Ms Krueger's full response: The old IBM published retiree notebooks with names and addresses and pictures of all the IBM retirees in the area. They gave out annual updates that could be inserted in the notebooks. They issued invitations once a quarter to a quarter-century club function, such as a dinner or a bus trip to somewhere.
My dad's retirement address book looks like the last update was done in 1992 -- he retired in 1988. He doesn't remember exactly when the last quarter century club event was; it was quite some time ago.
He used to spend a couple of hours once a month volunteering in the retirement office in the Rochester plant. All the area retirees had badges that still worked in the doors to the plant. Now they are no longer welcome there.
The whole retiree support infrastructure is gone now, and retirees who want to stay in contact with one another have to try to keep track on their own. They aren't notified when new folks join their ranks.
I wonder why things changed... Do you think IBM doesn't want retirees actively talking to one another and sharing stories as their health care and other benefits vanish??? Or is IBM just too cheap to help them communicate with one another??? Either way, it is a sad sign of shifting values.
The changes aren't done. Check out the most recent annual report at: http://www.ibm.com/annualreport/2007/higher_value.shtml. Scroll down to Item 6.
This gives us confidence that we can achieve our long-term financial objectives. Key drivers:
Gosh, I wonder how many of those savings will come out of the pockets of current retirees? Or can IBM save enough by making further cuts to those who haven't left yet? Lots to ponder... Janet Krueger Rochester, MN.
It appears to me (the comedian) that it has become a company that cares most about executive compensation, and to the extent that things done to enhance executive compensation are beneficial to shareholders then so be it. The customers and employees are being marginalized.
A stock buy back, since it has a positive impact on earnings per share which in turn helps determine executive compensation certainly falls into that category. In the short run that could also good for share holders since it reduced P/E ratio and potentially helps support the share price. But there are other ways to spend the money that I would wager will provide better long term results even it the only thing you were concerned about was indeed was shareholder value.
R&D spending, anything among a myriad of ways that would improve customer satisfaction and help insure repeat business.... etc. etc. Of course those things are not likely to have significant pay value to executives in the short term so why bother.
Hey don't get me wrong. I'm not in charge and I know it I can vote with my two feet and walk thru the door and time I want to do so. But adjustments of this magnitude take time. Let me use an example shared with me: You get home early from work one day and find the spouse in the sack with someone else. Now this is a person that for many years you had believed to be a full "partner" -- loyal, dedicated, and exclusively devoted to their relationship with you.
They explain that ... gosh honey... I'm sorry but things have changed, it's better for them to have an "open" marriage. You are welcome to take it or leave it. Up until this moment.... you had not considered even the possibility of being forced to "take it or leave it". Now ... you can ... either take it or leave it, but I don't think that you would expect it to be an easy decision/transition.
That, my friend, is where many employees (let me qualify that ... "old school" employees) sit in their relationship with IBM -- stunned by the sudden changes for the worst in their relationship with a previously benevolent employer and career partner. Companies (and people) have the right to change their behavior anytime they like (so long as they don't break the law) but it is arrogant to think in either case that the impacted "innocent" parties will continue on without any disruption in their lives.
But ... I really don't worry about it, and you shouldn't either. It will all shake out eventually. The old-schoolers will quit, retire, or die. The new crop already understands how the new game is played -- they play by the same rules the executives -- "What's in it for me TODAY?". I'm VERY, VERY proud of the new-school IBMers - Internationally just check the turnover rates that will give you a good picture of loyalty and customer continuity issue.
Within the USA I've had the EXTREME pleasure of watching the "youngsters" in action. I've watched them demand a "1" appraisal and tell mgmt. flat out that if they did not get it they would quit. (She got the "1"). I saw another demand RSUs (that's what they call stock options for the grunts these days) or he was gone ... he got them.
I saw another guy upon being converted to hourly and then being denied any overtime hours turn in his resignation without any attempts at prior negotiation. IBM desperately needed him to finish a critical project they COUNTEROFFERED -- more than making up the 15% loss of base pay. He walked out anyway, said he didn't want to be associated with a company like IBM at any price.
So in short... don't worry it will all shake out ... and the last of my IBM stock has been sold. You feel free to put your money and your loyalty wherever you like. Indeed, IBM may be a good investment I do not mean to imply that it will not be one. Most other big companies are now run in a similar way, so it is a "level playing field" in that regard. As for myself I just have a rule against picking up again in a relationship with a girl I've already caught cheating on me. The "comedian" is signing off this thread. TK.
The tone was captured in a testy exchange between Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, and Mr. Mozilo. Mr. Cummings asked why the executive had urged Countrywide to pay taxes on his wife’s travel on the company’s private jet. “I have some constituents who are losing their houses; you are upset about your wife,” Mr. Cummings said.
Mr. Mozilo responded, “It sounds out of whack today because it is out of whack, but in 2006, the company was doing great.” Mr. Mozilo said he would not have made such a request today and apologized for complaining about his compensation in an internal e-mail message. “It was an emotional time,” he said. “I apologize for that memo.”
The questioning mainly fell along party lines, with Republicans apologizing for bringing distinguished corporate officials before the panel, and Democrats questioning everything from the income gap in America to the particular bonuses, stock sales and compensation the executives were awarded.
Another $988,479 came to Palmisano through various perks, including $406,235 worth of travel on IBM aircraft, $364,162 in dividend equivalents on his restricted stock and $152,460 in contributions to his retirement plan. (Editor's note: Mr. Palmisano apparently didn't get the e-mail outlining IBM's travel policy which requires booking the lowest-cost fare on its Online Travel Reservation system.) ...
Palmisano's total of $20.9 million was up from $18.8 million the prior year. The increase came as Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM posted a 10 percent gain in net profit, to $10.4 billion.
The IBM Supply Chain Innovation Center is available immediately and can be leveraged by any IBM client worldwide. Companies should contact their IBM representative if they are interested in the services provided by the Innovation Center.
Researchers working at the building invented the flying head disk drive, which improved a computer's ability to search its memory and helped make computers smaller.
A report prepared for the city's historic landmarks commission described Building 25 as one of the earliest architectural examples of the high-tech corporate campuses now scattered throughout Silicon Valley and beyond. Modern architect John Bolles collaborated with landscape architect Douglas Baylis as well as several prominent artists in designing the building and the IBM campus, said Brandt-Hawley, who specializes in environmental and preservation law. In 1956, construction started on the 190-acre Cottle Road Campus. Building 25 was the fourth to be built. A year after construction started, the modernistic single-story building became home to the San Jose Research and Development Laboratories, according to IBM's Web site.
That's good news for the residents of Steuben County, where Corning is the largest employer. Since 2005 they have watched their unemployment rate drop faster than that of neighboring counties, in part because of Corning's commitment to the area and its ability to sell around the world.
Americans are going to need quite a few more Cornings—global companies willing to invest in the U.S.—to ease the pain of the economic slowdown. The big multinationals are the go-to guys right now: They've got plenty of cash and soaring profits from overseas operations. They're highly productive and innovative, more so than domestic companies. And unlike consumers, banks, and smaller companies, the multinationals aren't constrained by the credit crunch. ...
But will the globe-spanning giants come to the rescue of the U.S. economy? Recent history is not encouraging. Figures collected by the Bureau of Economic Analysis suggest the multinational sector has in some ways been a drag on the U.S. economy since 2000. From 2000 to 2005, the last year for which full data are available, U.S. multinationals cut more than 2 million jobs at home, even as employment in the rest of the private sector grew—and there's no sign the trend has significantly reversed. The U.S. operations of foreign multinationals also shrank over the five-year stretch, dropping 500,000 jobs as foreign investors cut costs and sold off U.S. companies. Toyota, perhaps the most successful foreign company in the U.S., added all of 9,000 jobs in the states between 2000 and 2007. ...
Multinationals have been the wild card in the economic deck for a decade. Back in 1997, four years after the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the economists at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington put out their biennial projections of job growth over the next 10 years. With a touching note of optimism, they assumed that exports, adjusted for inflation, would double over the next decade—a boom that would have produced a sizable number of good-paying American jobs.
One notable exception to the friendly reception, however, came when Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) used his five allotted minutes to grill Gates on the merits of visa cap increases. "Will it not hurt those countries and will it also not depress wages for people in our own country?" the congressman asked. "No," the Microsoft chairman responded sharply. "These top people are going to be hired. It's just a question of where."
Rohrabacher said he's not talking about "top" students. He's concerned about the B and C American students who "fought for our country and kept it free." There's no excuse, he argued, for displacing those people with "A students from India."
An audibly irritated Gates replied that when companies like Microsoft hire top foreign engineers, they create jobs for B and C American students around them. If Microsoft weren't able to hire those top engineers in the United States, it'd be doing so in other countries and surrounding them with native B and C students, he said.
Rohrabacher argued that if companies like Microsoft simply raised wages, they'd find plenty of Americans lining up for those jobs. "No, it's not an issue of raising wages," Gates retorted. "These jobs are very, very high paying jobs." ...
Ron Hira, a public policy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology and author of the book Outsourcing America, told CNET News.com on Wednesday that it's wrong for Gates to imply that most H-1Bs are going to the brightest foreigners with advanced degrees and earning them big bucks. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the typical H-1B holder holds a bachelor's degree and is making a median salary of $50,000. And the same NSF report referenced by Gates says less than 1 percent of H-1B recipients in computer-related professions even hold doctoral degrees, and about 44 percent hold master's degrees.
Critics such as Grassley and Durbin charge that the outsourcers are abusing the U.S. program. The work visas, they say, are supposed to be used to bolster the U.S. economy. The idea is that companies like Microsoft, Google, or IBM can use them to hire software programmers or computer scientists with rare skills, fostering innovation and improving competitiveness. Instead, critics say, companies such as Infosys and Wipro are undermining the American economy by wiping out jobs. The companies bring low-cost workers to the U.S., train them in the offices of U.S. clients, and then rotate them back home after a year or two so they can provide tech support and other services from abroad. "Valuable high-tech jobs are on a one-way superhighway overseas," said Durbin in an e-mail. ...
Many U.S. workers oppose any expansion of the program. They say H-1Bs let companies hire cheap workers from abroad, rather than Americans. They say the timing for expansion couldn't be worse, with the economy faltering. "Foreign workers are coming into the U.S., even though Americans need jobs," says Kim Berry, president of the worker advocacy group Programmers Guild. "It turns the intent of the H-1B program upside down."
"Outside the U.S., the steps we will propose are subject to consultation with employee representatives where applicable, and of course any decisions will be made in accordance with local law. The exact timing of the process outside the U.S. will vary based on the needs and requirements of each region," wrote Schmidt.
But there is a growing resistance to this “common knowledge” of IT labor shortages—a number of economists, academics and industry experts refute these claims, stating that there simply isn’t any hard evidence to support the idea that there is or soon will be an IT skills shortage.
“It seems like every three years you've got one group or another saying, the world is going to come to an end there is going to be a shortage and so on,” said Vivek Wadhwa, a professor for Duke University’s Master of Engineering Management Program and a former technology CEO himself. “This whole concept of shortages is bogus, it shows a lack of understanding of the labor pool in the USA.”
Wadhwa has been studying the IT labor market since his transition to the academic world, when he began hearing student anxiety over the availability of jobs in the wake of increased offshore outsourcing and onshore hiring of foreign guest workers. He’d heard all of the business claims of skills shortages to justify these practices, but these assertions didn’t jibe with students’ perception of diminished job prospects in technology. His findings have so far shown no indication of skills shortage.
For example, in one study Wadhwa illustrated the disconnect between industry leadership’s opinions about skills shortfalls and the quantitative facts that contradict these opinions. He and his students at Duke went straight to the hiring source, the human resource department, at a number of top companies employing IT workers.
They asked HR professionals a number of questions that would speak to the availability of qualified workers, about topics such as the number of applicants received for IT jobs, the speed with which these positions are filled and the overall satisfaction with the employees eventually hired. The portrait painted by the question’s answers were very different from their executive’s opinions on skills shortages, Wadhwa says, explaining that each indicator showed there was no lack of qualified applicants. ...
Dr. Ron Hira agrees there is no shortage of skilled IT workers. In his capacity as a professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, a fellow at the Economic Policy Institute and co-author of the book Outsourcing America, he has pored through Bureau of Labor Statistics data and university graduation rates and found that the United States has consistently graduated more than enough computer scientists and engineers to fill the IT jobs available in the country. Similarly, there he has seen no in unemployment rates to indicate any kind of IT worker shortage. ...
Hira believes the most telling pieces of evidence are the IT wage statistics, which haven’t risen dramatically in years. “Wages have been basically pretty flat,” he said, “and that’s where we would see numbers spike if there was any kind of shortage. You would see signing bonuses and so forth.” Wadhwa echoes his sentiments. “It doesn’t add up,” Wadhwa said. “We live in a free economy. If we were sitting in a government controlled economy it would be one thing, but in a free economy what happens is that when shortages begin to develop is that prices rise and the money compensates for the shortage.”
Gates and other technology company executives have long said they need the ability to hire more foreigners--both on temporary visas and permanent green cards--to fill gaps for which they can't find qualified Americans. Gates maintained that H-1B visa holders at his company receive high wages, prevent jobs from being moved offshore, and even lead to creation of more jobs for Americans around those senior engineers.
Mr. Glickstein pointed to a new Watson Wyatt study revealing that workers whose non-Social Security retirement incomes are primarily derived from 401(k)s are significantly less likely to retire than workers who are covered by a defined-benefit plan.
Employees with defined-benefit plans know exactly what their pension payout will be—making planning for retirement easier—unlike those with defined-contribution plans like 401(k)s. What’s more, it makes little financial sense for employees with DB plans to keep on working once they are eligible to receive the pension. Typically, the payout from a DB plan won't increase beyond what the company has promised even if employees continue to work after they become eligible for a full pension.
Others also keep an eye on unused vacation. It's an issue for human resources managers, responsible for overseeing employee time off - especially in companies where workers can roll over days to a new year or bank them for a windfall on leaving the firm. (Editor's note: This problem is not an issue for IBM, which forbid employees from banking vacation several years ago.) ...
Not only do we regularly give up days we've often bargained hard to get, we also get few compared with the rest of the industrialized world. In fact, the United States is singular when it comes to vacation days: We are the only advanced economy in the world without a minute of government-mandated time off.
To be a member of the European Union, a nation's employers must offer workers a minimum of 20 days off a year. Several mandate more. According to "No-Vacation Nation," a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research about the United States' unique place in the balance between work and lifestyle, France requires the most vacation: 30 days, plus a paid holiday. Overall, though, the French are beaten by Austria and Portugal, which require employers to give 22 vacation days off, plus 13 holidays, for a total of 35 days off - amounting to seven weeks a year.
Overnight, the euro hit yet another record high at $1.5609. The U.S. dollar was also at a record low against the Singapore dollar, at S$1.3791, and a 10-year low against Malaysia's ringgit at 3.1586 ringgit. It also fell to a record low against China's yuan at 7.0904 yuan.
Retirement is a passage from one lifestyle to another. One way to think of the term "retire" is by placing a hyphen between the 'e' and the 't' and creating a new term—re-tire: To put on new treads. Those who take the voyage seriously and do the right kind of retirement planning usually have a smoother trip and more fun. Discussions with seasoned retirees indicate that there are many myths and misconceptions about retirement. Often you will hear these myths stated as fact. Here are some of the most common ones.
But here is a partial list of what Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama are proposing that reveals their visions of a much larger role for government in our health sector. They both would create new health care purchasing arrangements and propose...
Most of the Republican presidential candidates' plans were organized around the idea of moving more power and control over health insurance and health care decisions to patients, as I described in my recent Wall Street Journal article. Because there was little debate in the GOP contest over health care, the issue received little attention. But to prepare for the general election, Sen. McCain must do more work to refine and develop his plan.
Now, amputees and prosthetic-device makers are pushing state legislatures around the country to pass laws that mandate prosthesis coverage. The goal is to force private health plans to offer coverage comparable to that provided by Medicare, which pays at least 80% of the cost of prostheses and allows regular replacement of artificial limbs. Health insurers oppose such mandates, saying they reduce consumer choice and drive up costs.
Prosthetic devices are among the biggest-ticket items affected by the growing effort of insurers and employers to curb rising health costs by asking patients to pay a bigger percentage of their medical bills. For people who need artificial limbs, the receding coverage can mean paying tens of thousands of dollars to fill the gap. ...
"You'd think that there isn't anything more basic than making sure someone has an arm and leg," says Keith Molinari, who found his private health insurance covered only a fraction of a basic prosthesis when his 10-year-old son, Chase, lost his leg to cancer as an infant. The Molinaris, in Roscoe, N.Y., made what they say was an emotionally difficult decision to have their son, who outgrows his artificial legs nearly every year, declared disabled so he would qualify for Medicaid, the joint state/federal program for the poor. Mr. Molinari has since changed jobs and now is enrolled in a plan that provides adequate coverage for prostheses.
Also check out Commonwealth Fund staff discussing the candidates' plans in the media. Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis appeared on ABC's "World News Tonight" in a two-part series on health care in the presidential election. Watch the December 12, 2007 video clip. Karen Davis also appeared on the CUNY TV show, "One to One" on February 20, 2008. Watch the interview with Sheryl McCarthy of Newsday. Sara Collins, assistant vice president for the Program on the Future of Health Insurance at Commonwealth Fund, reviewed the candidates' plans on the March 3, 2008 episode of "The Bob Edwards Show."
Access to health insurance is one of the greatest challenges facing the United States today, Lourie said, and with fewer employers offering insurance in a troubled economy, young people are struggling to afford coverage.
Part of the difference is no doubt due to confusion about who is really paying the bill — although most economists would swear that employer contributions to insurance are really paid for by workers in the form of foregone wages, the very high coverage rates for moderate income workers suggests that many economists swear too much. Regardless of the reasons for the difference, the very high coverage rates for moderate-income workers and the very low purchase rates among moderate-income workers who do not have employer sponsored insurance provide diametrically opposed views of affordability, and complicate the discussion about the level of income at which a person can fully afford insurance.
Blue Cross and other insurers would like to see more policyholders traveling abroad for medical care. Since the start of the year, Boucher has signed alliances with seven overseas hospitals and hopes to add five more by yearend, including them all in coverage for his company's 1.5 million members. As health-care costs continue to rise in the U.S., "medical travel is going to be part of the solution," he says. ...
Blue Cross took the lead in medical offshoring when it formed its first partnership, with Bumrungrad Hospital, in February. Since then the insurer has signed similar pacts with the Parkway Group Healthcare, owner of three hospitals in Singapore, and hospitals in Turkey, Ireland, and Costa Rica. Three members of India's Apollo Hospitals Group are also joining the network. And another large Indian chain, Wockhardt Hospitals, is talking with U.S. insurers as well. "Americans haven't come to grips with having their heart surgery in Thailand," says Curtis Schroeder, the American CEO of Bumrungrad. "But that will change."
The shift is sure to leave some policyholders disgruntled, of course. Offering international coverage might make it easier for employers to limit benefits at home, for instance, by raising the deductibles on U.S.-based procedures. It's also extremely difficult for patients to sue for malpractice in most Asian countries. Bumrungrad has offices for marketing and promotion in 20 countries, but not the U.S.—in part because having a U.S. office would open the door to potential liability, hospital officials say. So it will take a while for the trickle of insured U.S. patients in Asia to become a torrent. But over time, for policyholders and payers alike, the price may be hard to resist.
Keep the Pressure on! Take a stand! SAY NO to Pay Cuts! Tell me more...
I do recognize that many of you spend time travelling that is not considered billable. You should continue to log that time as nonbillable for the actual time worked. However, to achieve our growth objectives, our model requires that each practitioner average a minimum of 44 billable hours per week. For those of you who are currently exceeding this run rate, I thank you and encourage you to keep up the great work. For those practitioners averaging less than 44 hours per week, please work with your project management to structure your workload to accommodate the minimum of 10% overtime. Exceptions, including contracts capped at 40 hours, should be brought to your Practice Leader or RDM's attention for escalation. Billable utilization has a major impact on our financial results, so your efforts do make a difference. I sincerely appreciate the value, innovation, hard work and commitment each of you deliver on a daily basis!
Donna D. Satterfield AIS Americas Cross-Sector Leader Global Business Services" -Leaving-
If the value of a Senior I/T Specialist is the same to IBM then why a deband/demotion? Maybe if I decided to just push paper, did Powerpoints, and asked people for their task and project due dates to fill out my Excel or PM tool, then I would be easily band 09 by now or even higher. That is obviously still valued in IBM. -Anonymous-
See, I've got 32 years of service, and I'm watching the effect things like LEAN, Resource Actions, and Global Resoursing are having on the "Virtual IBM's" business. You know the "Virtual IBM" don't you? You know, everybody is phoning it in from everywhere and can do any job from anywhere. That alone has had a very large detrimental effect on IBM's business , but when that's combined with all three things I listed previously, well let's just say IBM's death knell has been sounded. It isn't pretty, but it sure is FUN sitting here in The Catbird seat watching this three ring circus!
My accounts are in a shambles, complete and total paralysis has set in. The customers are starting to see things they haven't ever seen from IBM before. And they don't like it. But I don't care! Let the chips fall where they may! From my Catbird vantage point, I'm just sitting back and I cant wait to see what tomorrow's fiasco will be! Oh... I forgot something... I'm NOT leaving voluntarily. No sir!! It'll cost IBM six months salary for me to walk out the door. -Catbird-
My coworkers and I have done as best we can to prevent the coming disaster, but there is nothing more we can say or do to prevent the inevitable implosion of the IBM services organization. It's time to hang on as long as possible and await the natural consequences of executive stupidity occur. If you can't prevent it, you might as well sit back and watch the disaster unfold. -Frank-
I have watched this company spin out of control for the past 6 years. We use to be drive by customer sat.. that's now laughable. IF you customer sat is anywhere near good, you are way over staffed. If the client is engaging legal for a contract review and penalties assessment, you are about staffed properly. All of the top notch folks have left because, after 3 years with no raise, why stay? Moral is in the crapper and folks are tired of the fire drills. Staffing has been cut past the muscle and bone, they are loping off limbs at this point. Add to this the demotion on the 24A family.
The funny thing is that the blue pig loved the OT from the salary folks.. it was pure profit. Now that those worker bees have to claim / total the exact hours, the blue pig is going to lose yet another stream of income.
The total lack of a moral compass has been the worst to see.. I have seen folks close to retirement or in my case, partial disability, get canned with no concern what so ever. I called in to the folks when I was RA'd and tried to plea about the need for me to work at home due to my spinal injury.. the man on the other end told me "Its not our problem" and hung up on me! No kidding. They RA'd me in May.. but kept extending me.. I found a job and told them I no longer wanted to be a pawn and I would not want to be extended anymore. I was released in August. I took 2 weeks off for another surgery and joined my new employer. More money less stress no bullsh&t.
IBM is dead.. its over. Its a big ponzi scheme for the upper management stock option folks.. I also hear that the last of the big gerstner era options are up soon? JCS is the one who coined the phrase of pound the square peg in the round hole.. keep pounding until it fits.. In my 8 years as well as all of the veterans I have talked to, IBM has never reached the moral lows they have at this point. Please notice that no one from management is attempting to repair credibility and worker morale anymore.. THEY DONT CARE.
I feel for everyone left.. I really do, but in a perverse way, I am enjoying the show from the outside. Its like a slow motion car wreck. Everything folks have said would happen, has. There will be a LOT more layoffs and more global resourcing. Divisions will be spun off soon as well. Get your experience, but do not plan on staying to retirement.. look after yourself for once.. the camaraderie and ibm'er spirit is dead -exibm'er-
This union is about many things. First and foremost it is about giving employees a legal voice in the workplace. A union contract, negotiated between employees, the union and the company is a legal document and spells out the terms and conditions of employment. Each contract is different. (we have examples on our web site). If the employees want limits on working hours in the contract, then that gets negotiated.
You can bust your butt, go from a 3 to a 1 and only get a 300 dollar bonus if the boss does not like you and there is nothing you can do about it because you do not have a say in anything. There is a reason you see auto workers standing in the snow in Detroit on a picket line. Because when its done they know exactly what they will be paid and exactly what their benefits will cost and that for the length of the contract they have a say in creating they will have job security . All they have to worry about is getting to work and just doing their job. Then getting home and enjoying their time off with friends and family. Unionize now while IBM is making record profits and carve out your piece of the pie. -Exodus 2007 -
Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC.
Today's highly compensated executives face many difficulties, including figuring out how they can possibly spend all of the rich rewards they've earned on the backs of ordinary workers. Take a look at the insider trading of many of our IBM executives—spending the cash from all that stock "acquired at $0 per share" must be a real challenge! Or, imagine the difficulty IBM CEO Sam Palmisano will face spending his $10,000 to $20,000 a day pension when he retires!
As a way of helping out our beleaguered, modern-day robber barons this site will periodically feature "spending opportunities" that the "upper crust" of our society may want to take advantage of!
The list, compiled by Country Life magazine, comes as figures show while the credit crunch may be squeezing the housing market as a whole, it is having little effect on homes at the very top end. ... Mark Hedges, editor of Country Life, said: "For the super-rich, price is not an issue. The appeal is privacy, accessibility and rarity value in architecture, design and location. They probably own four or five homes around the world and may only visit the properties briefly, but when they do, the house has to deliver perfection."
The escorts were well-versed in the lucrative potential of this new market. In the complaint, a prospective escort in London turns down the job based on price, saying that £500 an hour for starting escorts — close to $1,000 an hour — was chump change, especially since it didn’t include dinner. “This is the kind of money I make very easily on photoshoots,” the woman said. ...
According to a survey by Russ Alan Prince, president of Connecticut-based wealth-research firm Prince & Associates, in his book “The Sky’s The Limit,” a sizable percentage of the super wealthy use escorts. He surveyed 661 people who owned private jets. It found that 34% of males and 20% of females had paid for sex. The most popular reason was “unique experiences” (71%), followed by “higher quality experiences” (57%). Conventional wisdom says that the rich visit escorts to avoid messy break-ups or extra demands for cash. But the study shows otherwise: “No strings attached,” ranked last as a reason. “With the wealthy,” Mr. Prince says “it’s all about power and control and new experiences.”
And yet, in the Senate, Republicans are ready to do battle on behalf of America’s wealthiest families.
Starting in 2009, the estate tax will apply to Americans with property at death worth more than $7 million per couple, or $3.5 million for individuals — a whopping 0.3 percent of people who die each year. As part of the 2009 budget resolution, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana and chairman of the Finance Committee, has proposed to keep the tax at those levels, with annual adjustments for inflation. The proposal is expected to pass, as early as Thursday.
Everyone knows that the Baucus proposal is better than the status quo: under current law, the estate tax will be eliminated in 2010 then revert in 2011 to the far higher levels that applied in 2001, before the Bush tax cuts. Republicans, however, think that Mr. Baucus’s more-than-generous fix does not do enough to shield the wealthy. After it passes, Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, is expected to propose further cutting the estate taxes of those still covered by the 2009 rules.
That would give the wealthiest Americans an additional $200 billion in tax cuts over 10 years, with most of that largess going to estates valued at more than $10 million per person, the top 0.1 percent. The government would have to borrow to make up for the $200 billion giveaway to rich heirs, worsening the deficit and adding about $100 billion in interest to the nation’s tab.
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