Brunswick Beacon, 08.11.22
America invented computer microchips in 1971. I spent my career working for computer and telecom companies like Burroughs, Ericsson, Wang and AT&T as microchips became essential to modern industry and national security. For years, America dominated the market. In 1990, we produced 40% of global supply.
By 2020, US production dropped to 12%. Asian production soared to 70%. China alone accounts for 33%! Then, COVID struck. It was a double-whammy. First, it shut down microchip manufacturing. Then, it boosted demand because people needed computers and cellphones to work remotely.
That led to consumer goods shortages and auto plant shutdowns. Want a new car? You’ll pay more because manufacturers can’t get microchips. GM has 95,000 unfinished vehicles waiting for them. When demand outstrips supply, we get inflation.
President Biden is right when he says outsourcing microchip production to China is a national security threat: “Any part we're putting in a weapons system, or a helicopter… [we must be] assured that no one has been able to tamper with that. That it's made in America, built in America, stockpiled in America.”
That’s why Biden urged Congress to pass the CHIPS Act. It will boost American microchip production, reduce dependence on China, and lower inflation.
China pressured American businesses to oppose it, threatening them with loss of Chinese markets. It didn’t work. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce agreed with Biden that the CHIPS Act will “strengthen our economy and our national security.” The Business Roundtable called it “key to America’s national security.”
The CHIPS Act was bipartisan, passing the Senate 64-33 and the House 243-187. Shockingly, Budd and Rouzer did China’s dirty work and voted “No!”
They proved themselves to be partisan extremists who complain about inflation to score cheap political points but do nothing to help. Worse still, they took China’s side against America’s economic and national security.
They don’t deserve your vote.
Michael P. Rush