His Name Is Sam, Not Santa

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There’s a business league for computing manufacturers called the Semiconductor Industry Association, or SIA for short.

They have a website, and their membership list is here. AMD and IBM and Intel are all members.

Recently, they put out a press release which essentially says that if the U.S. government doesn’t start massive money into semiconductor research, the U.S. will lose its lead in this technology in about twenty years.


I thought these folks were libertarians who wanted government to keep their noses out of their businesses. That’s certainly the attitude they cop whenever government talks about dealing with the adverse consequences of their products on other industries.

After all, if government isn’t supposed to tell them anything about that, government certainly shouldn’t get involved with a core function of these enterprises like research and development.

Most of these companies are profitable. Very profitable. In at least some cases, profitable as in a billion plus dollars in profits every quarter.

So why are they looking for a government handout, a multibillion dollar welfare check?

After all, the U.S. government doesn’t make chips. They do. The U.S. government won’t lose any technoleadership. They would. The U.S. government won’t go out of business after any such loss. They will.

Sounds like a personal problem to me.

But that’s not even the most brazen part of it all. I quote:

“. . . other regions of the world are accelerating research efforts in nanotechnology and investing heavily in state-of-the-art semiconductor manufacturing facilities in an effort to challenge U.S. leadership. “As we speak, state-of-the-art, 300-millemeter fabs with 90-nanometer process technology are coming on line in other parts of the world.”

And just who is building most of these threatening state-of-the-art facilties in foreign lands; threatening U.S. leadership, threatening U.S. jobs? The members of this association!

Why do they do that? Well, as this position paper essentially says, “you American folks don’t bribe us as well as those damned foreigners.”

Talk about “Stop me before I kill again.” You really shouldn’t wrap yourself in the American flag, when, by your own words, you’re peeing on it every day.

Now I’m not at all against worldwide companies having worldwide facilities. I am against people saying one thing and doing the opposite, essentially denouncing themselves, and am astounded they think no one will notice.

Ho, ho, ho? No, No, No!

How can self-professed libertarians denounce government at every opportunity except when there’s a chance to feed at some corporate welfare trough?

The only way I can see it is that such people think that government does have a proper role in their businesses, a very specific one.

That of Santa Claus.

Santa doesn’t tax you. Santa doesn’t regulate you. Santa just gives and gives and expects nothing in return.

If you’re on the receiving end, Santa’s one cool dude. 🙂

There’s only two problems with Santa. First, he doesn’t exist, and second, only very small children believe in him.

Now if most eight-year-olds can figure out Santa can’t be, why can’t heads of multinational corporations?

The guy they’re dealing with is named Uncle Sam, not Uncle Santa. Or Uncle Sap.

For instance, what if Uncle Sam says, “OK, you want us to spend fifty billion dollars or more over the next fifteen years or so for you, you build all your fabs in the U.S. so the U.S. taxpayer can get all the benefits of the research he’s paying for.”

Or, God forbid, Sam says, “You know, it’s naughty to build equipment that lets your customers steal from other children. No research freebies for you until you build and put into place something that will stop that, for sure, and if it gets broken, you don’t get paid.

Or even just “We pay for it, we get the patents on it, then you pay us full-market value to use them.”

You know the porkers demanding the payoff would squeal and squeal and squeal! Why, that would be like Santa giving you a GameBoy and saying he’d take it back if you didn’t stay nice!

Well, gee, if you don’t want Sam telling you what to do, don’t ask Sam for fifty billion dollars and expect him to act like Santa. Or Sap.

Email Ed


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