Globally, challenges such as changing demographics, security concerns and lower tax revenues are placing unprecedented demands on the government infrastructures that deliver vital services such as social services, healthcare, education and public safety. Demographics show that cities and municipalities in particular are experiencing a population explosion of new residents, placing additional strain on governments to meet the needs of its constituencies. At the heart of IBM's business transformation strategy is the recognition that the increasingly instrumented world and the boundless possibilities offered by technology can help all organizations, including government, reach new levels of efficiency. In all of this, the traditional definition of "workstation" has been expanded to include hand-held devices that enable workers to connect remotely with their colleagues and interact with sensors, video and other information gathering technology embedded in everything from buildings and machines to vehicles, traffic signals and utilities. ...
"For the first time we can see into our client activities to help them meet our (federal, state and county) rules for receiving benefits, or redirect funds to families that need our help much more rapidly," said Don Edwards, Deputy Agency Director of Alameda Social Services Agency. "This milestone demonstrates that states and counties can securely verify that their records reflecting client cases are correct and can be shared. The ability to connect and exchange appropriate common client information will enhance the stability and well-being of our children, adults or elderly, and their families
On Oct. 15, IBM was officially terminated from a 10-year welfare services contract with the state of Indiana—a project intended to improve the efficiency and quality of working with welfare recipients. A press release about the termination came from Gov. Mitch Daniels, who stated that Indiana plans to move ahead with a "hybrid" strategy that will include more face-to-face contact and "localized team based case management," said a news release.
The IBM system eliminated face-to-face meetings and took a task-oriented approach rather than a case-based approach and was not working well for Indiana residents, said the state. While there were improvements to the system in terms of eliminating fraud, increasing state case loads for employees and adding some new jobs to Indiana, fundamental problems still exist, claimed the state in the news release. ...
IBM representative John Buscemi told the AP following the news of contract termination, "'IBM rejects the state's claims and believes the state's actions are unjustified." Asked whether the company was considering suing the state, he said, "IBM will take action as appropriate to protect its rights under its contract with FSSA."
Selected reader comments follow:
His lawyer, meanwhile, spoke out in defense of Moffat. Kerry Lawrence said the government hasn't accused Moffat of profiting from the alleged scheme, The Associated Press reported. “Not only have they not alleged that, but that definitely did not happen,” Lawrence said. ...
Moffat rose through IBM's ranks with a reputation for cost cutting and job slashing. In fact, a wire service story described him as a “cost cutting maven.” He also spearheaded the sale of IBM's PC division to Lenovo in 2005. The AP picked up on the cost-cutting in Moffat's career as well, noting: "IBM has trumpeted Moffat's ability to slash costs and make the company faster and more efficient, particularly in manufacturing." ...
However, Moffat's career may have come to a stunning close with the allegations that he provided inside information about Sun, IBM and AMD to the insider ring.
The case caused Conrad to question Palmisano's judgment in promoting Moffat. “It is equally disturbing that this person was hand picked by Sam Palmisano to be the next CEO,” Conrad said. “What does this say about Palmisano's judgment in picking this guy as the next leader of IBM? “But remember this is a guy who slashed thousands of jobs,” Conrad added. “That is how you get promoted in the new IBM.”
Lack of comment suggests Big Blue doesn't know what to say. Perhaps the company is paralyzed. Maybe there is disagreement in the executive ranks about how to handle the problem. Maybe Moffat, himself, was the guy who would have helped craft any response but now he's unavailable. Beats me. But it doesn't smell good.
Selected reader comments follow:
Can you imagine the look on his secretary's face after the guard at the front desk who escorted the agents to his office said; "These men are from the FBI and they need to speak with Mr Moffat." She must have told them he was out of the office. The agents then probably asked; Can you reach him by phone?"
Imagine how Moffat must have felt when he heard the man's voice on the other end of the phone say; "This is FBI Special Agent So and So. I have a warrant for your arrest for Conspiracy to commit securities fraud." It's no wonder he was shocked! Wonder what the secretary did when she heard THAT! She probably ran straight into Sam's office..... Talk about stuff hittin the fan!! WOW!
One person who has worked with him describes him as “locked-down, very polished, process-driven”, a classic product of IBM. IBM moved fast after the complaint was filed, putting Mr Moffat on leave and stripping him of his position as a corporate officer. His biography was quietly removed from the company's website. ...
“I don't think it'll make a ripple,” said Bob Djurdjevic, a former IBM executive who now runs a technology consulting firm. Yet the accusations will leave a mark, given the personal trust Mr Palmisano has displayed in Mr Moffat during his own rise through the ranks. Mr Palmisano first came to rely on Mr Moffat in the mid-1990s, when he was put in charge of IBM's struggling PC division and Mr Moffat was handed the job of sorting out manufacturing and distribution. The operational genius he displayed later led Mr Palmisano to name Mr Moffat head of the PC division himself, pushing aside another executive in the process.
Mr. Moffat has retired and "was not terminated" from IBM effective Oct. 31, said his lawyer, Kerry Lawrence. He said that Mr. Moffat, who is free on $2 million bail, retired "to devote his time to defending the charges that have been filed against him." Mr. Moffat had been placed on leave after he was charged with conspiracy in the insider case. Authorities said he discussed coming IBM and Sun Microsystems Corp. earnings announcements with Danielle Chiesi, who worked at New Castle and has been accused of trading on the information. IBM was in talks to buy Sun at the time.
Kerry Lawrence, Mr Moffat's lawyer, said that the executive had "retired from IBM, he was not terminated or fired". He had left the company "so he could devote his time and energy to defending himself against the charges," Mr Lawrence added. He reiterated that the former IBM executive was "still asserting his innocence". Mr Moffat's quick departure, and IBM's decision to characterise the matter as a purely personal one, contrasts sharply with the approach taken by other companies whose executives have been drawn into the insider trading case.
An executive at Intel and a partner at McKinsey, who have also denied insider trading charges, are both on administrative leave, according to the companies. These companies have also been public about launching internal investigations into the affair, as has Akamai, where an executive is alleged to have passed on inside information though not charged. Some of the companies caught up in the affair have also moved to reassure their staff and customers by promising reviews of their ethical codes of conduct for executives.
It was not bad enough that Moffat is outsourcing US jobs at record levels out of the country and treating the employee like chattel but things are far worse than that. People are forced out due to their age; EEOC is protecting the employer, with little recourse for the employee. Sam Palmisano can not make his top line revenue (sales) targets so he is squeezing every dime out of the expense side of the business by giving employment to those who will work cheapest. IBM is becoming a worldwide sweat shop so Sam Palmisano and other top executives can get their performance pay. The most recent financial numbers from a week ago prove that.
Well that leads into what this article is about Bob Moffatt the poster boy for greed and scandal. The FBI describes Moffat as an IBM senior VP executive who secured insider trading information on IBM business partners and other computer companies , such as Sun Microsystems, Advanced Micro Devices and Akamai, and gave that information to a Danielle Chiesi, an executive of New Castle Ventures. ...
The FBI had been watching Moffat's activities for quite some time. Moffat interesting enough, was one of the grand architects of the send the jobs out of the county strategy. What a swell guy, Moffatt appears to be totally without any morals that guide him except the motive of greed.
Yet President Obama has invited Sammy P to Washington to help him figure out how to get more jobs for the US and fix the economy. Does Obama have even the basics of an economic background? Does his staff not read about IBM's layoffs to employ people in under-developed nations where they work for $.20 on the dollar? Obama is ignoring unemployment because his focus in on health-care. Guess he says let ‘em eat cake.
Everything that is written here about their PBC review process is true. Performance based bonuses in my department over the years were nearly non existent; raises even more rare, and ranged from only 1-3% at proposal manager level which didn't even keep up with annual cost of living increases or inflation - despite the fact they had us all working in proposal management support through countless all-nighters, weekends, holidays, piling up UNPAID overtime hand over fist.
My department's "powers that be" stopped paying OT wages in April 2005, promised us we would have more work-life balance in return by not being expected to work but a fraction of the OT hours we had been putting in up to that point, and within a month I was putting in more OT hours than EVER.
At a time when our management kept drumming high utilization numbers into our heads in order to keep our jobs, I stayed and kept taking it. I maintained a weekly spreadsheet of the OT hours I was putting in for the rest of the year (ending with a utilization rate for the year of 101%), had numerous stellar reviews from proposal teams I'd supported, 3 "IBM Thanks Awards" awarded to me by clients, zero negative feedback, and clearly met and exceeded the PBC and IDP goals I'd set for that year - and yet when review time came, my manager DROPPED me from the 2+ rating I'd received (from my previous manager the year before) and gave me a 2. No reason was given for the lower rating, just that my contributions were "satisfactory" and "on par with my peers". Well, I had access to the same utilization spreadsheet my peers were entering their numbers into and I had the second highest utilization average in the department next to the pucker-up king who most everyone knew was padding his numbers to make himself look good because he was a sloppy drunk who worked from home and did a half-a** job (I should know, I had to bail him out on a few occasions and saw some of the documents he had worked on).
To sum it all up, if you aren't the best a**-kisser in the department, they stifle your career and keep you boxed up in a profile of lower pay range (while lying to you about your rate of pay being competitive and on average with your geographic area) and devaluing your contributions with their forked tongued PBC grading methods, in a way I can honestly compare closely to brainwashing into making you believe you are what they say you are, and nothing more
The guy who said there is no recognition or incentive given to the INDIVIDUAL and that everyone at IBM is just a "resource" hit the nail on the head. I slaved away for them until I had high blood pressure, nervous jitters and twitches, patches of hair falling out of my head, and literally gave them my blood sweat and tears for 10 years. I will never get back any of those hours I had to spend away from my family late into the night.
Ball's criticism of IBM layoffs centers around a 2008 Empire State Development Corp. agreement between the company and Gov. David Paterson's office. Under the pact, IBM continues to receive millions of dollars from New York so long as it maintains a minimum number of semiconductor workers at IBM East Fishkill — which it has. In exchange, IBM has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the Albany NanoTech project, where the company and its partners have created clusters of high-paying nanotechnology research, development and manufacturing facilities. Since January, IBM has laid off hundreds of workers in Orange and Dutchess counties. It still employs more than 9,000 workers in the mid-Hudson and remains the region's largest private employer.
|Plan||% Increase||Annual Amount|
|BCBS of Georgia||54.4||$8,004|
|IBM High Ded w/HSA||20.7||$9,732|
|IBM High Ded||27.4||$4,572|
|IBM Medium Ded||10.5||$10,368|
|IBM Low Ded||10.9||$13,860|
And to think three short years ago I was paying, as a retiree, only $275 a month for BCBS and Dental. This sucks.
|Retiree: Self/Spouse (Self plus 1)||Cost per Month||Percent Increase|
|2005 IBM EPO - MVP||$ 93/$326|
|2006 IBM EPO - MVP||$100/$400||7.5 / 22.6|
|2007 IBM EPO - MVP||$117/$503||17.0 / 25.7|
|2008 IBM EPO - MVP||$150/$690||28.2 / 37.1|
|2009 IBM EPO - MVP||$193/$888||28.6 / 28.6|
|2010 IBM EPO - MVP||$246/$988||27.4 / 11.0|
So the Retiree is paying $8904, the full cost of the non-medicare spouse, and $2952 the cost for the non-medicare Self. Add IBM's $7000 and the Self is $9952 and the Self plus 1 equals $18,856 per year. But, as IBM states, they can terminate their generosity at any time.
This despite the fact that our new second line manager came up from Raleigh to meet with us in June, and remarked with surprise, "Wow, I understand some of you were worried your jobs might go away when you got moved into our organization. I had no idea you would think that. I'm sorry you were so upset. We have absolutely no plans to make any changes here in with your jobs"
That was in June. Funnily enough when he called the meeting in October to tell us our jobs are going to IBM India he didn't fly up to meet with us face-to-face but did it via a telephone conference call.
Mr. Gump and some 21,000 other salaried workers and retirees are furious that their roughly 46,000 union co-workers at Delphi have had their benefits restored, apparently with government largesse, and they have not. “They've been relatively well taken care of,” he said. “But I'm being thrown out with yesterday's trash.”
IBM's expanded support for primary care will lower costs for employees by eliminating co-payment or co-insurance any time that they, or covered family members, receive care from an in-network primary care doctor. It enhances IBM's coverage for preventive or "wellness" visits, such as yearly check-ups, which began in 2006. The new benefit will apply to all IBM-self insured medical plan options, which currently cover about 80 percent of IBM employees in the U.S. Other employees participate in HMOs, which typically provide most, but not all, preventive and primary services at low or no cost after payment of premiums.
From what I've read, the only copay that has been removed by this new announcement is the copay to your PCP for the doctor's part of the visit. You'll still have to pay copays on any actual procedures and on labs and tests. AND you'll need to pay copays if you see any specialists. It's only your primary physician services that are "free". In my family's case, the increase in my monthly premium exceeds the amount I spend on my primary physician co-pays.
In addition, the annual deductible on PPO is up, $130/person (almost 17%)! And the copays for the Rx drugs is way up for those on long term Rx. While the percentages are the same, the caps are up as much as $80 per fill if you are taking an expensive drug.
This is not a gift from IBM, this is a PR ploy. Look good to employees, look good in press, look good to White House....Just don't look too close.
As for which plan you should sign up for, there is no simple answer. You really need to look at what your family's situation is. I always spend some time examining what we've spent on various medical expenses the last few years and try to project what is likely in the next year....then calculate the costs plus premiums to see how things compare out.
As was stated very aptly in "Entrepreneur magazine" last month, "any company that keeps talking about innovation isn't really innovative, it's just trying to look innovative for marketing purposes". That describes IBM to a tee.
In response to your question, no, I'm not saying that their numbers are wrong, just their analysis. Actually, their numbers may well be wrong--economic forecasting was invented to make astrology look good, to paraphrase John Kenneth Galbraith--but I'm not in a position to argue.) I've read articles with relatively simple fixes to previous generations' fiscal failures (both public and private pensions and retirement health plans: most companies are in as deep as social security and medicare, they just don't cover as many people).
The flaw in their analysis is that they start with the Reagan bias that government isn't part of the solution and use steady-state numbers to scare people.
Lastly, shouting about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid make good politics for the right. It plays to their theme of leaving everything to profit-making enterprises and it scares people about budget deficits and the world their children will inherit. But it's disingenuous. We know that government can be more efficient than the private sector and can administer programs that don't try to eliminate people from their rolls so they can goose profits. And we spend trillions of dollars on war and war equipment without a peep from Republicans (with one exception that I know of: Ron Paul, who isn't a real Republican). Military spending is a classic example of an inflation driver: like any consumption, you spend money to build something that you're going to use up (or blow up in this case) and so we have the same number of dollars now chancing fewer goods. We also spend trillions of dollars on bank bailouts with few strings attached (none during Bush, few during Obama) and little commitment to prevent it from happening again; and this is a bipartisan failure.) And Republicans argue that not only do we not have the money for heath insurance for every American but we also don't have the money to prevent catastrophic results--that our children will inherit--of climate change.
It's all a game to keep us distracted sniping at each other while the incumbent masters of the universe continue to cash in. We're all ready for pitchforks, we just don't agree upon whom to skewer. So, my next project is to work on getting money out of our political system...the first prerequisite for good government and rational debate. I'm going back to trying to figure out if there's a cheaper IBM option that'll work for my wife and me. Cheers, Lee
"Despite decades of complaints that the United States does not have enough scientists and engineers, the data show our high schools and colleges are providing an ample supply of graduates," said study co-author Hal Salzman, a public policy professor at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. "It is now up to science and technology firms to attract the best and the brightest graduates to come work for them." ...
The researchers' conclusions suggest that making careers in STEM fields more attractive—through higher salaries, for example—could help employers solve recruiting problems for top talent. "Highly qualified students may be choosing a non-STEM job because it pays better, offers a more stable professional career, and/or is perceived as less exposed to competition from low-wage economies," reads the report. Employers such as Microsoft (MSFT), however, argue that the problem of attracting talent would not be solved by raising pay but rather by adding more of the best candidates to the talent pipeline. Last March, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates testified before the House Committee on Science and Technology and said salaries are not the problem when his company tries to recruit top scientists and engineers. "It's not an issue of raising wages. These jobs are very, very, very high-paying jobs," he said.
Also, the formularies are so restrictive, in many cases, that if you take more than one branded drug you have a hard time finding a plan that gets you covered. Or, if you are like me, where I have to switch every half year or so from Aciphex to Nexium to Prevacid to Protonix in order to avoid building up a tolerance, it is next to impossible to find an acceptable formulary.
Frustration and anger here.
My wife and I are trying the Canada drugs path. We have each ordered a prescription fill from a Canada pharmacy. Hers is Lipitor. Mine is Aciphex. In the U.S., neither of these medicines is available as a generic. In Canada, both are. We are going to try them as generics, and if there are problems, we will order the branded versions.
Here will be our strategy for 2010: Sign-up for the most inexpensive Part D drug plan that we can find. By having a Part D plan, we stay in the system, so that no future penalties are assessed. And, we get the catastrophic coverage.
Buy our U.S.-available generics through the Part D drug plans, Costco, or Walmart, whichever is least expensive. Often we find that Costco cash is as cheap as anything.
Buy our branded medicines through a Canadian pharmacy. If a non-U.S. generic version is available and works, we will buy it. Example: Lipitor generic. If the generic does not work, we will buy the branded version.
Here is an example of pricing: Aciphex U.S. price is about $5/pill, with a typical co-pay of $100 and an annual Part D drug plan deductible of $300. So, an annual supply of this drug, branded, U.S. sourced, is $400 cash out of pocket, plus monthly Part D premiums. An annual supply of generic Aciphex, Canada sourced, is $200. An annual supply of branded Aciphex, Canada sourced, is $400.
So cash out of pocket is break-even, worst case. And this example does not reflect the savings we will have because we will be able to find a cheap Part D monthly premium, compared to the monthly premium of a plan that has our formulary.
The advantages of this plan:
I cannot tell you at this point that we have found good drugs and a good Canada supplier, but here is a website that supposedly lists prices from nothing but reputable sellers: http://www.pharmacychecker.com/ Do your own research on reputable pharmacies.
As I said earlier, my wife and I are in the middle of doing a trial with Blue Sky Drugs. Generic Lipitor and Aciphex are on order.
The order process is simple, simpler than ordering through a U.S. mail order pharmacy. I ordered the pills using the on-line form. At the end of the process, I received a printable fax cover sheet. I printed the cover sheet and took it to a fax facility, along with the prescription, and faxed them to Blue Sky. About an hour later, a representative called me and verified all my personal information and told me that the generic Lipitor will be shipped from Switzerland and the generic manufacturer is Cipla Pharmaceuticals (I already knew this, and had checked to make sure that Cipla is a quality supplier (in India) and they are).
What I expect: I think the generic Lipitor will be fine. This is an easy pill to duplicate, just like Zocor/simvastatin. My wife will go in and get a blood panel done after 90 days to verify. If there is any problem, we will go to Plan B, which will be to re-order, but specifying Brand.
I think the generic Aciphex is dicier. The Aciphex chemical is not the problem. Aciphex has to pass through the stomach and be absorbed in the gut, so there is a special acid-resisting, time release mechanism in branded version. I am not optimistic that the generic will work well. If not, Plan B.
Repeat after me: I'm mad as hell, and I'm not taking it anymore!! :-) Torbill
It is logical for IBM to retain local talents if they can transfer head counts among the groups. I know it's hard since I could not find any offer. :) But the system is very logical. You just need to know and play along. P. S. I am curious though. Do you have an option to say, "I don't want to be extended, I want to be done 30 days from now to take my money and run (for a better job)". Will you still receive your package? Or they make you to forfeit the package if you decline the extension? Just curious, you know... -Drgunzet-
Alliance reply: Stan thanks for sharing your opinion. As you are probably aware, opinion on this falls on both sides. Many members and employees believe this is an exec that got caught and that other executives are "probably" doing the same type of unethical or "possibly" illegal actions. We have received emails from employees and ex-employees who have raised some interesting allegations. We have chosen not to post what we received because they are unproven. It is also clear that the "fear" that many employees report, feel working in IBM, come from the executives lack of respect or empathy for what employees are going through. Hopefully this will be a wake up call for them, but if there is corruption at the highest levels of IBM, then those executives must go and be replaced by executives who value success of the company and the employees over success in their bank accounts. We didn't post the call to investigate lightly, and are fully aware of the ramifications. We believe it is time to question the direction the executives are going and where they are taking the company.
I fully agree that it is high time all remaining IBMers unionize against the tyranny being perpetrated on IBM employees and IBM customers by IBM executives who are deeply steeped in insatiable greed. We have laws against rape in this country, however, it's very unfortunate that senior executives can do the same thing to a once great company, and do so with impunity (from the Latin"impunitas," meaning "without punishment"). I am convinced that a unionized IBM workforce is the only hope for IBM -- for without a union the senior executive team will continue to rape and plunder IBM at the expense of IBM's employees and customers, leaving behind a wasteland no one will want to work in. So if you value your job, and you have any respect for the IBM that once was, then rally behind the union and help keep IBM from going off the edge of the precipice it is already teetering on. -Glad2BeGone-
Buffalo Bill Cody explained that when hunting Buffalo you shoot the rear most Buffalo first. The ones in front never notice so they just stand there and do nothing while you shoot the next and so on. With a little repositioning you can shoot the whole herd and they never try to run. I guess it works the same way with IBMers. When will the herd wake up?? Organize before its too late people. One by one your falling and no one but the hunters seem to notice. Remember, when you are the only Buffalo left, you may very well be the first but you are also the last and the next bullet from managements' rifle will certainly be yours.-Exodus2007-
The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California, said the sharp rise in premiums for small businesses offered the latest evidence that Congress must act swiftly on health care legislation. “This underlines the urgent need for health insurance reform, including a public option,” she said in an interview. “We need to have competition for the insurance companies to keep premiums down.”
Insurers say there is no need for a government-run insurance plan and argue that their health plans are already responsible for many of the initiatives, like programs to coordinate care for chronic conditions, that ultimately lower costs. Insurers' “profits are not responsible for increased health care costs,” said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for the industry's trade group, America's Health Insurance Plans.
And why not have that type of a system that has lower overhead, lower costs and you don't have to deal with the 30% of profits and overhead that insurance companies take. So we compiled this list largely to point a bright light on some of the hypocrisy of this debate, but also I hope it gets people thinking—if Medicare is good enough for 151 members of Congress, why shouldn't a program like it be created for those who want to go out and buy insurance?
Like the bill that will probably emerge from Congress, the Massachusetts reform mainly relies on a combination of regulation and subsidies to chivy a mostly private system into providing near-universal coverage. It is, to be frank, a bit of a Rube Goldberg device — a complicated way of achieving something that could have been done much more simply with a Medicare-type program. Yet it has gone a long way toward achieving the goal of health insurance for all, although it's not quite there: according to state estimates, only 2.6 percent of residents remain uninsured. ...
So national reform's chances will be better if it contains elements lacking in Massachusetts — in particular, a real public option to keep insurers honest (and fend off charges that the individual mandate is just an insurance-industry profit grab). We can only hope that reports that the Obama administration is trying to block a public option are overblown.
Still, if the Massachusetts experience is any guide, health care reform will have broad public support once it's in place and the scare stories are proved false. The new health care system will be criticized; people will demand changes and improvements; but only a small minority will want reform reversed. This thing is going to work.
So, if you think that people who can't afford insurance should go without health care (or more correctly, go without adequate health care and what health care they do get is the most expensive and least effective kind offered by hospital emergency rooms at our expense) then you're at least marginally consistent in your views about the costs and the goal.
But if you're opposed to the "government run" public option because it'll cost the taxpayers too much money or the government just can't do anything well, that's just plain wrong. The public option is--as has been said--a way to reduce the costs in the system largely by having a competing program that doesn't waste 25-30% of the insurance dollar on profits, huge bonuses and, mostly, administrative overhead. Medicare has no profit and its administrative overhead is in the range of 3%. It should have a slightly higher admin overhead to do a better job of addressing fraud. Anyway, the subsidy costs will be paid for those under various income levels depending on which bill you're examining regardless of the individual CHOICE of public or private insurance. (BTW, the NCPA is "nonpartisan" but with a decidedly conservative bias.)
Insurance, by definition, is a redistribution of income from those who have it to those who need it, e.g., you pay fire insurance so someone--perhaps you--can have the money if they need it. So let's dispense with the nonsense and agree that we all--or almost all--believe in the idea of insurance which is redistribution of income. The only issues at hand are (1) how do we get the most cost-effective system and, a separate issue, (2) who will participate in the pool and with how much help from the taxpayers. The costs are associated with #2; the savings are associated with #1.
BTW, there's a terrific new ad with Heather Graham as the "public option" coming to a media market near you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ju8LZkkQgGM&feature=channel. My two cents.
P.S. If you hate public health insurance, are you not using your medicare benefits? It's ironic that some of the most ardent defenders of private insurance companies are on the public insurance plan called Medicare. Which, BTW, is in financial difficulty not because it's public--as I said, its overhead is far lower than private insurance--but because of the subsidies to private insurers for Medicare Advantage programs and subsidies to those senior citizens who didn't pay enough during their working life (their premiums) to pay for their expenses.
The group and its subsidiaries collected more than $650 million in royalties and other fees last year from the sale of insurance policies, credit cards and other products that carry the AARP name, accounting for the majority of its $1.14 billion in revenue, according to federal tax records. It does not directly sell insurance policies but lends its name to plans in exchange for a tax-exempt cut of the premiums.
I found out my sister, in her 60s' had to declare bankruptcy to pay off $750,000 in medical bills above the $250,000 Cap. She was a public employee in Nevada with supposedly good health benefits. All their savings like IRA's were eaten away by the bankruptcy when her husband had major surgeries over a five year period. The only income they have is their Defined Benefit pensions with a COLA, protected by a Union, of 75% of their final salaries working for the state of Nevada.
Thank goodness for their Defined Benefit plans with a COLA, otherwise, they would be working till they die. Pray that you get to age 65 before any health issues and are eligible for the government run socialistic Medicare health plan. We are all "one major illness away from bankruptcy" with our "For Profit Health Care system.
The people who really have to make up their minds, then, are those in between, the self-proclaimed centrists. The odd thing about this group is that while its members are clearly uncomfortable with the idea of passing health care reform, they're having a hard time explaining exactly what their problem is. Or to be more precise and less polite, they have been attacking proposed legislation for doing things it doesn't and for not doing things it does.
Thus, Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut says, “I want to be able to vote for a health bill, but my top concern is the deficit.” That would be a serious objection to the proposals currently on the table if they would, in fact, increase the deficit. But they wouldn't, at least according to the Congressional Budget Office, which estimates that the House bill, in particular, would actually reduce the deficit by $100 billion over the next decade.
"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 Wall Street colossus has set aside nearly $17 billion to pay end-of-year bonuses to its bankers, with the biggest chunk going to top executives and the casino dealers in Goldman's trading department, where exotic, high-risk betting games are played.
Yes, these are the same financial whizzes whose exotic investments turned toxic last year, crashing America's real economy and hurting millions of regular folks who weren't in on the game. Indeed Goldman remains in the game today only because it was bailed out with our tax money – Goldman got $22.9 billion in cash from us, plus many billions more in cheap federal loans and government guarantees. With this public support, the bankers can now lavish bonuses on themselves.
So, you see, their problem is one of public perception: they are widely viewed as immoral, greedy banksters. This perception hurts their feelings, so to buff their image the ruling poobahs at Goldman have announced that the bank will magnanimously donate $200 million to the bank's own charitable foundation, hoping that you and I will applaud this generosity and show them some love.
Generosity? Two hundred million is less than two percent of the bonus money they're grabbing! They think that's going to win us over? Let's help them out. What do you think these clueless narcissists could do to earn any real appreciation from the American people? Send your ideas to email@example.com, and we'll forward them to Goldman's CEO. We'll also select the three best ideas, with the winners getting a free one-year subscription to the Hightower Lowdown monthly newsletter.
Hinkley's fortunes flow with those of the moneyed elites who always seem to do well. So, why is this respected, 80-year-old firm foundering? Debt. Not debt caused by its own spending – indeed, the family-owned enterprise has always been financially cautious. But that responsible ethic changed a dozen years ago when Hinkley was bought out by Bain Willard, a private equity outfit based in Boston.
Private equity firms are roving speculators that borrow huge sums of money to take over a business, squeeze the operation, then flip it to another buyer for a fat profit. Thus, Hinkley was burdened with heavy interest payments that had to be paid on the money that Bain Willard borrowed to buy it.
Sure enough, a year later, Bain Willard sold a majority share of Hinkley to another equity outfit that paid double the original purchase price – again with borrowed money, stacking even more debt on the boat builder's deck. Then, with Wall Street's collapse, sales slipped. Still, Hinkley could've weathered the storm – but, it had those big debt payments pulling it down.
The corporate owner has now cut Hinkley's workforce in half, so it can keep making those debt payments. Three hundred skilled get stiffed, faraway rich investors get paid. And now, 300 local families face debt problems of their own – on their own. As one longtime employee said after getting her pink slip in July, "We have suffered from a double impact: the economic downturn and corporate greed!"
At the risk of being called a socialist, which seems to be a popular maligning label these days, let me remind readers that the government funds that have bailed out the seven failing companies affected by the Fed action is our money—hard-earned taxpayer dollars. We have a right to expect to get value for our money, which means paying for responsible leadership. Yes, we are required to pay. So, where can Washington turn to for good ideas?
There are reasonable executive compensation programs in practice that can serve as a model for a better mousetrap. Take a look at Whole Foods (WFMI) as one example. Its senior executives' pay is limited to no more than 19 times the average worker wage, and it's built a transparent performance model where each employee has access to compensation data for every other colleague. Teams understand their own responsibilities and those of other teams, and performance data is shared throughout the organization. This is accountability in action. Are Whole Foods' leaders just smarter than everyone else? Perhaps. It is more likely that they are driven by a leadership belief system that welcomes responsibility along with reward. In the decades that I've worked with leaders, some fundamental tenets have guided the behaviors of the best among them. These are deeply held operating principles that it might serve us well to revisit as we move forward in this still-challenging economy:...
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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