Chips Act Requirements “Set a Fraught Precedent for Attaching Policy Strings to Federal Funding”

(p. A1) WASHINGTON — Semiconductor manufacturers seeking a slice of nearly $40 billion in new federal subsidies will need to ensure affordable child care for their workers, limit stock buybacks and share certain excess profits with the government, the Biden administration will announce on Tuesday [Feb. 28, 2023].

The new requirements represent an aggressive attempt by the federal government to bend the behavior of corporate America to accomplish its economic and national security objectives. As the Biden administration makes the nation’s first big foray into industrial policy in decades, officials are also using the opportunity to advance policies championed by liberals that seek to empower workers.

While the moves would advance some of the left-behind portions of the president’s agenda, they could also set a fraught precedent for attaching policy strings to federal funding.

. . .

(p. A16) The requirements will join a growing list of administration efforts to expand the reach of President Biden’s economic policies beyond their primary intent. For instance, administration officials have attached stringent labor standards and “Buy American” provisions to money from a bipartisan infrastructure law.

. . .

Some Republican and Democratic lawmakers have also questioned the wisdom of giving any taxpayer money to the chip industry, which is generally profitable.

For the full story, see:

Jim Tankersley and Ana Swanson. “Funds to Bolster U.S. Chip-Making Come With Catch.” The New York Times (Tuesday, February 28, 2023): A1 & A19.

(Note: ellipses, and bracketed date, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Feb. 27, 2023, and has the title “Biden’s Semiconductor Plan Flexes the Power of the Federal Government.”)

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