Most employees of IBM don't get the opportunity to retire - they are resourced actioned out of the business - not fired for performance, nor laid off with opportunity to get rehired, nor dropped because there isn't work, they're just dumped with minimal or no severance, no retirement and no retirement medical in order to meet that quarter's financial targets.
Disrespect. The survivors of the quarterly resource actions are being subjected to sweatshop-like work conditions - long hours with a frantic work pace, with no time to "think". They killed that motto too.
More disrespect. The company is being run with the sole goal of short term stock price. Longevity and future viability of the corporation doesn't play into the equation. Once Sam retires and cashes in, expect these short-sighted chickens to come home to roost.
Jobs are offshored to low cost resources in low cost countries regardless of whether employees there can do the work or can even learn to do the work. India offshoring is nothing but a major FUBAR with no hope of success. Customers are pissed with them, so are the US counterparts that work with them.
More disrespect for employees and now, disrespect for customers.
The IBM US employee population is now about 100,000 and plans are in place to drop this to 35,000. A decade ago, we were over 270,000.
Last, most things in IBM have moved to a corporate centric heavy-handed command and control organization run by arrogant and clueless tyrants each with their own bloated and unresponsive bureaucracies. The lower levels of management and employees are not allowed the freedom to think, or the ability to create a better way of doing things, or the option to innovate, or the ability to decide.
Corporate knows best, you do everything their mandated way, exactly as they specify, whether it makes sense for the situation or not. You have no discretion or ability to question corporate, your improvement suggestions are ignored at best, at worst they can be career-limiting. There is no feedback accepted from those in the trenches who have to make the business actually work. They treat highly trained experienced professionals like babies and idiots.
More disrespect. The net is that IBM US has gone from being one of the best places to work to one of the worst. IBM doesn't deserve your respect nor mine.
IBM has opened a new facility in Dubuque, IA -- a Technical Services Delivery Center. The center will primarily support U.S. strategic outsourcing clients, providing server systems operations, security services and end user services, including maintenance and monitoring of computer hardware and software systems. The recruiting team at IBM will be hiring approximately 1,300 employees through 2nd quarter, 2010. For a review of the technical and shared services opportunities, please visit the following web site created specifically for this new facility. The web site allows you to view the opportunities and apply on line. (more)
And if you go to that link, there is a picture of a lady in a business suit gazing in wonder out the window at a modern city with 100 story sky scrapers. If you go to Google Images, you see Dubuque looks like a mill town of 4 story brick factory buildings. Not dissing Dubuque, I'm sure it is a nice town. But the photo is typical IBM smoke and mirrors.
Selected responses to the above question follow:
Labor markets fluctuate as well. India, for example, didn't have the volume of talented recruits when I started with IBM over 42 years ago. And the demand for 'lower wages' will be relentless. Salaries are increasing in India much faster than in North America and other countries because of the demand for resources there and they have a higher attrition rate because jobs are plentiful and changing jobs for higher pay is attractive. As other developing countries produce a more educated workforce and currencies fluctuate, the movement of jobs that are not location dependent will favor those locations and may disfavor India, at some point.
The people that worked hard for IBM, who helped build the company when those other resources were not available, are losing their jobs due to Globalization. They took out mortgages, set up their lifestyle, with the expectation that if they worked hard, diligently, kept improving their skills and provided excellent service to IBM, they would continue to have employment with IBM. When I joined IBM, there was a labor shortage and IBM's main objective was to try to hold on to its employees that it invested in training. They strived to keep these employees for 'life', promising to retrain them if the skill mix needed changed. That pact is broken. There is no longer a job for life, despite how hard you work.
This restructuring hurts morale of those left behind..wondering when they will be let go. It ruins the image of a company as a ' good place to work' if they drop human resources in favor of lower wage/currency issues. It is a delicate balancing act for IBM.
I agree that there are capable people everywhere in the world. There is no reason why someone in a developing country with the right education and drive cannot do as well as someone in the US. But right now there are people in North America who are capable, dedicated, hard working and have helped build IBM over many years, who feel discarded Their loyalty through good and bad times is no longer being rewarded. That's hard to swallow for them.
Sadly this is the global economy (from the Book ..The World is Flat) taking its toll. All businesses have to manage to match their competitors cost structures and if they don't adjust, they will lose business Employees losing their jobs in higher wage countries are having to make adjustments.
I was also commenting on the original question..how do you get back into IBM. If you are in North America...that's hard to do right now. If you are in other low wage locations, then it depends on what country you are in, who you know and who remembers you from when you were in IBM. They would be your biggest advocates, if positions are available..
Second, you paint with a very broad brush when you say its the only way to get rid of the deadwood. Getting rid of deadwood isn't the problem, weak leaders and managers creates the problem. Failure to address poor performance is a fault of weak managers. Fire the managers who can't do their jobs and bring some of the work back to the US where it belongs and stop adding to the fire of eroding our US manufacturing and working base.
Greed in many companies to create bigger profits at the cost of quality and people only propels unemployment and a steadily decreasing skill set. The targets for MIS had been 5 - 6% every year for at least the last 10 - 15 years IBM had never achieved it. All the forced distribution, team based decision making and ranking has done is create a negative environment fraught with fear, neglect, back stabbing and burned out valuable people fighting for their livelihood. I pity the fool whose manager has no backbone and the will to fight for them in these meetings of measured performance.
The focus has changed, the values have been eroded and the IBM values and ethics which were in the stratosphere have plummeted to the depths of the cesspools. I was let go, I valued my entire career with IBM. I learned a lot and after receiving the blue boot and experiencing a good nights sleep because I no longer worried about my slave driving, insensitive, rude, micro manager with a nervous giggle. With the shift in direction and lack of respect for people, I really don't want to go back into the new IBM. I will just pack up my dignity and my core values and move on to a new career with all the skills I learned and all the experiences I had.
Forty companies put more than five times their pension contributions toward stock grants, though all but two of them have plans that owe more than their current assets. And some companies with pension shortfalls put nothing at all into those plans last year, but still gave out stock compensation.
The economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China each grew at least 5 percent last year -- about five times the rate for the U.S. Mendoza, who took on his new role June 15, previously headed up development in Japan and growth markets for IBM, the world’s largest provider of computer services. He has spent most of his career outside the U.S.
The H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act would require all employers wishing to hire an H-1B guest worker to first make a good-faith attempt to recruit a qualified American worker. Employers would be prohibited from using H-1B visa holders to displace qualified American workers. The bill would also prohibit what Grassley and Durbin call the "blatantly discriminatory" practice of "H-1B only" ads and prohibit employers from hiring additional H-1B workers if more than 50 percent of their employees are H-1B holders.
New York-based consulting firm Accenture is one of those employers. Although the firm offers a variety of work/life programs, an employee survey revealed that the most requested work/life program the company lacked was a sabbatical, says Sharon Klun, Accenture’s Phoenix-based director of work/life initiatives. "It was not necessarily about the pay," Klun says. "It was about having time in their lives to do what was really important to them." In response, Accenture launched a self-funded sabbatical program in 2007 called Future Leave for all U.S.-based employees, under which workers can take up to three months’ time off every three years to do whatever they want. Although the program is unpaid, employees can set money aside each paycheck or each month, "so when the leave does come, they are not necessarily as strapped" for money, Klun says.
In other parts of the developed world, people are retiring as planned, because of relatively flush state and corporate pensions that await them. But here in the United States, financial security in old age rests increasingly on private savings, which have taken a beating in the last year. Prospective retirees are clinging to their jobs despite some cherished life plans. As a result, companies are not only reluctant to create new jobs, but have fewer job openings to fill from attrition. For the 14 million Americans looking for work — a number expected to rise in Friday’s jobs report for August — this lack of turnover has made a tough job market even tougher. ...
The diverted life plans of families like the Petruccis are an unintended economic consequence of the nation’s sprawling 401(k) plans. These private retirement savings vehicles, designed 30 years ago as a supplement to traditional corporate pensions, have somewhat haphazardly replaced the old system, like an innocuous weed that somehow overgrew the garden. As is apparent in this downturn, the economic effects of such an ad hoc system can be perverse. In boom times, when companies need more workers, the most experienced employees may decide to retire, taking comfort in their bloated 401(k)s, whose values typically fluctuate with the financial markets. ...
Though their pension systems may be strained, people in many countries with stronger safety nets are still exiting the labor force in lockstep despite the global recession. Last year in the United States, almost a third of people ages 65 to 69 were still in the labor force; in France, just 4 percent of people this age were still working or looking for work. After all, Europe isn’t just the land of “socialized” medicine. It is also the land of “socialized” retirement plans, and like other automatic stabilizers, pensions help cushion the blow of an economic crisis. ...
“The financial crisis hasn’t affected me,” says Jens Erik Soerensen, a 63-year-old in Hellerup, Denmark, who works as a researcher at Chempilots, a Danish company that develops polymers for use in the medical device industry. Mr. Soerensen has calculated that when he retires, the combined disposable income that he has with his wife (Lone, also 63, who retired this year from her job in TV production) will fall by about 20 percent. The couple will also continue to benefit from universal health coverage. ...
Still, the American preference for self-reliance, instead of more socialized financial protections, remains strong, even among those who lost big. “I don’t want to depend on anybody else in my retirement,” Mr. Petrucci said. “Not family members, not our children, and certainly not the government, for that matter.”
Jeffries raked in $72 million in 2008, according to The Corporate Library's list. It calculated "total realized compensation," which includes vested shares of restricted stock and stock options that were exercised. In Abercrombie's proxy statement, Jeffries' compensation -- excluding these items -- is listed as $15.9 million.
Abercrombie & Fitch's business has been in the doldrums for quite some time now; its shares fell 70% in 2008. Sales growth has slowed dramatically since the fiscal year ended January 2006, actually decreasing in the latest completed fiscal year. Meanwhile, earnings per share have fallen steadily since the year ended February 2008. If Jeffries' pay is commensurate with his performance, I'm just not seeing it. ...
Sadly, it seems clear that some have suffered more than others from the ravages of a troubled 2008. Company leaders shouldn't be doing just as well financially, if not even better, while shareholders and employees take monumental financial punches to the gut. The guys at the top deserve an equal share of the sacrifice, especially if they expect an outsized slice of the rewards.
My friend M. — you’ll understand in a moment why she’s terrified of my using her name — had to make a searing decision a year ago. She was married to a sweet, gentle man whom she loved, but who had become increasingly absent-minded. Finally, he was diagnosed with early-onset dementia. The disease is degenerative, and he will become steadily less able to care for himself. At some point, as his medical needs multiply, he will probably need to be institutionalized.
The hospital arranged a conference call with a social worker, who outlined how the dementia and its financial toll on the family would progress, and then added, out of the blue: “Maybe you should divorce.” “I was blown away,” M. told me. But, she said, the hospital staff members explained that they had seen it all before, many times. If M.’s husband required long-term care, the costs would be catastrophic even for a middle-class family with savings.
Eventually, after the expenses whittled away their combined assets, her husband could go on Medicaid — but by then their children’s nest egg would be gone, along with her 401(k) plan. She would face a bleak retirement with neither her husband nor her savings. ...
The existing system doesn’t just break up families, it also costs lives. A 2004 study by the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, found that lack of health insurance causes 18,000 unnecessary deaths a year. That’s one person slipping through the cracks and dying every half an hour. In short, it’s a good bet that our existing dysfunctional health system knocks off far more people than an army of “death panels” could — even if they existed, worked 24/7 and got around in a fleet of black helicopters.
So, for those of you inclined to believe the worst about President Obama, think it through. Suppose he is indeed a secret, foreign-born Muslim agent who is scheming to undermine American family values while killing off as many grandmothers as possible. If all that were true, why on earth would he be trying so hard to reform our health care system? We already know how to prod families into divorce and take a life unnecessarily every 30 minutes — all we need to do is reject reform and stick with exactly what we have.
Now the same sort of damaging retreat may be happening in the Senate Finance Committee. Three committees in the House and one in the Senate have used their Democratic majorities to approve liberal health reform bills. The only bipartisan negotiations are between a rump group of three Democrats and three Republicans on the Finance Committee who hail from largely rural states with small populations, namely Iowa, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wyoming. Somehow this small, unrepresentative group has emerged as the focal point for bipartisan health care reform.
Among those the AMA recruited in its fight against Medicare was a Hollywood actor named Ronald Reagan. He recorded a speech in 1961 explaining that Medicare was not just the first step toward a total government takeover of medicine, but the imposition of socialism throughout the economy. Said Reagan, "Behind it [Medicare] will come other federal programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this country until one day, as [Socialist Party leader] Norman Thomas said, we will awake to find that we have socialism."
The "slippery slope" argument has been a staple of conservatives' thinking for decades--they claim that every government program is the first step on the road to socialism. And, as economist F.A. Hayek argued in his 1944 book, The Road to Serfdom, that inevitably leads to totalitarianism. This argument continues to be made today in the health care debate, even though it is transparently false. The nations of Europe have governments much larger than ours and long had national health insurance without suffering the sort of tyranny that was certain to have come about by now if Hayek was even remotely correct.
But the Nixon era was a time in which leading figures in both parties were capable of speaking rationally about policy, and in which policy decisions weren’t as warped by corporate cash as they are now. America is a better country in many ways than it was 35 years ago, but our political system’s ability to deal with real problems has been degraded to such an extent that I sometimes wonder whether the country is still governable.
As many people have pointed out, Nixon’s proposal for health care reform looks a lot like Democratic proposals today. In fact, in some ways it was stronger. Right now, Republicans are balking at the idea of requiring that large employers offer health insurance to their workers; Nixon proposed requiring that all employers, not just large companies, offer insurance. Nixon also embraced tighter regulation of insurers, calling on states to “approve specific plans, oversee rates, ensure adequate disclosure, require an annual audit and take other appropriate measures.” No illusions there about how the magic of the marketplace solves all problems.
So what happened to the days when a Republican president could sound so nonideological, and offer such a reasonable proposal? Part of the answer is that the right-wing fringe, which has always been around — as an article by the historian Rick Perlstein puts it, “crazy is a pre-existing condition” — has now, in effect, taken over one of our two major parties. Moderate Republicans, the sort of people with whom one might have been able to negotiate a health care deal, have either been driven out of the party or intimidated into silence. Whom are Democrats supposed to reach out to, when Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who was supposed to be the linchpin of any deal, helped feed the “death panel” lies?
But there’s another reason health care reform is much harder now than it would have been under Nixon: the vast expansion of corporate influence. We tend to think of the way things are now, with a huge army of lobbyists permanently camped in the corridors of power, with corporations prepared to unleash misleading ads and organize fake grass-roots protests against any legislation that threatens their bottom line, as the way it always was. But our corporate-cash-dominated system is a relatively recent creation, dating mainly from the late 1970s.
And now that this system exists, reform of any kind has become extremely difficult. That’s especially true for health care, where growing spending has made the vested interests far more powerful than they were in Nixon’s day. The health insurance industry, in particular, saw its premiums go from 1.5 percent of G.D.P. in 1970 to 5.5 percent in 2007, so that a once minor player has become a political behemoth, one that is currently spending $1.4 million a day lobbying Congress.
That spending fuels debates that otherwise seem incomprehensible. Why are “centrist” Democrats like Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota so opposed to letting a public plan, in which Americans can buy their insurance directly from the government, compete with private insurers? Never mind their often incoherent arguments; what it comes down to is the money. Given the combination of G.O.P. extremism and corporate power, it’s now doubtful whether health reform, even if we get it — which is by no means certain — will be anywhere near as good as Nixon’s proposal, even though Democrats control the White House and have a large Congressional majority.
Republicans have criticized the House bill on the ground that it would finance coverage for the uninsured, in part, by cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from projected Medicare spending, in ways that could adversely affect some beneficiaries. In response, Democrats have said the bill would help beneficiaries by narrowing and eventually eliminating a gap in Medicare drug coverage, informally known as a doughnut hole. Nancy LeaMond, an executive vice president of AARP, the lobby for older Americans, welcomed the report as evidence that “health care reform will lower drug spending.” “Opponents of reform may use today’s projections to try to stall reform,” Ms. LeaMond said, “but we hope they will look at all the facts before jumping to a false conclusion.”
“He’s playing to the fund-raising base, both here in South Carolina and nationally,” Mr. Bailey said. Mr. DeMint’s town-hall-style meetings, where he promotes his new book, “Saving Freedom: We Can Stop America’s Slide into Socialism,” tend to be more like cheerleading sessions than the angry confrontations faced by lawmakers elsewhere. Here, he fueled speculation that a health care overhaul would cover illegal immigrants, although specific language says it would not. He also said senators and members of Congress would “absolutely not” pass a new health plan if they had to go on it themselves. ...
The subject of health care in Mr. DeMint’s own state rarely comes up either. But South Carolina, much of which is poor and rural, faces some particular challenges. Its unemployment rate of 11.8 percent exceeds the national rate of 9.4 percent. And 16.2 percent of the population has no insurance, more than the national average of 15.3 percent. Rather, voters seem more interested in whether Mr. DeMint might run for president.
Burgerville's initiative "not only improves quality of service but it saves money by not having to replace staff as frequently," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Technomic Inc., a Chicago consulting and research firm for the food industry.
This was not true of Franklin Roosevelt and the Democratic Congresses that enacted the New Deal. With the exception of the Emergency Banking Act of 1933 (which gave the president authority to close the nation’s banks and which passed the House of Representatives unanimously), the principal legislative innovations of the 1930s were enacted over the vigorous opposition of a deeply entrenched minority. Majority rule, as Roosevelt saw it, did not require his opponents’ permission.
When Roosevelt asked Congress to establish the Tennessee Valley Authority to provide cheap electric power for the impoverished South, he did not consult with utility giants like Commonwealth and Southern. When he asked for the creation of a Securities and Exchange Commission to curb the excesses of Wall Street, he did not request the cooperation of those about to be regulated. When Congress passed the Glass-Steagall Act divesting investment houses of their commercial banking functions, the Democrats did not need the approval of J. P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs or Lehman Brothers. ...
Roosevelt relished the opposition of vested interests. He fashioned his governing majority by deliberately attacking those who favored the status quo. His opponents hated him — and he profited from their hatred. “Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today,” he told a national radio audience on the eve of the 1936 election. “They are unanimous in their hatred for me — and I welcome their hatred.” ...
For Roosevelt was a divider, not a uniter, and he unabashedly waged class war. At the Democratic Convention in 1936, again speaking to a national radio audience, Roosevelt lambasted the “economic royalists” who had gained control of the nation’s wealth. To Congress he boasted of having “earned the hatred of entrenched greed.” In another speech he mocked “the gentlemen in well-warmed and well-stocked clubs” who criticized the government’s relief efforts.
Roosevelt hived off the nation’s economic elite to win the support of the rest of the country. The vast majority of voters rallied to the president, but for a small minority he was the Devil incarnate. Few today remember the extent to which Roosevelt divided the nation. The sense of unity wrought by World War II blurred the divisiveness of the 1930s. Also, Roosevelt endeavored to ensure that more than half of the country was always on his side. Finally, and most important perhaps, the measures he championed have stood the test of time. It is difficult for Americans today to comprehend how anyone could have opposed Social Security, rural electrification, the regulation of Wall Street or the federal government’s guarantee of individual bank deposits.
Roosevelt understood that governing involved choice and that choice engendered dissent. He accepted opposition as part of the process. It is time for the Obama administration to step up to the plate and make some hard choices. Health care reform enacted by a Democratic majority is still meaningful reform. Even if it is passed without Republican support, it would still be the law of the land.
Fifty-six to 60 percent of people in government-run Medicare rate it a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale. In contrast, only 40 percent of those enrolled in private insurance rank their plans that high. Multiple surveys back that up. For example, 68 percent of those in Medicare feel that their own interests are the priority, compared with only 48 percent of those enrolled in private insurance.
In truth, despite the deeply ingrained American conviction that government is bumbling when it is not evil, government intervention has been a step up in some areas from the private sector.
Until the mid-19th century, firefighting was left mostly to a mishmash of volunteer crews and private fire insurance companies. In New York City, according to accounts in The New York Times in the 1850s and 1860s, firefighting often descended into chaos, with drunkenness and looting. So almost every country moved to what today’s health insurance lobbyists might label “socialized firefighting.” In effect, we have a single-payer system of public fire departments.
We have the same for policing. If the security guard business were as powerful as the health insurance industry, then it would be denouncing “government takeovers” and “socialized police work.”
Throughout the industrialized world, there are a handful of these areas where governments fill needs better than free markets: fire protection, police work, education, postal service, libraries, health care. The United States goes along with this international trend in every area but one: health care. The truth is that government, for all its flaws, manages to do some things right, so that today few people doubt the wisdom of public police or firefighters. And the government has a particularly good record in medical care.
The insurance plan that Cinergy marketed provided far less than comprehensive coverage. For instance, it pays $500 for five doctor's visits per year or $300 annually for diagnostic tests including a high-tech MRI -- a test that costs $2,000 or more in most states. The ads say most preexisting conditions are accepted, but the fine print noted a six-month waiting period for preexisting conditions. The ads' promises have led to dozens of postings by consumers on complaint sites such asRipoffReport.com and Complaints.com who say they were misled by American Medical and the ads Cinergy has been running.
The health insurance lobby in collusion with both the corrupt and spineless Blue Dogs and the lying hacks who control the cartoonish Republican Party have successfully convinced large chunks of Washington that the public option is some sort of ultra-left concoction manufactured inside the secret underground Wellstone Memorial Lib-ratory located beneath Howard Dean's cavernous walk-in Birkenstock closet. ...
Additionally, I'm not aware of any centrist voters who are particularly in love with the idea of a healthcare reform bill that contains mandates but no public option escape hatch. As I wrote last week, this is without question a transparent, massive and compulsory government handout to corporate criminals. Such a bill would require us to buy a policy from a private health insurer -- the same corporations that are currently denying coverage to paying customers and literally getting away with murder; the same type of corporation that randomly tripled my monthly premium, forcing me to either cancel my policy or go out of business. Every American citizen would be mandated by law to pump their cash into a system that's inherently corrupt and, from a production standpoint, wholly worthless. The public option, though, would provide an option of good conscience for those of us who find it morally repugnant to financially support the private insurers.
The convergence of government power and corporate greed is centrist? Really? Once again, the public option solves the problem.
And then there are the polls. Last week, the AARP published the results of a poll showing 79 percent of the American people support "a new federal health insurance plan that individuals could purchase." Unless 79 percent of the American people are far-left liberals, this poll indicates that the public option enjoys support from practically everyone. 61 percent of Republicans support the public option. 80 percent of independents. Literally, the "centrists."
Claims denial rates by leading California insurers, first six months of 2009:
... Why do they companies deny claims? Because it pays. It's also a reason why private insurers divert up to 30 cents of every healthcare dollar to overhead -- much of it spent to support warehouses full of claims adjustors needed to deny care, to keep down their "medical loss ratio" or profits lost on approving claims.
Our nation remains the only one in among industrial nations to link access to healthcare to private profit. That's one reason for data like this:
Data released in late August by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which tracks developed nations, found that among 30 industrial nations, the U.S. ranks last in life expectancy at birth for men, and 24th for women.
Mr. Obama needs to highlight the concerns that got many people agitating for government help in the first place — the rising premiums and co-payments required for their health insurance policies, and the likelihood that, if forced to buy insurance on their own, perhaps after losing a job, they would be unable to afford it or even be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. ...
We are alarmed at reports that the price for winning over Republicans and conservative Democrats might be a drastically scaled-down plan that would cost not $1 trillion over 10 years but perhaps only $700 billion or much less. That big a reduction would be a mistake. The insurance reforms that people most want — and the insurance industry is willing to accept — depend on achieving near universal coverage to spread the risks over a large group of healthy and unhealthy people. ...
If Mr. Obama is reaching out for broader support, he may be too diplomatic to point out the cynicism of Republican opponents who are late-blooming advocates of deficit reduction. The Bush administration and a Republican-controlled Congress enacted a Medicare prescription drug benefit that will cost the government almost $1 trillion over the next decade without raising or saving a penny to pay for it.
They also passed tax cuts for wealthy Americans that will cost more than $1.7 trillion over 10 years, again without making provisions to offset the costs. Now they are complaining that $1 trillion for health care reform — fully paid for over the next 10 years — is too much to spend on a problem that has been festering for decades.
The system doesn't work for anyone. It cheats patients and leaves them to die, denies insurance to 47 million Americans, forces hospitals to spend billions haggling over claims, and systematically bleeds and harasses doctors with the specter of catastrophic litigation. Even as a mechanism for delivering bonuses to insurance-company fat cats, it's a miserable failure: Greedy insurance bosses who spent a generation denying preventive care to patients now see their profits sapped by millions of customers who enter the system only when they're sick with incurably expensive illnesses.
The cost of all of this to society, in illness and death and lost productivity and a soaring federal deficit and plain old anxiety and anger, is incalculable — and that's the good news. The bad news is our failed health care system won't get fixed, because it exists entirely within the confines of yet another failed system: the political entity known as the United States of America. Just as we have a medical system that is not really designed to care for the sick, we have a government that is not equipped to fix actual crises. What our government is good at is something else entirely: effecting the appearance of action, while leaving the actual reform behind in a diabolical labyrinth of ingenious legislative maneuvers. ...
It's a situation that one would have thought would be sobering enough to snap Congress into real action for once. Instead, they did the exact opposite, doubling down on the same-old, same-old and laboring day and night in the halls of the Capitol to deliver us a tour de force of old thinking and legislative trickery, as if that's what we really wanted. Almost every single one of the main players — from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Blue Dog turncoat Max Baucus — found some unforeseeable, unique-to-them way to fuck this thing up. Even Ted Kennedy, for whom successful health care reform was to be the great vindicating achievement of his career, and Barack Obama, whose entire presidency will likely be judged by this bill, managed to come up small when the lights came on. We might look back on this summer someday and think of it as the moment when our government lost us for good. It was that bad. ...
The only committee that didn't finish a bill is the one that's likely to matter most: the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by the infamous obfuscating dick Max Baucus, a right-leaning Democrat from Montana who has received $2,880,631 in campaign contributions from the health care industry....
The game in health care reform has mostly come down to whether or not the final bill that is hammered out from the work of these five committees will contain a public option — i.e., an option for citizens to buy in to a government-run health care plan. Because the plan wouldn't have any profit motive — and wouldn't have to waste money on executive bonuses and corporate marketing — it would automatically cost less than private insurance. Once such a public plan is on the market, it would also drive down prices offered by for-profit insurers — a move essential to offset the added cost of covering millions of uninsured Americans. Without a public option, any effort at health care reform will be as meaningful as a manicure for a gunshot victim. "The public option is the main thing on the table," says Michael Behan, an aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. "It's really coming down to that." ...
Even worse, Baucus has set things up so that the final Senate bill will be drawn up by six senators from his committee: a gang of three Republicans (Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Mike Enzi of Wyoming) and three Democrats (Baucus, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico) known by the weirdly Maoist sobriquet "Group of Six." The setup senselessly submarines the committee's Democratic majority, effectively preventing members who advocate a public option, like Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, from seriously influencing the bill. Getting movement on a public option — or any other meaningful reform — will now require the support of one of the three Republicans in the group: Grassley (who has received $2,034,000 from the health sector), Snowe ($756,000) or Enzi ($627,000).
This is what the prospects for real health care reform come down to — whether one of three Republicans from tiny states with no major urban populations decides, out of the goodness of his or her cash-fattened heart, to forsake forever any contributions from the health-insurance industry (and, probably, aid for their re-election efforts from the Republican National Committee). ...
All that's left of health care reform is a collection of piece-of-shit, weakling proposals that are preposterously expensive and contain almost nothing meaningful — and that set of proposals, meanwhile, is being negotiated down even further by the endlessly negating Group of Six. It is a fight to the finish now between Really Bad and Even Worse. And it's virtually guaranteed to sour the public on reform efforts for years to come. "They'll pass some weak, mediocre plan that breaks the bank and even in the best analysis leaves 37 million people uninsured," says Mokhiber, one of the single-payer activists arrested by Baucus. "It's going to give universal health care a bad name."
It's a joke, the whole thing, a parody of Solomonic governance. By the time all the various bills are combined, health care will be a baby not split in half but in fourths and eighths and fractions of eighths. It's what happens when a government accustomed to dealing on the level of perception tries to take on a profound emergency that exists in reality. No matter how hard Congress may try, though, it simply is not possible to paper over a crisis this vast.
"But dependency on government has never been bad for the rich. The pretense of the laissez-faire people is that only the poor are dependent on government, while the rich take care of themselves. This argument manages to ignore all of modern history, which shows a consistent record of laissez-faire for the poor, but enormous government intervention for the rich." From Economic Justice: The American Class System, from the book Declarations of Independence by Howard Zinn.
The earlier the policyholder dies, the bigger the return — though if people live longer than expected, investors could get poor returns or even lose money. Either way, Wall Street would profit by pocketing sizable fees for creating the bonds, reselling them and subsequently trading them. But some who have studied life settlements warn that insurers might have to raise premiums in the short term if they end up having to pay out more death claims than they had anticipated. ...
Financial innovation can be good, of course, by lowering the cost of borrowing for everyone, giving consumers more investment choices and, more broadly, by helping the economy to grow. And the proponents of securitizing life settlements say it would benefit people who want to cash out their policies while they are alive.
But some are dismayed by Wall Street’s quick return to its old ways, chasing profits with complicated new products. “It’s bittersweet,” said James D. Cox, a professor of corporate and securities law at Duke University. “The sweet part is there are investors interested in exotic products created by underwriters who make large fees and rating agencies who then get paid to confer ratings. The bitter part is it’s a return to the good old days.”
Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC. Sample posts follow:
We all have to play nice-nice with our GR (global resource) peers. and when your GR team lead sends notes to IBM US mgmt that they need MORE WORK from their US counterparts, IBM mgmt. rolls over and gives them more work. Reminds me of an old CCR song: Fortunate Son.
And when you ask them, how much should we give? Ooh, they only answer more! more! more. What a sad, pathetic, f'ng company.
What's more pathetic is how India is not held accountable since they are Sam's chosen ones and how anyone who reports problems with India are considered anti-team, racist and uncooperative.
The sacred cows over in India aren't cattle, they're the "office boys" pretending to be IT professionals working for IBM. What a sad, pathetic f'ng company indeed.
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