No Jobs for Barbarians

I am a graduated manufacturing mechanical engineer of the University of Minnesota, 1981. As you say, Americans have been pushed out of the American engineering economy and the American labor economy by corporate leaders, business leaders, and union labor leaders (“Are American Engineers in Short Supply?” “City Lights,” March 10).

I worked with foreign students when I was in the university, and as we were only paid minimum wage as part-time and full-time students, we were equal in the sense of employment. When I graduated in 1981 and entered the real world, as you say, the American engineers coming out of the universities were looked at as worthless sandbags by corporate and labor America — as inexperienced and to be pushed under foreign people that are from a culture that looks at Americans as low-class barbarians to be held at the lowest position until dead.

I have not met one American company in my life that felt that American engineers are worth anything, and the government has made it impossible for us to move up, as the foreigners have been put ahead of us since the early ’80s. They have had children here and are now building a foreign country within this country for them and leaving us out. I worked day labor in order to eat, living in the streets, working with people that could not even speak English and were too dangerous to work with.

These same people are being kept separated by the enemy within in the U.S., and after 29 years of being held down by this enemy, I believe it is the U.S. government and labor that hate the United States people and are building up their own pensions and keeping us out of the U.S. economy. If you want to know why there are no American engineers around, this is why. We are washing dishes and working with people that we can’t even talk to in order to eat and have a roof over our heads.

Corporate and labor America have created more hate than the Communists, fascists, and Nazis of the ’30s and ’40s. These same people are running what you see in America now. They have destroyed the United States and my life to the point that we will never have a life, a normal social relationship, or any form of social accomplishment in our lives. All you will ever see is made in anywhere but America because we are emotionally dead American engineers trying to stay alive in a country that hated us all our lives.

  • John G. Wotzka
  • via email

Free Market Distortion

Don Bauder’s article about the H1-B visa program and its effect on American software engineering (“Are American Engineers in Short Supply?” “City Lights,” March 10) was a timely and informative one. I’ve been working in software engineering since graduating with a computer science degree in the early ’90s, and I’ve observed firsthand the effects of the H1-B visa program. It should be noted that while there may have been times in which software engineers have been in short supply in the U.S., the free market would have quickly remedied the situation had it been allowed to operate properly. As basic economics teaches us, a supply shortage in an inelastic good or service results in rising prices. Had software engineering salaries been allowed to rise as the market demanded, many more Americans would have gotten degrees in engineering or computer science and entered the labor market. This increased supply would have brought salaries down to a more sustainable level until an eventual equilibrium could be reached. Instead, the H1-B program was exploited to distort this market by flooding the market with low-cost captive labor from other countries. Studies showing that H1-B workers earn the same as their American counterparts miss the point entirely, as the market has already been distorted by their presence. Few American engineers can demand a salary higher than the lowest-paid H1-B worker who can do the same job. An additional factor not mentioned in Don Bauder’s article is the tremendous impact of outsourcing on American engineering. Demand for H1-B visas may well decline in the following years because so much work has been moved overseas.

Fifteen years ago, only basic tasks like technical support were performed off-site, but in 2011 some of the most advanced chip design, hardware and software engineering is being performed outside of this country. Many H1-B workers have carried their U.S. experience back home and are using it to help make their countries engineering powerhouses. Having worked for 20 years in this field, I’ve witnessed the tremendous changes the H1-B visa and outsourcing programs have brought to American engineering. On one hand I am thankful that I have been able to work with with so many fine H1-B-sponsored engineers, many of whom I consider dear friends. On the other hand, I am saddened at the thought of my country losing its high-tech engineering capability, outsourcing jobs and importing inexpensive labor while so many Americans are out of work and are struggling to make ends meet.

A final thought. It is interesting to note that Apple Computer, one of the world’s most admired and successful high-tech companies, applies for relatively few H1-B visas.

  • Henry Foster
  • via email

Bubble Dreams

Re “That Five-Hour Drive to Las Vegas…” (Cover Story, March 3).

When did the Reader get to the point that it deemed the facile dribble of a pseudosavant like Laurence Neal worthy of even printing, much less with a cover illustration attempting to suggest any similarity of any kind to Hunter Thompson?

Larry and his entourage of 90210 hopefuls best pray their bubble doesn’t pop before they make it to their dreams of life in La Jolla. They’d all wet their diapers.

The Reader has a history of some truly exceptional, authentic, and legitimate cover pieces — what were you thinking on this one?

  • Completely Incredulous
  • North Park

Lard Disgust

In response to “Best Buys” on page 20 (March 3), I’m disgusted that Café Coyote in Old Town uses lard in their flour tortillas. No wonder they don’t know how to make a vegan burrito.

  • Lorelei
  • via voice mail

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