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America's COMPETE Act of 2022 is a sprawling mess of spending and nonsense. House Democrats are backing a 2,912-page bill that is rumored to try to solve supply chain problems and keep U.S. manufacturing and technology competitive. But like everything that Democrats are doing these days, the bill can't address just one major problem or a few critical needs. Instead, it seeks to insert government into every aspect of every possible industry and market, pretending that bureaucrats can solve complex social and cultural problems.
For example, this bill addresses everything from "addressing sexual harassment in academia" to calling for more academic scholarships for people with caregiving responsibilities; Retain and promote women and minorities in scientific and technical careers; undermine censorship in China; and support collective bargaining and union organizing efforts.
Its goal is to explore Chinese fentanyl production, e-commerce platform liability, misinformation in foreign media, the global wildlife trade, legal conventions in Pacific Island nations, ways to save the mammals in the Arctic, research and the origins of corals to combat the COVID-19 virus. .
Prohibits the sale of shark fins, driftnet fishing in the US Exclusive Economic Zone, and the transportation of certain wildlife across state lines.
It offers money to establish a fund for Chinese language studies, climate protection initiatives, solar energy, spreading US propaganda abroad, and promoting the consumption of certain types of seafood.
What do some of these issues have to do with supply chain issues, boosting American manufacturing, or ensuring our global technological competitiveness? Your guest is as good as mine.
The executive summary of the bill, called the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing Preeminence in Technology and Economic Strength (America COMPETES) Act of 2022, is 20 pages long and the sectional executive summary is 109 pages long. I haven't had time to review the full invoice yet, but these documents give us a good start in understanding what's inside this behemoth.
One worrying aspect is the new responsibilities of online marketplaces, something that could actually reduce the competitiveness of US technology companies. It would hold e-commerce platforms (Amazon, Etsy, eBay, etc.) liable for counterfeit products, unless those companies follow a cumbersome and extensive list of so-called "best practices." This new framework would "replace the established case-law liability framework," according to which a platform would only be liable for counterfeiting by third-party sellers if it "has specific knowledge of the infringement (generally through a notice from the owner of the brand). and does not take action", a Summary of the billing notes.
America COMPETES would invest money in funding state science offices, science education programs, a national bioengineering research and development initiative, and more.
The first two items listed in the summary are $52 billion to "stimulate" semiconductor production and $45 billion to "ensure more [critical] goods are shipped right here in the United States." Instead of removing government-created impediments to free trade and low prices, lawmakers are once again threatening to make things worse by further increasing US debt and adopting more protectionist policies.