June 9th 2021
I'm from the Government and I'm here to help.
The Biden administration appears to have a plan to address supply chain bottlenecks in key industries - not the least of which is the semiconductor industry.
On Tuesday, the administration announced a "supply-chain disruptions task force" (thank God, we're saved), to identify bottlenecks. It'll be headed up by Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo with the help of "Mayor Pete" and will focus on areas like homebuilding and construction, in addition to semiconductors, Bloomberg reports.
Among the reasons to establish this task force are rising prices and extended delivery times, according to the report. As to the former, we can't help but wonder if Raimondo's first "task force" meeting should be held at the offices of the NY Fed.
The group will hold meetings with "stakeholders and supply-chain experts" and will announce its results in the near term. Jared Bernstein, a member of Biden's Council of Economic Advisers, commented: "There will be more information forthcoming on precise measures that this more near-term initiative will be taking in weeks not months."
The White House also released a 250 page report on Tuesday with "assessments and an expansive list of recommendations". The report reads: "For too long, the United States has taken certain features of global markets -- especially the fear that companies and capital will flee to wherever wages, taxes and regulations are lowest -- as inevitable."
Among items to be looked at are magnets:
"The investigation will specifically look at neodymium magnets that are crucial to creating a field for motors to run in perpetuity in everything from electric vehicles to missile guidance systems to wind turbines. China is the largest global producer of those magnets, which are made up of rare earths."
As well as semiconductors:
"On semiconductors, the Commerce Department will increase information flow between producers and suppliers of chips as well as their end-users. The White House also recommends Congress appropriates at least $50 billion in funding for semiconductor research and production in the U.S. -- a key pillar of a broader China competition bill that the Senate may approve on Tuesday."
Separately, earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel came out and said that the ongoing global chip shortages was making the economic recovery from the pandemic "more difficult". She said Germany would spend another 400 million Euros to address the problem.
"We aren't in pole position but need to catch up," Merkel commented on Monday, apparently unaware of what the term 'pole position' means.
Back in the U.S., to Gina Raimondo's credit, she came out and spoke some truth earlier this week when she said: "We know government alone cannot fix this problem. The private sector plays a central role in addressing this crisis."
Now, let's see if the Biden administration's actions run commensurate with Raimondo's analysis.