OUR VIEW: CHIPS could do marvels

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Editorial board

All of the gadgets that are critical to our lifestyles depend on semiconductor chips. Laptops, cellphones, TVs, appliances, bank systems, security, the medical field and more — all rely on miniscule chips.

The Biden administration is determined to change that, and the recently signed bi-partisan CHIPS and Science Act will play a key role. (CHIPS stands for “creating helpful incentives to produce semiconductors.”) It took two years to reach an agreement on the bill.

Among other things, the bill contains $52 billion to subsidize American semiconductor manufacturers.

China is the largest producer of semiconductors, accounting for 24% of the world’s semiconductor production, followed by Taiwan at 21% and South Korea at 19%. The U.S. produces about 12% of the world’s semiconductors. That percentage was 37% as recently as 1990.

The U.S. military alone requires about 2 billion chips a year for weapons, communications and more. The idea of a significant percentage of those chips coming from China could be troubling, especially given the present relations between the countries.

More manufacturing means more jobs, both in research and design of chips and in manufacturing them. Those jobs are probably a couple of years away at least, but the act will economically impact some Americans. It can be a career growth field as well. One of the issues with semiconductor creation and production is the number of workers who come from overseas to fill jobs in America. Hopes are this bill will help encourage more young adults to consider the field.

A number of manufacturing facilities will be built, and with Rivian production in Central Illinois, the state is a prime landing spot.

“We have a lot of manufacturing,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. “We’re in the heart of what used to be called the rust belt, now the innovation belt, and our manufacturers use semiconductors in virtually everything that they do, and it’s been very hard to obtain those chips when they needed it.”

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Region: Decatur,News,City: Decatur,Region: Central

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August 11, 2022 at 01:43PM

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