Washington will pick up the check

Semiconductor firms are about to get showered with cash thanks to a new bill, The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022—CHIPS standing for, cleverly, The CREATING HELPFUL INCENTIVES TO PRODUCE SEMICONDUCTORS Act. Because it involved free money for capitalists, 17 Republicans (out of 50) voted for it despite their habit of voting against almost anything supported by Democrats except money for the Pentagon. Biden is scheduled to sign it on Tuesday, August 9. It’s a $280 billion package designed to encourage semiconductor manufacturing and research in the US. Pundits and generals have… Read More

Pearlstine, Dow Jones, and me (from 1990): why I’m sick, twisted scum

[News that Norman Pearlstine, the former managing editor of the Wall Street Journal who once denounced me as sick, twisted scum, has just been appointed editor of the Los Angeles Times reminded me of this pair of articles I wrote for Left Business Observer in 1990. They were part of a series of profiles of major media enterprises that was co-published by LBO and FAIR’s Extra! Comments inserted by the 2018 me are in brackets, like these. A note on dollar amounts in these pieces: prices today are about double what they were in 1989–1990. And a note on… Read More

Rot: the private sector angle

In a post yesterday, I showed how public investment, net of depreciation, in the U.S. is barely above 0, meaning that fresh expenditures on long-lived assets like schools and roads are running just slightly ahead of the decay of existing infrastructure. You might think, given neoliberal orthodoxy, that the private sector is taking up the slack. It isn’t. The graph below shows net private nonresidential fixed investment as a percent of GDP. Net means less depreciation (the declining monetary value of existing assets over time, as they wear out and grow obsolete);… Read More