Washington Puts Its Chips on Chips
This is part of a bigger picture in which the U.S. has been reversing decades of "off-shoring" factory jobs to lower wage countries. Almost 350,000 jobs will be "reshored" this year -- on top of about 265,000 added in 2021. The chips act and the Inflation Reduction Act are fueling many of the moves with tax breaks and other economic incentives.
"Globalization is in retreat," economists at Barclays told their clients.
Supply chains have become an economic battlefield of the 21st century. In a jarring example, Europe faces an energy crisis for having become dependent on Russia for gas and oil.
Raimondo, a former venture capitalist, has been wonderfully aggressive on this front. When Taiwan's GlobalWafers abandoned a plan to spend $5 billion on a plant in Germany, she called the CEO and nabbed the factory for Texas. Here come 1,500 jobs.
Citing the chips bill, U.S. semiconductor companies say they plan billions in new investment, and their jobs pay very well.
President Joe Biden preened at the recent groundbreaking for a new $20 billion plant Intel is building near Columbus, Ohio. Beside him stood two good Ohio Republicans, Gov. Mike DeWine and Sen. Rob Portman.
The Chinese government has been pouring money into other hot tech fields, such as artificial intelligence and robotics. These are areas in which the United States used to have a safe lead.
"We need America to dominate in certain areas of technology," Raimondo said. "Critical minerals, electric vehicle batteries, semiconductors, artificial intelligence." This obviously goes beyond jobs. It's about national security.
Well, is America going to compete or not? Washington just put its chips on chips. That would seem a smart wager.
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