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Socialist Joe Biden Forces Tech Companies To Provide Daycare Options To Get CHIPS Act $$
If you build a daycare, they will apply for jobs.
In a clever bit of regulation, the Biden administration announced this week that if chip manufacturing companies want in on the $39 billion in funding being made available to subsidize new factories through the CHIPS and Science Act, they'll need to provide a plan for making sure their employees have access to affordable, quality childcare — both for the construction workers who build the factories and for the folks who work in them. The Commerce Department will be publishing a new rule today to make that requirement official.
The idea is to create a domestic chip manufacturing industry that's not just good for the companies that make chips and need chips for manufacturing cars, appliances, and probably sex toys too, but also to make sure the tech workplace is friendly to women and working families. It's pretty nifty as industrial policy: You want to get some of the government funding, then you'll need to have policies consistent with Biden's goal of expanding the economy from the bottom up and the middle out, instead of just throwing taxpayer funds at billionaires and corporations, then hoping maybe they'll hire people.
As Axios explains, bullet points and all,
Companies who want to tap a slice of the $39 billion in funding set aside to build chip manufacturing plants will be required to submit a plan explaining how facility workers, as well as construction workers, will access child care, according to a presentation from the Commerce Department shared with Axios.
•The agency is agnostic on how companies get this done. They could build company-run onsite facilities, or outsource to a vendor. Companies could sponsor care directly or provide vouchers, discounts or cash.
•They'd need to understand what kind of care is actually available in the region, amid a nationwide shortage with a lot of regional variation.
As the New York Times explains, "Companies that receive the subsidies to build new plants will be able to use some of the government money to meet the new child care requirement," although the feds wouldn't mandate what kind of daycare solution companies choose. (Presumably, there'll be some requirement to prove that money allocated for childcare goes to it, not to an executive gym with a sign saying "changing tables" on the door.)
And while the rule would help advance a bit of Biden social policy that went poof when Joe Manchin had a tantrum and kicked all the stuffing out of Build Back Better, Commerce Department senior adviser Caitlin Legacki told Axios that the rule was primarily aimed at getting more workers into a post-pandemic labor market where many potential applicants aren't sure they can afford to go to work:
We're not doing this for the sake of putting points on the board for child care policy, but we are acknowledging that when you look at the labor market right now, one of the largest factors keeping people out of the labor market is caregiving responsibilities.
And as the Times points out, some of the companies that have announced plans to ramp up chip production have complained that it's becoming difficult to find workers. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo explained in a speech last week that providing benefits like childcare should be a no-brainer, in that case, since it's
“a simple question of math” for industries complaining of labor shortages. “We need chip manufacturers, construction companies and unions to work with us toward the national goal of hiring and training another million women in construction over the next decade to meet the demand not just in chips, but other industries and infrastructure projects as well."
Only about 3 in 10 U.S. manufacturing workers are women. Ms. Raimondo said the CHIPS Act would fail if the administration did not help companies change those numbers, by bringing in women who have children.
“You will not be successful unless you find a way to attract, train, put to work and retain women, and you won’t do that without child care,” Ms. Raimondo said in an interview.
This is far from the first set of strings being attached to the CHIPS Act funds, either. The subsidies already require that new facilities be built in the USA and prohibit chip makers who take the funds from doing stock buybacks — which has also been a condition of other Biden administration aid to businesses. Further, as the Times notes, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes labor standards and "Buy American" provisions, as Biden promised from the start. Biden's climate policy, too, seeks to use the spending power of the federal government to boost green manufacturing, as we saw in the decision to procure a mostly electric fleet of new postal delivery trucks — which will not only create jobs all he way along the EV parts supply chain, but will slash fuel costs over the life of the vehicle fleet.
Will there be complaints that Joe Biden is trying to sneak socialist family-destroying big government daycare into industrial policy? Maybe! The real challenge will be getting this past the Supreme Court, which may decide that the Founders actually wanted child labor to be a part of any computer chip manufacturing plan instead.
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