chips here is you don't want to pay $10000 for a barbones laptop or $100,000 for an economy car

        1. nintendoeats Silver badge

          Re: Caution ... Chuck Schumer is Back! Going Going ... Gonif

          I don't want to live in a purely capitalist society, and what you are presenting is one example of why. There are cases where a majority of people would benefit from something, but no individual is willing or able to foot the bill for it.

          I am just as opposed to a purely capitalist system as I am to a purely communist one, so to me the argument "that's not capitalist!" is not compelling.

  4. Denarius

    business as usual for modern corporates

    dont make anything customers want, get taxpayers money and bonuses all round, plus a few donations, wink wink. What could possibly go wrong ?

  5. theAltoid

    Failed investments

    Not just the government, plenty of private companies and funds invest in companies and ideas that go belly up. Funding industry and taking small risks is generally a good thing. Small as ~$400m out of a 2015 US federal budget of $3.7t, or 0.01% (or about $1.50 per US resident). Based on my income that would be the equivalent of investing about £7.

  6. Auntie Dix

    Motorcycles DO NOT Cost That Much

    Spending over $52 billion to hype EV motorcycles while invigorating the long-dead careers of Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox — not to mention Chris Pine's even-then-unattractive father — shows how crazy our government is.

    Further, the story lines for "CHiPs" were played out long ago. Do we really need them repeated, especially by actors more suited to Hoverounds?

  7. John Savard

    Global Foundries?

    How is Qualcomm going to compete with Apple, if they're getting their chips from a supplier that isn't interested in making anything denser than 12nm?

    I mean, isn't the CHIPS act all about ensuring the U.S. would have domestic sources that could fill in for TSMC if Taiwan disappeared from the face of the Earth?

  8. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    $2 billion covering legacy chips in vehicles and defense systems

    Oooo, an opening for my PDP11 skillz?

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      "Oooo, an opening for my PDP11 skillz?"

      The Ukrainian Air Force wants to talk to you.

  9. I miss PL/1

    I gaurentee

    This act well have little to no long term impact and in fact will just be another 50 billion down the drain.

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