BlackEconomics.org recently released a commentary: “Concerns about CHIPS” about the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 (“CHIPS” is an acronym for Creating Helpful
Incentives to Produce Semiconductors) signed by President Biden August 2, 2022. The full commentary is below.
On August 2, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022
(“CHIPS” is an acronym for Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors). The
over 1,000-page legislation is far reaching— touching most known cutting-edge aspects of
science and technology today. The nearly $50 billion CHIPS price tag pays for numerous
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) opportunities for Black
Americans whether one is an entrepreneur, an academician, a college or university student,
or a pre-K-12 student. However, perfect legislation is seldom—if ever—enacted.
The following are four clear concerns that we identify with the legislation:
By explicitly choosing industrial
(economic) winners and losers, the
legislation reflects US weakness and
• By incorporating a little more than a
handful of references to “robotics,” the
legislation does not highlight sufficiently,
perhaps, the most important future
• While the legislation is filled with
mentions (there are over 110) of
opportunities for Black colleges and
universities (otherwise known as
HBCUs), these opportunities are largely
nested in non-innovation-driven research,
teaching, and scholarships, which are not
entrepreneurial in nature. Further
investigation revealed that HBCUs will
likely benefit most from the legislation at
the lower end of the STEM chain; e.g.,
offering training, scholarships, and
developing (research) capacity.3 On the
other hand, many White research
universities will likely benefit from the
legislation by producing innovations that
may prove to be financially profitable.
This scenario leaves HBCUs behind
White colleges and universities in being
able to obtain maximum benefits from
• The legislation includes less than 30
references to pre-K-12 educational
opportunities—most of which are
associated with rural schools. By not
emphasizing this fundamental part of the
US educational system, the legislation
does not address adequately, perhaps, the
need to “infect” youth with the STEM
“bug” early so that they envision and
adopt a STEM career choice.
A point that we can certainly make about the CHIPS legislation is that it sends a clear and strong signal concerning where the nation is headed in the near-term and until there are
new technological breakthroughs that open new avenues for growth and development.
However, if past is prologue and future, then by the time Black Americans position
ourselves to take full advantage of STEM-related economic opportunities, we are likely
to find that the winds of change have blown again, and that the US economy is headed in
an entirely different direction.
Black Americans must find a way to discontinue playing roles as follower and catch-up economic agents. Rather, we must develop a futuristic vision and leapfrog to a future where we serve as leaders and innovators who unearth and drive change.
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