Letters to the Editor

Readers write about America's unemployed tech workers, US social programs, and the cause of Iraq's sectarianism.

American tech workers: qualified but not hired

Regarding your Oct. 22 editorial, "Abuse of skilled-worker visas": Thank you for this editorial. Someone is finally saying what the technology workers like myself have been saying for the past 10 years.

The problem is not that there are not enough qualified Americans to do the jobs, but that there are not enough companies willing to pay fair salaries to their workers.

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It is cheaper for them to hire programmers in India, and they will pay the lowest possible salary to the few American workers that they still need. It is no different than the situation with farmworkers, construction workers, or auto workers.

Companies will pay foreign workers less rather than hire an equally qualified American.

Please continue to cover news relating to this scam and any pending legislation.

Michael Callaghan
Portland, Ore.

Don't confuse US social programs

In response to the Oct. 29 article, "Thompson alone tackles entitlements": There is a point made in the article that I quite appreciate.

It is clearly pointed out that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are separately funded programs. I find that, either out of the need for speed, intentional obfuscation, or outright ignorance, these programs are lumped together, especially in reference to their "going broke."

So, as Barack Obama said in this article, Social Security is and will continue to be stable with a bit of tweaking. This is what I have read in dozens of sources over the years.

Medicaid is a social medical program for the financially less fortunate, which I assume is not meant to be self-sustaining. So that leaves Medicare as the apparent object of discussion in need of a solution.

Mark Dunn
Zacatecas, Mexico

Real cause of Iraq's sectarianism

In response to O'Brien Browne's Oct. 22 Opinion piece, "Cause of Iraq's chaos: Bad borders": Mr. Browne believes the reason for chaos in Iraq is an infallible historical formula: Postcolonial geography + multiple ethnic groups – authoritarianism = violent separatism.

This formula implies that deposing Saddam Hussein ignited sectarian violence. I believe rather that the dictatorship of insecurity, death, displacement, and poverty, engendered by the US occupation, ignited this violence.

Sunni-Shiite tensions and violence did not escalate until well after the 2003 invasion. For average Iraqis, sectarianism is a direct response to the development of the dictatorship of insecurity. It is a basic survival strategy. Once outside the war zone, this strategy no longer makes sense. There are countless stories of cooperation among refugees of all three groups.

Maybe Iraq could have been an exception to Mr. Browne's formula – it once was a socialist, secular state with an industrial base and highly developed education system.

It is a little too late to say that outsiders should not be involved, and a little naive to suggest this, considering the heavystrategic and economic importance of the region.

Justin Feldman
Bar Harbor, Maine

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