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Tech Industry Applauds; GOP Claims Politics Behind Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. ( — Hoping to stem rising technology prices caused by a shortage of high-tech workers this winter, President Clinton today approved the release of 2 million programmers from the nation's Strategic Programmer Reserve, which has been stockpiled by the government in case of emergency.

Despite the tech industry's perennial outcry for more skilled workers, Republicans quickly assailed the release as an "election-year ploy." The 25-million strong Strategic Programmer Reserve (SPR) was intended to safeguard against emergency disruptions in the programmer supply, not to hold down costs or ease a temporary crunch, noted presidential contender George W. Bush.

However, White House spokesperson Pam Pepperidge countered that more workers are needed now, particularly for the upcoming winter, when programming needs are expected to be high. In addition, she said, some of the programmers in the stockpile have been sitting there since 1974, and are starting to smell.

Ministers from the Organization of Programmer Exporting Countries, (OPEC), meanwhile, called the release a slap in the face, and insisted that awarding more visas to foreign tech workers was the best way to solve the problem.

"America is the world's leading consumer of programmers, and by releasing its reserves, it risks making matters worse," said Chirpaty Gotshwani, the OPEC minister from India. "We in OPEC are pumping out fresh, highly refined programmers. In comparison, what the SPR offers is nothing but crude."

Clinton conceded OPEC's point, noting that 60 percent of the reserves released will go to refineries before hitting the market. That prospect, however, does not appear to bother those earmarked for release.

"I've been stuck on this damn stockpile since 1978, and I'll do anything to get out," said Rory Temple, who was placed into the reserve after taking several computer classes at Indiana State University. "Boy, I hope I get Intel," he added.


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