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The CHIPS Bill: Strange Mix

Commentary
Washington has rushed to save computer chipmaking in the United States and has found $280 billion for the project. Even by the standards of modern Washington, that is a sizable sum. And as is typical of federal practice, the new legislation is about a lot more than manufacturing semiconductors.
Chipmaking will get a little less than a fifth of the total outlay. The rest will go to a wide range of activities favored by Congress. However the money is spent, the American taxpayer will foot the bill.
The legislation’s official title is Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America Act—the CHIPS for America Act, for short (wonderful how good Washington is with acronyms). The legislation would do its spending over five years. Of the total, some $52 billion aims at increasing the production of these important tech products domestically, largely from grants, loan guarantees, and a 25 percent tax credit for domestic chip manufacturing operations. The balance of the spending will go to a raft of projects, almost all at least vaguely connected to technology and science and aimed at increasing Washington’s control over research and technological directions….

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