A well-earned 'cushy' life in Europe

Regarding the July 25 Opinion "Europe's labor strikes: Last gasp before reform": Why does Margalit Edelman feel compelled to scold European workers for their generous social benefits? They are derided as "spoiled" by their "cushy" vacations, pensions, and guaranteed healthcare. But if the purpose of economic growth is a better life for everyone, shouldn't we applaud their success? America is richer than Europe, so why can't we afford these benefits for our own hard-working people?

Ms. Edelman speaks vaguely of a European "crisis." Europe has budget problems, as most countries do, but where is the crisis? Their economies are productive, growing, and fundamentally sound. Certainly Americans are in no position to lecture them, considering our own economy with its gigantic deficits, state budget crises, and anemic job market.
Dan Everett
Athens, Ga.

End of the 'golden door' age

Regarding your July 30 article "Foreign visits to US drop sharply": There is no right to visit a foreign country. The new restrictions placed on foreign visitors to the United States are perfectly just (although probably not strict enough).

It may seem incongruous that, as a nation of immigrants, America now makes entry more difficult. But immigrants were always "granted" entry at the will of the American government. They never had a right. Yesterday America was the "golden door"; today it is in the cross hairs. I applaud our government's newfound sense of responsibility.
William W. O'Donnell III
Memphis, Tenn.

A case for legalizing migrant labor

Regarding Jonette Christian's letter in response to the article "Changing landscape of an underground trade" (July 17): I have lived here in California since 1981. If you haven't spent time here, you may be unaware of the vastness of agriculture. The Central Valley (San Joaquin) feeds much of the country, and the coastal operations raise cattle and produce strawberries, every salad crop known to man, and, of course, wine. It takes thousands and thousands of workers to make this happen. Many of them are migrants.

Legalizing migrant labor (as seems to be imminent) not only establishes a basic safeguard for their health and welfare, it legitimizes their contributions to our country and helps to reinforce ties with our neighbors to the south. Lots of migrants send money home every month to help families with fewer means of support.

Immigration for work will not end; it ought to be enhanced, for everyone's benefit.
Jamie Ford
San Luis Obispo, Calif.

The abortion test

Regarding your July 30 editorial "Pryor Notice": The Senate should stop using abortion as a strict litmus test for confirmation of judges as soon as Republicans stop using it as a litmus test for nominations.
Linda Lofton
Alexandria, Va.

Bob Hope's legacy of laughter

Regarding your July 29 article "A lifetime spent making the world a lighter place": Thank you for the beautiful article. When I was 10 years old, I saw Bob Hope at the Illinois State Fair. I remember everyone (myself included) laughing nonstop. I have never forgotten that time - and how much my grandmother and mother respected him. My gram often spoke of how Hope was truly funny and a real gentleman, telling "family-style" jokes.

Although it is sad that he has passed on, he has left the world a legacy of happiness and gentle humor by way of films. Thank you, Mr. Hope, for the memories!
Julia Karr
Bloomington, Ind.

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