Frustration Over a Stalled Bill

The early years of the industry did not have many customers. The new devices that allowed computers to function were expensive and few businesses were able to use them. The federal government is one organization that could do it.

The first shipment from the company that helped create Silicon Valley was for the computers inside the B-70 bomber. Other Cold War weapons systems and NASA equipment also needed semiconductors. Fred Kaplan wrote in Slate that it was government that created the large demand for semiconductors.

This is a common story in the history of technological progress. Businesses can't afford to spend a lot on scientific research. It's not possible for any company to know which research will be profitable. Research that seems likely to benefit one industry ends up benefiting another.

The federal government usually has the resources to make these investments. Private companies then use the fruits of their labor to develop innovative and profitable products, which in turn spurs economic growth and tax revenues that comfortably cover the cost of the original research.

The original internet was built by the Defense Department. The National Institutes of Health funded laboratory experiments and pharmaceutical companies created treatments based on them. There are stories in many industries.

American investment in research and development has been lagging.

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Bureau of Economic Analysis has credit.

The US spends less on research and development than other countries. The U.S. has abandoned its strategy of building a strong economy, but China is still ambitious in this area.

In The Wall Street Journal this week, Graham Allison, a Harvard professor, and Eric Schmidt, the former C.E.O. of Google, wrote about the technologies of the 21st century.

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Jonathan Gruber is from MIT.

The case study of the Semiconductor industry is a good example. The US companies that dominated initially were Texas Instruments and Fairchild. Thomas Friedman has explained that the U.S. Semiconductor industry has fallen behind. The US makes about 12 percent of the world's semiconductors, down from 37 percent in 1990.

Gina Raimondo, the commerce secretary, told me recently that America makes zero percent of the most sophisticated chips. That is a vulnerability. Taiwanese companies like TSMC manufacture many of the most sophisticated chips, which means that a disruption there could disrupt the global economy.

Raimondo said we need to make more chips in America.

The Senate passed a bill that would help make that happen. It would spend over $200 billion on research and development over the next five years. Keeping the U.S. from falling behind China is the main purpose.

The bill would increase federal research and development spending by more than 30 percent. President Biden supports it and it passed along bipartisan lines.

The House is unlikely to pass a version of it before it goes on a break. The Times reported that House Democrats have concerns about the Senate bill. Among them are whether it spends enough money on early-stage research and whether it gives too much money to private companies.

These are questions that should be raised. Many economists, governors and industry executives are disappointed that the House and Senate have not figured out how to resolve relatively minor differences and expand federal support of scientific research. Representative Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, said this week that it should have passed the House a while back. It has been too slow.

Semiconductor companies have been tearing their hair out over the delay. When it passed the Senate earlier this year, they felt a huge triumph and were dismayed by how long it took to get the money in their pockets.

Republicans have been more to blame for congressional problems in recent years. When Republicans were in control of Congress, they disagreed on major issues like health care, immigration and Covid.

The delays in passing the research bill are due to Democratic infighting. Even though the Senate passed a bill months ago, it still hasn't made it to Biden. America's global rivals are happy with the functioning of the country.

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A vaccine site in Utah.

There is only so much teachers can do if there is legislation to address gun violence.

Charles Blow writes that it is ok to be angry at the unvaccinated.

Tufekci says that nursing homes should be fortified against Omicron.

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There is a mammal in the Crystal River in Florida.

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A scene from a movie.

There are a lot of best-of lists in December. This is a guide to the guides.

The best songs for the music nerds were unveiled by the website. The Times has a wide range of picks for the best albums of the year. Tyler, the Creator, and Sour are both on the list of pop music critics.

The Book Review has 10 best fiction and nonfiction titles that deal with race in America and generation-spanning sagas. Are you looking for some art? The African-American South and climate change were the two main themes of the year. In New York's Madison Square Park, Maya Lin's "Ghost Forest" contrasted the park's greenery with a grove of dead, environmentally damaged Atlantic white cedars. Teenagers are making boats.

The fall theater season was as exciting as a child's first fireworks, Jesse Green writes, and the ritual of watching movies on a big screen made even the most mediocre movies glorious.

The TV was also great. Many of our critics picks covered class conflict and the flu. A personal favorite is "Reservation Dogs," a comedy about four teens desperate to escape their Oklahoma reservation. James Poniewozik writes that it is full of details that can only come from loving the thing you want to leave.

Sanam Yar is a Morning writer.

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Christopher Testani was a writer for The New York Times.

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The pangram from the Spelling Bee was a laboratory. You can either play online or here.