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Semiconductors: US Tries to Play Catch-Up

By Dick Weisinger

Shortages in semiconductors used for computers, electronic devices and cars is causing concern for the new Biden administration. A slowdown of chips in the supply chain could slow down growth in the manufacturing industry.

In 1990, the US produced 37 percent of all semiconductors, but that has dropped to just 12 percent today, and has made the US highly dependent on semiconductor chips produced outside of the US. Federal investment funding in semiconductor research has also has been flat for some time while other nations have invested significantly.

Sameera Fazili, deputy director of the National Economic Council, said that “this problem was decades in the making. We can solve it by making smart investments that are long term in nature, that reach families and workers in all of America.”

Last week Biden signed an executive order to perform a 100-day review and assessment of the semiconductor supply chain.

Biden said that semiconductor “chips are a wonder of innovation and design that powers so much of our country, enables so much of our modern lives to go on — not just our cars, but our smartphones, televisions, radios, medical diagnostic equipment, and so much more. We need to make sure these supply chains are secure and reliable.”

Biden is pushing for Congress to authorize $37 billion to be spent to improve supply chains, increase semiconductor research, and bolster domestic manufacturing.

Biden said that “it will mean investing in research and development, like we did in the ’60s, to ensure long-term competitiveness in our manufacturing base in the decades ahead.”

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