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The Really Critical Infrastructure Need: American-Made Semiconductors

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A semiconductor manufacturing plant in the U.S.

Americas share of global chip manufacturing capacity has receded.

Credit: Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg News

The push for two big infrastructure bills—one bipartisan, the other a much bigger one pushed by Democrats alone—is getting all the attention in Washington right now, and for good reason. Trillions of dollars hang in the balance, as does much of President Biden's agenda and the question of whether Washington can do anything big in a bipartisan fashion any more.

But most people are ignoring a third infrastructure initiative that, while smaller, is freighted with just as much long-term economic and strategic importance. It's a relatively modest initiative to supercharge America's at-home production of the semiconductors that now are vital in everyday life. That measure is sitting on a shelf in Washington, awaiting action, while the U.S.'s computer-chip vulnerability grows.

America today is dangerously reliant on foreign producers of semiconductors, crucial components of everything from phones to laptops to cars to smart appliances to much of the equipment in your local hospital. The U.S. share of global semiconductor manufacturing capacity has dropped to 12% today from 37% in 1990, according to a study by the Boston Consulting Group.

From The Wall Street Journal
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