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Mike,

First, if anyone is not interested in this issue or my comments, please hit
the delete key now. I am responding to others who feel that this issue is
important to the business of engineering on an international level. The
bandwidth taken by sending this message is negligible - so with due respect
to others, please trash this post if you do not wish to be bothered with it.

For those interested:

I would like to dispel some statements made by others in this thread:

1. I am not trying to convince anyone to change their opinions, however, I
do hope that they will take the time to understand how this affects the
future of those who are providing services - the only industry really left
in the US. I would like to express these idea's without intending to offend
anyone. If you believe I am being offensive, I ask that you write me
privately rather than accuse me publicly. I would hope that I can respond in
such as way that will explain my opinions further without taking up the list
time.

2. No matter how may ways I say the same thing, it always seems to be
interpreted as repressive and bigoted. I have made no attack against any
person, nationality, religion or race. I pride myself in my desire to be
more than a hate monger. We should be able to have a difference of opinion
on matters without the need to attack anyone.
I think that many outside this country think that Americans have a surplus
of money and assets. Many believe that we have excess earnings each week
that we can invest and place into savings. This is far from the truth. The
majority of workers in the country live paycheck to paycheck. I may or may
not be an example of the average American, but I don't think that this
matters. I do live better than most but am more concerned about the future
of my children and grand children.
A lost wage, layoff or just a reduction in salary will seriously affect a
family who has debt based upon their earning potential at the time they
qualified for the loans. What many may not understand is that the debt and
responsibility to pay back what you owe does not simply vanish when the job
is lost or the wage cut.

3. Maria accused me of being biased. She is correct - I am biased - not
bigoted. I am biased as an Individual who wishes to protect my family from
unemployment and welfare just because the company they worked for chooses to
go overseas where the labor is cheap.
As someone pointed out, this is the fault of business. However, this is not
entirely true. These corporations are controlled by those of us who have the
capitol to invest as stock holders. The drive to maintain profit insures a
company can have the working capital it needs to stay in business, but the
majority of profit is not invested in the welfare of the worker or back into
the growth of the business. The profits are extraordinarily high and the
stockholders expect these profits year after year. This is capitalism to
it's finest, but not everyone is happy with it. The investors have reason to
be, since the profits distributed to them.
 The philosophy is based upon greed, which is driven by those who do not
work for the company but invest in them. Is this fair? Legal but not really
fair to the protection of the individual.

5. Mr. Tan stated that US firms move overseas to offer work for other
countries and hire foreign labor. This is not entirely representative of the
shift in labor that my opinions reflect. If Fluor Daniels decided to do work
in the middle east and hires locals to do the work I would have no argument.
Any American company that goes overseas while maintaining their business in
the US benefits both local and foreign countries. This is a good thing.
However, I refer to companies that either leave the United States or
contract out the labor because the rates are lower - thus taking the jobs
away from the workers in the same American towns that these companies
promised to protect when they moved in. At some point the towns degrade and
the company's leave to find more presentable sites.

6. Mr. Chang stated "The advantages of India are (1) very very low wages,
(2) English speaking, (3) good universities that keep on producing highly
educated engineers." He also states "It is coming like it or not!!!"
I have no problem with #2 and #3. The problem is that when local workers
lose their jobs they can not benefit from the income gains in other
countries who will purchase American goods. Think about this for a moment.
No new industry is created, labor is still in other countries and those who
become unemployed or return to work at 50% of their previous wage will not
be able to afford the products. I remember when I used to purchase a new car
every three or four years. I purchased my last car in 1984 and just this
year bought a new car which I expect to last at least 14 years.

Let me ask those of you from other countries who gained from the work lost
by Americans: A) What do you hope to gain by the income? B) Assuming it is
the ability increase your standard of living by purchasing a home, health
insurance for your family, a college education for your children, clothing
and food - How would you feel if the companies who came into your country
and hired the majority of your workers, decided on short notice to leave
your country and seek cheaper labor elsewhere. Assuming that you now have a
society based upon high unemployment, what will you turn to compensate for
the loss. How will you pay your bills, your mortgage, your child's education
and the doctor bills? Now assume that a similar company comes into town and
offers you the same work at 1/4 the pay. If you are relieved that you have
the work, how will you meet your debt? Americans enjoyed a single income
family until the 1970's. The majority of Americans have two income families
and may individuals hold down two jobs to make ends meet. Consider the
inflationary dollar over the years and Americans no longer enjoy the luxury
that grew to be synonymous with "the land of opportunity".
This is a rhetorical questions, you need not answer, just think about it as
a real possibility and maybe you won't make the same mistakes we did in this
country. You need to protect the backbone of your society - the worker.
Don't be lead falsely by promises that can not or will not be kept.

4. Bill Allens comments, which I paraphrase and interpret to say, - " shut
up and stop bitching - accept it or leave" is not acceptable. This list is
international - I'm sorry that not all of our belief's are the same. I am
not here to convince anyone, only to let you know why I feel that unfair
competition will place many of us in jeopardy.
I also don't believe that we have not done our share to help others who need
the help of the United States. Our government is a leader in helping other
countries financially and has been since the second world war. This money
comes from our high taxation - in most cases over 40% of our income if we
are not lucky enough to own a home where the interest rate is deductible.
What you ask is that we continue to pay high taxes and donate a percentage
of our income (in addition)simply to help another society compete against
us.
Look, if you want to compete, then do so fairly. compete on capability,
quality and delivery time.

It's not fair to play poker with the American people and lay down enough
bets until someone has to fold. In this case, it's the American lifestyle
that folds because we can't give up enough of our income to cover the pot.

4. Maria commented that we deal well with foreign products and this is
absolutely true. I bought four Japanese cars because of quality. In a
manner, I supported the Japanese economy by purchasing their products which
I believe were superior. Japan was competing fairly with product and
quality.  However, this year I purchased the first American car since my
last purchase of a Mitsubishi in 1984. Why? Because the quality improved and
I expect the same rate of return on my investment as I did with a Japanese
vehicle.

As Mr. Allen also stated, we can chose another field to work in. Now let me
ask where this labor inticement will end? We have gone from an industrial
country to one whose main industry is service. Taking engineering labor
(engineers, drafting, etc) and moving them anywhere to follow the lowest
labor trends attacks the service industry. No worker local or abroad will be
guaranteed a secure income. By the time the cycle returns to America (like
the rejentrification of cities) we will be the lowest labor market, but the
physical state of our country will suffer as Americans will not be able to
maintain nor improve those things that we rely upon - quality of education
in the pre-college level, maintenance of roads, sewers, buildings and much
much more. Reduced income translates to reduced taxes, reduced income for
maintenance, reduced municipal positions such as fire department, police
department etc.

Therefore, before you accuse me of being a "hate-monger" consider what will
happen in your country when the time comes that your labor rates are no
longer competitive on a world scale. There will always be lower rates.

Will lobbying or politics help - not in our country. I don't believe in
Government intervention in business but this did not stop the government
from endorsing and signing the GATT and NAFTA agreements. Before Bill Allen
considers this a political discussion it is not. It's still about structural
engineering and trying to keep those that will abuse a system from taking
work away from those who need it as much as those in other countries.

Therefore, if you wish to compete, consider your standard of living equal to
ours and compete. Bring your workers here and try to compete fairly on
wages. Whatever you can charge to meet your obligations in the United States
and still save money to send home is fair.  Your gains may not be that much
but you will be competing with your abilities.

 I hope that those of you who have entered this thread will believe that I
have no inherent prejudice but wish to protect those who live in this
country and who have made it a melting pot for others from around the world.
We did this because the United States was a land of opportunity where
members of your family came to live and are now my friends and my neighbors.
If your relatives who live here are thrust into poverty, will you support
them? If the opportunities no longer exist in your country (and they won't
once a cheaper labor rate is found), what will you do to protect your selves
or your families.

Respectfully,
Dennis Wish PE