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I am obviously not as smart as alot of other list members,  because I don't think all of the issues involved in  out sourcing,  or visas or government health care can be summarized in neat one paragraph statements.

In my opinion outsourcing has only a very minor effect on engineering compensation.  At least in the areas where I work:  concrete repair, slab on ground construction, and post-tensioning, the compensation is low because this is work that "any idiot can do".  And lots of idiots do.  For low prices that I can't compete with.  I can't compete with companies whose staff is high school and college students, for example.  

And I appologize for what is probably an untimely comment, but it is something I have been thinking about for a while.  There was a post a while back that asked why,  when there was an earthquake in India or China,  only the number of dead were reported,  while in the US much was made of the fact people were unable to get clean clothes.  

I thought that was a pretty good question,  but there were no answers.  Where are all the Indian and Chinese earthquake experts?  I've not been to India or China,  so I will take a wild guess and say perhaps at least part of the problem is the vast numbers of Indian and Chinese engineers that have come to the US to go to school and never gone home.   They have their asses parked in jobs they describe as "well-deserved and satisfying."   Meanwhile, the problems in their countries are blamed on Bill Gates and Jack Daniels.  

Immigration to the US is essentially available to anyone whose parents can afford college tuition and a plane ticket.  Just look at graduates of the engineering schools at places like the University of Kansas and University of Nebraska.

Gail Kelley