A bipartisan Senate majority endorses a costly, unnecessary industrial policy
The U.S. Senate has decided to go all-in on a new U.S. industrial policy, voting 68-32 to approve a $250 billion package that is supposed to help America stay ahead of China in the global technology race.
Included in the $250 billion — $52 billion in subsidies for already-very profitable computer chip manufacturers, and billions more for research and other items.
But what it really ended up being was a trough at which lobbyists could freely and easily feed on the taxpayer. As Reason’s Eric Boehm writes:
Having Congress set industrial policy is good news for businesses with power and influence over federal policymaking, and this proposal is no exception. The bill’s 1,500-plus pages—which were reportedly still being finalized even just a day before the package was supposed to go to the Senate floor for a vote—provide ample opportunity for waste and cronyism.
“The bill spends well over $100 billion on special interests and managing the U.S. economy in areas where the private sector has already proven itself effective,” writes Walter Lohman, director of the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
In other words, it’s just another day in DC, where the major parties set aside their differences to throw a bunch of money at industries and causes that don’t need it, but are eager to take it.