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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The U.S. Senate recently passed the CHIPS+ Act designed to encourage more U.S. companies to produce the semiconductors that power automobiles, computers, appliances, airplanes, and some of the military’s most advanced weapons. The $280 billion measure includes grants and tax breaks and directs Congress to increase spending on high-tech research programs. This legislation is intended to lower costs for working families, strengthen our supply chain, keep jobs in America, and ensure we can out-compete countries like China. Senator Grassley called the bill "unnecessary corporate welfare" and voted against it.
Apparently, the definition of corporate welfare depends on the industry. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, from 2000 to 2018, the 35 largest pharmaceutical companies reported a gross profit of $8.6 trillion, all coming from us, either through insurance premiums or out-of-pocket. Yet, over that period, Senator Grassley repeatedly refused to support legislation requiring that Medicare negotiate drug prices the way the VA does. Since the senator has accepted over $1 million from Big Pharma throughout his career, we can understand his reluctance to label its trillions in profits as “corporate welfare.” However, he willingly applies this label to the semiconductor industry whose products are at the center of our modern way of life, including the smartphone that enables his frequent tweets. Should we rely on China, our largest economic competitor, for one of our country’s core technologies while many of our fellow citizens can’t afford the expensive drugs they need? We real leadership, not more labels.