Road to Recovery

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Rana Foroohar's analysis of America's sputtering economy is spot-on [What Recovery? June 20]. At the heart of our high unemployment rate lies the fact that corporations and their executives profit immensely from the migration of jobs to low-cost countries. In a perfect world, Congress would devise a creative solution to better align the interests of these executives with those of the American workforce. Too bad pigs will fly before that happens.
Kevin Coakley, PALO ALTO, CALIF., U.S.

A strong middle class is the backbone of any country, and the U.S. desperately needs sensible economic policies that can rebuild the middle class and reduce its massive debt deficit. Failure to address these issues can only lead to strife as large corporations continue to amass wealth while individuals face an uphill struggle to make ends meet.
George Diliyannis, JOHANNESBURG

I loved it. Finally, the real truth about our economic decline appears in major media. Foroohar's economic myth busting explains it all — why multinationals don't hire in the U.S., why Keynesian stimulus no longer stimulates and how lopsided growth in the financial sector has hurt us. Yet she never actually arrives at the bottom-line cause and the professional economist's sacred cow: our naive acceptance of an unfettered free market.
James A. Cunningham, SARATOGA, CALIF., U.S.

At least part of the problem is the all-too-free trade. Outsourcing support services and translocating manufactuing services overseas are the main culprits undermining the U.S. economy and causing job loss and lower wages. One might also blame lack of patriotism and corporate greed. As long as no regulatory measures are introduced, there will hardly be any improvement.

It's bad enough that President Obama's $800 billion economic-recovery program is a total bust. But why add insult to injury by assuming that the private sector has no chance and that government is still the solution? Indeed, government has been the problem all along. Government, from Jimmy Carter to Bill Clinton, caused the housing bubble by intimidating lenders with legislation designed to make it too simple to buy a home.
Daniel B. Jeffs, APPLE VALLEY, CALIF., U.S.

Foroohar claims that the private sector cannot make things better and that entrepreneurs are not one of America's greatest strengths. This is think-tank talk. Our small entrepreneurial business in the struggling industrial market has doubled its staff in the last year and is looking for more. We have hired people who are more than 60 years old, plus a summer intern whom we are actually (gasp) paying.
Jeff Winkel, LENEXA, KANS., U.S.

The article mentions that getting American corporations to repatriate money so it can be taxed will not work because "crafty corporate lawyers" will find ways around any new tax rules. Tax avoidance by the superrich is a particularly unpalatable form of greed. Although legal obligations to pay tax may be circumvented, the moral obligation cannot be. Any changes in tax rules must be supplemented by societal change.

Here are two ideas to spur recovery: Let corporations that keep profits abroad to avoid paying taxes repatriate the money at a special 5% or 10% tax rate as long as they create a certain number of jobs. Companies that take advantage of such a tax break but fail to create enough jobs would retroactively owe the full tax. Homeowners who are underwater should be allowed a deduction on tax returns for losses suffered. This would increase mobility by allowing people to move where the jobs are and clear the housing market by making homes more affordable at real market prices.
Ray Damani, SPARTANBURG, S.C., U.S.

Who's Afraid?
Re "Europe's Scared of the Spring," June 20: Since the North African population is so young and full of hope for the future, they could use their boundless energy to stay in North Africa and help their fathers build more democratic societies at home. They have a great chance, now that their dictators are falling one by one. Besides, there is no shortage of unemployed people in Europe.
Daniela Deneyer, BRUSSELS

Europe is not "scared" of the Arab Spring. It is simply concerned that cautious realism is being drowned by foolish hype — as in calling "spring" something that started in December. Europeans would enthusiastically welcome a true spring of democracy in the Arab world, but they are concerned that the uprising might just as well lead to a winter of Islamism.

Europe does not like migrants who obviously do not want to integrate into the host societies but want to introduce Islamic law and habits into those countries.
Hermann Oppermann, KARBEN, GERMANY

I agree that some of our citizens coming from North Africa have to face racism, but we do welcome Muslims in Europe — around 10% of our inhabitants are Muslim. It is thanks to the laïcité [secularism] concept that we have put an end to centuries of religious civil wars. Trying to impose religious rules or challenge the law from 1905 would be considered a step back to the Middle Ages.
Frédéric Houri, PARIS

I believe Carla Power misses the real point. Europe doesn't want to be flooded with Muslims because Europeans associate Muslims with terrorism. France and Germany opposed Turkey's admission to the European community at least partly because of this underlying fear.
Joseph Feld, LONDON

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