back to article Biden wants chipmakers to provide childcare if they want billions in free money

There are more than a few strings attached to the $52 billion in funding set aside by the CHIPS and Science Act for domestic chipmaking projects, and this week the Biden administration added another: affordable childcare. New rules, slated for release by the US Commerce Department this week, will require chipmakers hoping to …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Backwards

    will require chipmakers hoping to avail themselves of the billions in subsidies made available by the law to provide low-cost childcare for the men and women building and operating the facilities

    Shouldn't they just raise the requirement for the minimum wage, so that childcare becomes affordable for the workers?

    Or do they think if worker sees more money, they'll drink it away and won't come back to the site after a month?

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Backwards

      Shouldn't they just raise the requirement for the minimum wage, so that childcare becomes affordable for the workers?

      And doesn't discriminate against the child-free (and less)

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Backwards

        Or people having kinless non-human companion.

      2. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: Backwards

        "And doesn't discriminate against the child-free (and less)"

        Don't worry, those kids are going to be one ones paying for your retirement.

        Just ask Japan what happens if we don't have enough kids.

        1. ArrZarr Silver badge
          Terminator

          Re: Backwards

          And why the hell would anybody with a shred of compassion want to inflict life on a child who has done nothing to deserve it?

          I, for one, welcome the robots that will take up the slack.

          1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

            Re: Backwards

            Let's give monkeys a chance

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Backwards

              As far as I can tell that has already happened in Washington..

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Backwards

      This is the US, so effectively Biden is wanting business - who believe in paying minimal taxes, but still want the taxpayer funded handouts, to actually do something that is socially beneficial, namely the funding of childcare facilities potentially close to where.people - unable to WFH, will be working.

    3. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

      Re: Backwards

      Minimum wage laws just make jobs illegal, and everything more expensive, or drive jobs overseas.

  2. Persona

    Shouldn't they just raise the requirement for the minimum wage, so that childcare becomes affordable for the workers

    Childcare is a minimum wage business. If you push up minimum wages to allow people to pay for childcare you end up pushing up the cost of childcare to match.

    Ultimately childcare is a "servant" business. High earners make enough money to pay for someone else to look after their kids. Low earners can't as their "servant" would want the same pay as they get. OK, economies of scale help but they are limited by the governing laws that dictate how many kids a child minder can look after at once.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      You have kind of disproved your own point.

      If you push up minimum wages to allow people to pay for childcare you end up pushing up the cost of childcare to match.

      Also this is complete nonsense. Sure, when the wages will be topped up there will be a period when prices will go up, but it will draw people into the market who previously didn't consider giving a childcare service, so the market would come to an equilibrium.

      If a worker can't afford such a basic need as childcare, then they are simply not paid enough. Anything else is just smoke and mirrors.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        @elsergiovolador

        "If a worker can't afford such a basic need as childcare, then they are simply not paid enough. Anything else is just smoke and mirrors."

        Up to how many children does this apply? What other life choices does this apply to? I aint paid enough for a lot of things I might like to have but is that on my employer or me?

        If they dont earn enough to hire a servant to look after their child then they will have to look after the child themselves. Dont like that idea? Why have a child?

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: @elsergiovolador

          Up to how many children does this apply?

          Up to 5.

          What other life choices does this apply to?

          You can choose to not have this many children and use money for something else like buying a guitar and spending 18 years learning how to play.

          If they dont earn enough to hire a servant to look after their child then they will have to look after the child themselves. Dont like that idea? Why have a child?

          Why have a job that doesn't cover the basics?

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: @elsergiovolador

            @elsergiovolador

            "Up to 5."

            Where does this number come from? Is it arbitrary or is there a reason?

            "You can choose to not have this many children and use money for something else like buying a guitar and spending 18 years learning how to play."

            True. So better money management (or education to be fair) would be more responsible than begging for daycare.

            "Why have a job that doesn't cover the basics?"

            That is also valid. They could go get a better paid job if they are able to contribute to a higher value job.

            1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

              Re: @elsergiovolador

              There has been some research that the best spacing to have children is 3 years. 5 times 3 gives you (15+3) 18 year span in total, where the older siblings will be able to help with care for the younger ones and typically after 18 years you would get tired of having more children.

              So better money management (or education to be fair) would be more responsible than begging for daycare.

              This is nonsense. You may as well not pay the workers and say they can go foraging or hunting if they want to eat.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: @elsergiovolador

                @elsergiovolador

                "There has been some research that the best spacing to have children is 3 years. 5 times 3 gives you (15+3) 18 year span in total, where the older siblings will be able to help with care for the younger ones and typically after 18 years you would get tired of having more children."

                Ah ok. Never heard that one (I can believe you). So you would place a maximum on 5? What about those larger families?

                "This is nonsense. You may as well not pay the workers and say they can go foraging or hunting if they want to eat."

                How is it nonsense to suggest proper management of money? And I even accept that some of the blame is on a lack of financial education. In the richest part of the world where poverty is all but eliminated and so has been redefined to a relative measure you dont think that could be an issue? Instead of maxing out their mortgage, car, spending habits then crying its expensive to have a child it wouldnt be better to manage the finances better and have a kid if you can afford to have one? It isnt even comparable to 'not paying enough for someone to eat', just because the person cant afford to shop at Harrods each week doesnt mean the company is paying them too little.

                1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

                  Re: @elsergiovolador

                  You can read about age gap here

                  What about those larger families?

                  That's literally whataboutism and it's okay that legislation will not cover those families who produce children on an industrial scale.

                  How is it nonsense to suggest proper management of money?

                  This is typical for someone privileged to say. What don't you just stop being poor? Just manage money better? It's your fault, not that you are being exploited by your employer, oh no. We, the privileged wouldn't ever do that.

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: @elsergiovolador

                    @elsergiovolador

                    "You can read about age gap here"

                    Cheers for the link.

                    "That's literally whataboutism and it's okay that legislation will not cover those families who produce children on an industrial scale."

                    I wasnt trying whataboutism it was an honest question. There are some who have larger families and was only asking if it was a hard limit. I dont disagree that there needs to be a limit on support.

                    "This is typical for someone privileged to say."

                    And someone who scraped and saved and worked and did things right. Why is it the responsibility of the responsible to be taken advantage of by the irresponsible.

                    "What don't you just stop being poor? Just manage money better?"

                    In a country where almost nobody outside severe drug/alcohol dependency or mental issues is actually poor. As I said poor is a relative term because the rich countries have eliminated actual poverty. This is about not being able to hire a servant to look after your life choice. It isnt as though it is difficult to not get pregnant, to decide to have children is a concious choice. If you prefer to direct your time and money elsewhere then you are better off not having children (no sarcasm). People can choose what is worth their time and money.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @elsergiovolador

                You may as well not pay the workers and say they can go foraging or hunting if they want to eat.

                That's what those weekends we have to give off are for aren't they?

      2. Persona

        Ok lets give an example. You want to go out to work to earn £10/hour but you need childcare. I say I'll provide that for you, at minimum wage of £10/hour but you don't like those numbers. Then minimum wage goes up so you get £15/hour and you come back to me and say "Can you look after my kids now". I say "Sure, I'll do that for you for minimum wage. That will be £15/hour".

        Why do you feel I should be paid any less for looking after your children than you are paid for doing a similar skill level job? Or even the identical job. Suppose you were looking after someone else's children, or for that matter mine?

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          I think you misunderstood my comment. I didn't say increase minimum wage for everyone. They should increase it for the workers building the facility.

          1. Persona

            OK that's valid, but they are increasing it for the workers in the facility. Think of their wage being in two parts: one part goes into their pocket and the other part goes to their childcare provider, who just happens to also be their employer. I'm pretty sure the state won't allow them to pay less than minimum wage because they provide "free" childcare.

            1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

              This is essentially removing agency from the workers and treating them like idiots, like if they couldn't manage to provide their own care if they got paid a little bit more.

              Sure, for many of them, it will be convenient that company takes care of everything.

              I think such a measure really is to avoid equal pay issues - where worker doing the same work should be paid the same wage. So if someone with children is being paid more than someone without, for doing the same work - that would cause a problem and perhaps become ripe for a lawsuit.

              1. doublelayer Silver badge

                That's one way to look at it. The other way to look at it is that the employer is paying whatever they were going to and also now for childcare (to some degree) which they weren't doing earlier. Since this is the U.S., they're also likely to be paying for health insurance, which means more money goes to people who have high medical bills than to the generally healthy. That's usually not considered a subsidy for the sick at the cost of the healthy, but you could think of it that way if you wanted to.

                The other problem with the statement is the "can't afford" bit. The affordability limit of 7% of income leaves a lot of room where people clearly could afford it, but it would be a large part of their budget. If it was 25%, they could still afford it (housing and food wouldn't generally be 75% of an Intel employee's income). It's not really about complete inability of the employee to afford childcare, but of the relative pain of buying it and the size of the dent it makes in the rest of the budget. It's not a binary issue, and treating it like one can lead to unwarranted assumptions of injustice.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Childcare doesn't work like that. Why does everyone keep using the term servant and acting like they are equal? That is certainly not the case.

          If I'm a childminder and I mind 5 children. Should I get $50 or $75 per hour? No. I get a proportion of that. The problem is the proportion is crap due to minimum wage being crap leaving it so no point working.

          That's literally how child minding works or no one would do it and no one could afford it.

  3. codejunky Silver badge

    Shock

    "There are more than a few strings attached"

    Government doesnt give for free.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shock

      "Government doesnt give for free."

      Really? The "Too big to fail" Wall Street firms that got hundreds of billions from the government due of the 2008 financial disaster would laugh in your face.

      These were the same people who created the crisis in the first place. They paid themselves ridiculous bonuses from that cash pile and were able to pay it back with interest in 2012 to get the government out of their hair. They also used that cash to lobby Congress to relax the finance controls put in place since the 1929 stock market crash to prevent such an occurrence.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Shock

        @AC

        "Wall Street firms that got hundreds of billions from the government due of the 2008 financial disaster would laugh in your face." ..."These were the same people who created the crisis in the first place."

        Not exactly. The gov (Bush) was pushing for more home owners. While the banks came up with a solution which should have been bullet proof based on the entire history they had to work with (housing not crashing all over the US at the same time) it was the government agency who signed it off as safe too! It was the sub-prime low grade investments that failed, the more secure ones were as expected more secure.

        "They paid themselves ridiculous bonuses from that cash pile and were able to pay it back with interest in 2012 to get the government out of their hair."

        If they paid themselves well and paid off the gov loans they probably earned their pay.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Shock

          > While the banks came up with a solution

          And there was the problem…

          It would have been far cheaper for the government to simply step in a pay the defaulting mortgages directly.

          > If they paid themselves well and paid off the gov loans they probably earned their pay.

          No work really required. Note the UK banks currently posting enhanced profits and executives bonus’es. Dig into the data and they enhanced performance is wholly down to Bank of England base rate increases…

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Shock

            @Roland6

            "And there was the problem…"

            You say that to the sliced up securities that the banks devised and government encouraged and government agencies approved as safe. How is it the banks fault?

            "It would have been far cheaper for the government to simply step in a pay the defaulting mortgages directly."

            That would be up to the gov to decide. I can understand the reluctance as people who manage their debts could be upset their tax money is giving a house to those who cant handle their debts (but they were sub-prime and wouldnt normally be able to get the mortgage).

            "No work really required. Note the UK banks currently posting enhanced profits and executives bonus’es. Dig into the data and they enhanced performance is wholly down to Bank of England base rate increases…"

            And yet there was a difference in recovery from UK banks where the gov stepped in compared to the better recovery of banks that avoided government meddling.

    2. Sandstone
      Devil

      Re: Shock

      The devil is in the details

  4. Pete 2 Silver badge

    How young?

    > childcare for their workers

    I know that IT has a problem with older staff, but isn't that a bit extreme?

    1. WolfFan

      Re: How young?

      E*Trade has been hiring infants for quite some time now. It’s only to be expected that others would follow suit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How young?

        Heck, Twitter is even run by one..

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: How young?

      Did you write that or your chaperone?

  5. MrBanana

    Just a comment on the accompanying picture

    Child, put those crude side cutters down, and step away from the circuit board. Go find a BigClive approved pair of proper shnips.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Just a comment on the accompanying picture

      As semiconductor features get smaller then child labour is an obvious solution - we can't get to 3nm without those tiny fingers

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