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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—July 31, 2010

  • Economic Times (India): IBM, Accenture, EDS moving more jobs to offshore locations. Excerpt: : Transnational technology majors are moving more jobs to offshore locations despite the negative rhetoric and move to spike tax sops. The offshore leverage for firms like IBM, Accenture & EDS, front-end delivery staff in offshore centres as a percentage of workforce, has risen from 25-30% in 2007 to 35-40% in 2009, Everest Research Institute says in a report on global sourcing trends.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: IBM earnings up 13%" by "celticht32". Full excerpt: Not sure how ISSW can loose more people... according to some reliable people
    inside still they can't fill 30% of their work because they don't have the people anymore...Chris.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: IBM earnings up 13%" by "big.bertha92". Full excerpt: I agree Chris. It's Hire, Hire, Hire! Can't staff projects because not enough employees! Can't get people to answer their external ads? So sad, too bad! Guess the last lay off was terribly ill conceived. Laid Off in 2009? Come back as a supplemental or contractor!!! IBM is so clever. Executive screaming at lower levels to get to it -- Hire, Staff up and get Bodies!

    Treating people like used tissues is not a way for Corporations to run their business - and people will walk and ARE walking right out the door with better offers, (way) better job security and better working conditions. What kind of loser leaders does IBM have? It's no wonder the titanic is sinking.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: IBM earnings up 13%" by "celticht32". Full excerpt: Not sure how ISSW can loose more people... according to some reliable people inside still they can't fill 30% of their work because they don't have the people anymore... Chris
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: IBM earnings up 13%" by "cybertramp66". Full excerpt: Yeah, Palmisano will be long gone by the day of reckoning for this disastrous 'dump experience then hire cheap' policy. It drives a short term gain in profits by paying lower wages, but the brain drain will come to roost and haunt the business. Typical multi-national CEO thinking. They are not building companies for the long term. They are looting them in the short term.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: IBM earnings up 13%" by "cybertramp66". Full excerpt: Yeah, Services revenue was down 19%. I wonder if that is a statement of the down economy or of customer satisfaction with the new services model (a local salesperson, backed by fresh DeVry Univ grads in far flung locations)? And now with 2Q SEC filings out of the way, maybe the expected gutting of the pension is next up. Followed by wave 2 of 2010 layoffs with more people forced into early retirement with weakened pension choice. Time will tell.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: IBM earnings up 13%" by "bits_bytes_and_bugs". Full excerpt: Just a slight correction - According to Mike Daniels' 2Q quarter results discussion, outsourcing signings were down 19%. That's a bit different than the whole services business.

    I'm certain that the many failures reported in the trade press such as the State of Indiana, State of Texas and some others elsewhere are impacting IBM's business.

    IBM execs should be doing something about IBM's inability to deliver quality services with under-skilled, over-utilized, inexperienced global resources.

    They have ignored us employees who have sounded the alarm, but now they are ignoring the trade press. How many major disasters reported in the press does it take to wake up executives that their GR strategy and implementation is a colossal failure.

    However, it appears IBM execs are rearranging their deck chairs on the Titanic comparing their bonuses rather than steering the ship to a much better course.

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "IBM Poughkeepsie Mainframe folks to train 300 Chinese employees" by "Paul S". Full excerpt: My friend in System z development was told by his manager that folks in zOS (the operating system, descendent of the original IBM 360 Operating System), are to train 300 Chinese employees. "Nobody is losing their job" said the manager. We know better of course. The rationale she repeated was that technical schools in the USA are not turning out sufficient computer science and information science graduates to cover the projected retirements of many of the zOS development team.

    It's true that many of these employees are over 50 and even over 60. I know many of them personally. But do we have to constantly hear the LIE that there are insufficient US personnel to handle future staffing needs? We know these people are training their lower-wage replacements. We were told in 2004 that IBM was worried about the aging of the mainframe group. George Bush constantly repeated the mantra that American employees were losing their jobs because of lack of skill and needed retraining. Thanks for being a corporate shill, Mr. President.

    This is not a rumor, this was discussed recently by management at IBM Poughkeepsie. You can write your congressman and keep on them that companies like IBM that accept stimulus funds are proceeding at a rapid pace in outsourcing the American workforce.

    The prosperity of the 20th Century came from the sharing of some of the corporate wealth with the employee. People consumed both goods and leisure and stimulated the economy causing more growth and corporate prosperity. The 3rd world employee making 1/8th the American salary will not stimulate the economy as much. Revenues will continue to fall, but profits will rise. Wealth will concentrate even more.

    IBM in the USA will become project managers and VPs, and more administrative in nature and of course much smaller in numbers, numbers no longer published.

    But we can continue to organize and fight and of course, join the IBM Alliance. zOS development is the holy grail of IBM Software Engineering, an area where some of the brightest minds and most dedicated souls have plied their excellent craft for decades. It is estimated that it take 10 years to become an accomplished mainframe programmer. Good luck to the young people in China, and let's hope they continue to push for higher wages, better working conditions and a better standard of living in their country. Meanwhile, write your congressman. I promise I will. A 26-yr Engineer

  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: IBM Poughkeepsie Mainframe folks to train 300 Chinese employees" by "offshoredusa". Full excerpt: Hmmm, Not enough mainframe professionals in the US? I bet if you check the number of RA'd employees in the last 3 years you will find all that you need. Many of which trained their replacements in India and Brazil. Oh, and by the way...our IBM replacements are being told that the reason for the work being shift to them is because we are retiring. This is a true statement from one of my trainees before I was 'retired'.

    Maybe what management really means is that there are not enough mainframe folks in the US who are willing to work 50 hours a week for $15K a year. Normally I would agree with Paul that we should write our congressmen, but does anyone really think our government will do anything about this? Especially since IBM and most large corporations control them. Labor solidarity is the only way to stop this.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Sept 1 is the new announcement date" by "second_choicer". Full excerpt: This just leaked from IBM Legal. The much anticipated announcement of Retirement plan changes affecting 30+ year employees on the "prior plan" is undergoing 'modifications' by IBM legal and will be announced Sept. 1. Wish I had more details. This will devastate our department. But at this point I have to think about my future. Good luck to all affected.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: Sept 1 is the new announcement date" by "art_vandalay_". Full excerpt: Interesting that you would word it that way. The employees that are 30+ years really don't have much to lose. They have gained most of their planned pension and have qualified for the medical dollars (FHA.) It would be the employees that are on the old plan that do not have 30 years (and are under 55) that would take the greatest hit. Of course, that is assuming it is a cash balance conversion. Maybe that is what you meant to say.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: Sept 1 is the new announcement date" by "bits_bytes_and_bugs". Full excerpt: Since the execs don't care about the adverse impacts to your clients, there is no reason why you shouldn't let the natural consequences of their decisions to occur.

    Just have an exit plan ready to execute and prepare to watch IBM's demise from the sidelines. Until then, take those optional holidays and vacation days and get as much free internal education as you can. It's an excellent time to do any expensive medical work you need done, but have deferred such as knee and shoulder replacements etc.

    Let me be the first to state that the four wannabees in line are a miserably mediocre group, so expect more of the same or an outsider to come in as Sam's replacement.

  • Information Week: Top Indian CEO: Most American Grads Are 'Unemployable'. By Rob Preston. Excerpts: OK, before you get your knickers in a twist, let's put the CEO's comments into context. Vineet Nayar, the highly respected CEO of HCL Technologies, one of India's hottest IT services vendors, was speaking this morning in New York City to an audience of about 50 customers and partners when he related a recent experience with an education official in a large U.S. state.

    The official wanted to know why HCL, a $2.5 billion (revenue) company with more than 3,000 people across 21 offices in 15 states, wasn't hiring more people in his state. Vineet's short answer: because most American college grads are "unemployable." (In fairness to HCL, the company recently announced plans to open a delivery center in another state, North Carolina, and invest $3.2 million and hire more than 500 employees there over the next five years under a Job Development Investment Grant.)

    Many American grads looking to enter the tech field are preoccupied with getting rich, Vineet said. They're far less inclined than students from developing countries like India, China, Brazil, South Africa, and Ireland to spend their time learning the "boring" details of tech process, methodology, and tools--ITIL, Six Sigma, and the like.

    As a result, Vineet said, most Americans are just too expensive to train--despite the Indian IT industry's reputation for having the most exhaustive boot camps in the world. To some extent, he said, students from other highly developed countries fall into the same rut. ...

    The cynical among you will counter that some American students, having seen tech jobs move to lower-wage countries or go to H1-B visa holders, have lost their appetite for process-oriented IT professions. But if this country's economic future is indeed rooted in technology--whether in health care, energy, transportation, or the tech industries themselves--then the status quo won't do.

  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • IBM Services Delivery Manager: (Current Employee) "Great employer, but it's all about who you know..."Pros: Very comfortable environment with lots of flexibility. Great flexible benefits. Generally nice people. Access to all the information and people you need. Training and career move opportunities. Cons: Complicated organization that relies entirely on who you know. Poor salary increase opportunities. Lots of processes that you're supposed to know and follow. Too many people need to be involved for simple things. Promotion based on your ability to manage and leverage your network. Advice to Senior Management: The organization would certainly benefit from a more flexible way to reward performances, with career and salary increase opportunities, fast tracks, etc. Most of the talented people tend to leave the company because unnoticed by senior management.
    • IBM Anonymous in Burlington, VT: (Current Employee) "Ship out to Move Up." Pros: Flexible work hours (can be a con even though it's 'promoted'). Usually OT is allowed if you're non-salaried (and definitely encouraged if you are salaried), paid sick time, possibility of bonus, 401K, health and dental probably still on the 'cheap' side for the employee out of pocket if compared to other jobs in the area.

      Cons: You come in at whatever pay you negotiated (or didn't). After that, especially since 2001, you would be very fortunate to see 3% raises. Half of any given department receives zero increase. Promotions have become so rare, there is much talk of leaving altogether (from all but those who only have a couple/few years left). I personally have made amazing improvements (yes, I'm blowing my own horn here) and positive changes that have amounted to only one, that number again is One, promotion. I've done the work of an engineer for most of my time here as a tech and recently have been given a new job. It's purely a lateral move with more of the same promise of 'the possibility of movement'. I've even had my schooling paid for, and so now (over a year) have been basically throwing away at least $30K a year by not moving to an engineering position. But internally, it would be a pittance of a raise even if I was offered a move to engineering. So what does IBM want? Something for nothing. And then more of the same, for even less. "Take what we give you, or leave."

      Advice to Senior Management: What can I advise? They know what they're doing. It's a working model that saves them money and gets them more bang for the bucks they spend. The employee has fallen far out of focus. But there's a but. In other areas of IBM, the review will be quite the opposite. Certain areas, the area I chose to work in being one, are 'fortunate to have jobs'. Other areas thrive and these have folks who would speak well of IBM. I'd like to think IBM would be of the "One Team" approach, but they fall short by a long distance, when it comes to this depressed manufacturing plant.

    • IBM Applications Systems Analyst in New York, NY: (Current Employee) "IBM NEW YORK -analyst" Pros: Good to get a couple of years experience but after that move on. Cons: IBM is focused on cost cutting and unless you have a much needed specialty they are not interested in career employees in US since they can pay global resources much less. They even hire contractors in other countries to keep cost down. So should be viewed as short term employment. Advice to Senior Management: Would be nice if management viewed employees as resources rather than costs but that is unlikely to change.
    • IBM Software Engineer in Austin, TX: (Current Employee) "Not bad, but not great." Pros: You have access to lots of up to date technology. There are a lot of competent people that work at IBM. You can gain a lot of valuable experience in the industry. The benefits are decent, and the work hours are very flexible. Cons: Management is very stingy with salary increases and promotions. The performance review process (PBCs) is very opaque and and seemingly random. You are given very vague feedback from management on the type of work expected from you and your performance relative to your peers. Advice to Senior Management: Work harder to motivate and engage employees. Have a clearer process for obtaining promotions and raises. Provide more relevant feedback regarding job performance and expectations.
    • IBM IT Specialist: (Past Employee - 2010) "Not your Dad's IBM." Pros: The work life balance is good, especially if you work from home. Time off is given when you need it. It was easy to start friendships as coworkers are easy to get along with. (we were all in the misery together) Cons: Like the headline says, IBM is just not the place it used to be. The pay is horrible, the bonuses are even worse. The executives seem to be even greedier swallowing up what little pay there is. There is no respect anymore for the employees. I worked there for over 10 years and I knew it had changed, before I started, I just wasn't expecting it to hit rock-bottom. There is no room for growth since they are way too middle heavy. Advice to Senior Management: Pay attention to the employees more. They tend to know better how to run the business then you do. Start rewarding the employees that make the contributions by stop lining your pockets with more pay and benefits.
    • IBM Anonymous: (Current Employee) "Race to cut costs." Pros: Things good about IBM: flexible schedules, smart and nice people, interesting projects and technologies, variety of work. Good name on resume. Cons: IBM is in a race to reduce costs by sending as much labor to low cost countries as fast as possible. If they cannot grow revenue, they will cut costs to make sure earnings are met. Advice to Senior Management: Share a little of the record earnings and profits with the worker bees. Depressing to hear IBM having record cash flows yet no raises.
    • IBM Help Desk in Sydney (Australia): (Past Employee - 2008) "Good on your resume but move on." Pros: Large company to make decent contacts. Great first line managers in general. Cons: Departments were very silo like, you would hear 'its not my job' plenty. Pay not great and unbalanced/male dominated. Work life balance depended on which department you were in, over all terrible work life balance. Many times client facing roles were understaffed. Executive level compensation excessive. Executives had no common ground with front line staff or their leaders. High rates of outsourcing to countries such as India. In some departments the inter office politics was terrible. In one department a thank you came in the form of eating pizza at your desk while taking calls. Advice to Senior Management: Upper level management: Cut your trips to the Bahamas and excessive bonus pay and treat hard working people with more pay, training and dignity.
    • IBM Senior Consultant in Washington, DC: (Past Employee - 2010) "Consultant." Pros: Resume booster. High starting salary. Work experience. Cons: Horrible senior management. Job security sucks. No pay increases. Lack of promotions. Ego driven coworkers. Performance system is a joke (PBC, PA, etc). Performance reviews are unfair. Utilization targets unrealistic. Overseas shipment of jobs. Too many H1-B visa workers. Management is very dishonest. Some of the project work is crap. Advice to Senior Management: Value your employees. Without your employees there would be no IBM. Approach employees issues with an open mind and be fair.
    • IBM Anonymous: (Current Employee) "Good opportunities...No reward for your work." Pros: Good benefits, decent amount of time off, opportunities to work on latest and greatest technologies, great people to work with, diverse, high profile clients, very visible projects. Cons: Too many hours, too much travel, no sense of stability, rarely if ever see your management, feel more like another number than a person, treated like a body than a person sometimes, given old/slow laptop as your main tool when managers get the best for their power point slides and spread sheets. Advice to Senior Management: When people are away from their families all the time, working long hours and performing above and beyond expectations, it might be nice to reward them for the effor...and I don't mean buying donuts for everyone.
    • IBM IT Specialist: (Past Employee - 2008) "Disappointed!" Pros: You can work from home. New employees are allowed to take 4 weeks of vacation. It's easy to get into the company if you have had an internship or a co-op with them. Cons: Even though you are allowed to work from home, you really don't have time to relax. They make you work like crazy! Expect to not have a life outside of work. My teamlead treated me like crap. There was no mentor assigned to me. I was a recent graduate and I was expected to know everything! If you are unable to do a task, they insult you badly. Advice to Senior Management: Always remember the time when you started your career. Take some leadership courses! Don't treat your team like they are robots!
    • IBM Anonymous: (Past Employee - 2008) "Depends on your team." Pros: The work environment is surprisingly flexible, which makes IBM an ideal employer for people with families. Ample time off, a sincere effort to promote work/life balance stems from the top down (many people work from home), and supportive staff. Bureaucratic systems, although a pain to deal with, support the effective and relatively smooth running of the organization. Many training opportunities. Cons: Your experience is wholly dependent upon which group you are in. It can be difficult to change groups and movement within the organization is often based on who you know. Advice to Senior Management: Facilitate movement between groups; continue to be a leader in the area of work/life balance; continue to focus on professional development and support in-person training opportunities
    • IBM Senior Developer in San Jose, CA: (Current Employee) "IBM is in its own world." Pros: IBM training program is great. Cons: They asked you to train people offshore, once you are done with the skills transfer, you are laid off. Advice to Senior Management: How can IBM get all the corporate tax credit but they keep that money and laid offs US workers? IBM moves job to India/China where the cost is 1/8 or 1/3 cheaper.
    • IBM Sales Manager in London, England (United Kingdom): (Past Employee - 2008) "Great place." Pros: Good opportunity to learn and earn. Good for your career. Learn and move on. Decent money but value is for future. Cons: Ocean of people, you will be lost. Need to have a godfather. It's a people process and papers company. Advice to Senior Management: Please start sharing information with people. Change the entire HR; they are some useless people thinking as if they have reached peak of there career and any one joining new should kiss there feet.
New on the Alliance@IBM Site
  • To Alliance@IBM supporters: The Alliance is the only organization that advocates and supports IBM employees and ex-employees. In fact, there are few like it in the Information Technology field. It is always difficult to keep an organization like this alive, but as a supporter you know how important it is that we exist. We are calling on you today to help keep us alive another year by joining as a member or associate member. See our online forms below. As our membership has dropped, it is imperative that we gain new members or this organization and web site will cease to exist. Help us keep our organizing and advocacy work alive!
  • General Visitor Comments: Due to a lack of membership growth the comment sections will be closed until we see sufficient growth in full membership, associate membership or donations. Many of you that visit our site have not yet joined, but seem to value its existence. The only comment section that will remain open will be Job Cuts Reports. If you have information that you want the Alliance to know about please send to ibmunionalliance@gmail.com. Information of importance will be put on the front page of this web site. To join go here: Join The Alliance! or here: Join The Alliance!
  • Job Cut Reports
    • Comment 7/27/10: People are walking away, as I did last month after 10 years of BS. With all due respect to the Alliance, many of us have given up on changing Big Blue, because they have clearly given up on us. There's a time to cut your losses and leave, and for a lot of us that time is now. -So Long-
    • Comment 7/28/10: With regards to the IBM/State of Texas (SOT) contract -- I worked that contract for 1 year. I worked an average of 58 hours per week and that was not enough. I was told unless I was working at least 60 hours per week, I could not complain. The equipment the State has is ancient (11 year old tape libraries, 9 year old backup servers, etc), the equipment often is not under maintenance contract (SOT says IBM is responsible, IBM says SOT). Shortly before I left, the work was being transferred to Boulder without the state's knowledge. The state caught on and demanded IBM stop - IBM didn't. They started RA'ing the Texas people and replacing with Boulder ppl. The FTE sizing for the team I worked with was over 120 people, there were less than 40 when I joined the team. That account was living hell and I was told that was the "new IBM." I was offered another position by my 2nd line manager, with the understanding that I could not move to Boulder. I was told the new position was not transferring. I was RA'ed in 6 months after leaving SOT because my new job was -- you guessed it -- being transferred to Boulder and I couldn't/wouldn't move. -Former SOT'er-
    • Comment 7/28/10: soter Same thing happened to me on the Texas contract. I did not move to Boulder and I too was RAed -ana-
    • Comment 7/29/10: Regarding State of Texas, I know of at least 4 project managers who worked on the contract for years 1, 2 who were removed from contract without notice to Texas and then RA'd. I heard IBM has been pulling off resources like crazy last six months leaving no account experienced managers to provide communications, oversight or direction. They do not even acknowledge STOT's complaints on all of the above. They sky has fallen! Similar to JP Morgan Chase debacle (and that leader is being primed to be new CEO-hah!). IBM screws its biggest customers! WOW! -ohcrap-
    • Comment 7/29/10: In Response to -Former SOT'er- SOT and all others account are experience the same situation. IBM new method is moving all job to "GDF" location for Global Delivery Framework without the knowledge or will not tell the customer/client they are moving. GDF site has been identify such as Boulder, Fishkill, and Dubuque Iowa where people are willing to work for less and have no experience what so ever in the field. They can hired anyone off the street and work on the customer/client account. SOT probably find out about the job moving and cannot stop IBM and only time until all IBM customer/client find out all the support are moving to GDF site offer less technical support on their product or environment. I have been RA and my job are being move to Dubuque Iowa and the so called replacement are new to the field and support the customer/client without the customer knowledge of where the support coming from. -Ben-
News and Opinion Concerning the U.S. Financial Crisis
Minimize "It is a restatement of laissez-faire-let things take their natural course without government interference. If people manage to become prosperous, good. If they starve, or have no place to live, or no money to pay medical bills, they have only themselves to blame; it is not the responsibility of society. We mustn't make people dependent on government- it is bad for them, the argument goes. Better hunger than dependency, better sickness than dependency."

"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.

  • New York Times opinion: Wall Street Still Doesn’t Have a Sheriff. By Richard C. Sauer. Excerpt: The question of how best to discipline what Chief Justice John Marshall in 1819 called “an artificial being, invisible, intangible and existing only in contemplation of law” is indeed vexing. A corporation can’t be put in jail, its fines are ultimately paid by investors not responsible for the misconduct, and a court order forbidding future violations merely shelves the issue until the next occurrence.
  • New York Times editorial: Bankers’ Pay. Excerpt: In 2009, there was a lot of talk about reasonable limits on bankers’ compensation, after some breathtakingly risky lending almost crippled the financial system. A czar was appointed. Politicians said the bankers had better not use their bailouts for bonuses. Well, they did.

    Financial institutions got most of their bailouts in late 2008 and early 2009. A report issued Friday by the White House pay czar, Kenneth Feinberg, showed that by Feb. 17, 2009, when Congress established tighter pay standards, 17 banks — including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America — had paid out $1.6 billion in bonuses, golden parachutes, retention awards and the like. One handed out bonuses equivalent to one-quarter of its bailout.

  • Huffington Post: Why Congress Must End Bush Tax Breaks for the Rich. By Robert Creamer. Excerpts: President Obama has proposed to eliminate the massive deficit-busting Bush tax breaks for the top 2 percent of Americans -- while maintaining tax cuts for 95 percent of Americans. He is spot on. The Bush tax breaks are set to expire at year's end, so there is real pressure on Congress to act. Congress should maintain the cuts for individuals earning $200,000 or less, and families earning $250,000 or less. And it should restore the Clinton-era tax rates to the very rich.

    It is the right thing to do economically, politically and morally.

    First the economics. When it comes to creating jobs, the last people who need more money in their hands are the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.

    The Republicans charge that eliminating these tax breaks on the rich -- and returning them to Clinton-era levels -- would be a "job-killing tax hike in the midst of a recession." Let's recall that while the Clinton-era tax rates applied to the rich in the 1990's, the economy created more than 22.5 million jobs in less than eight years -- the most jobs ever created under a single administration. Moreover, the Federal deficit had turned into a surplus for as long as the eye could see. The number of private sector jobs created during the Bush years: zero. The Republican position amounts to nothing more than baseless pandering to the greed of their many wealthy donors. ...

    For three decades -- from Ronald Reagan through George W. Bush -- the American right wing peddled the notion that by transferring more money to the wealthiest among us, we would entice them to invest more and that the economy would grow. That was the fundamental premise of "supply side economics." In fact, of course, "supply side economics" was really a rationale for why rich people should be richer still.

    The "supply side experiment" turned out to be a colossal failure. For eight years, George W. Bush applied the theory in its purest form: increase tax breaks to the rich, eliminate regulations on Big Oil, insurance companies and Wall Street.

    The results are there for everyone to see.

    The New York Times reported last year that, "For the first time since the Depression, the American economy has added virtually no jobs in the private sector over a 10-year period. The total number of jobs has grown a bit, but that is only because of government hiring." In fact, since George Bush and the Republicans in Congress passed two massive tax cuts, we have seen a massive, secular decline in the creation of private sector jobs. ...

    Turns out that when they were given all of those tax cuts, the top two percent of the population used them to speculate in exotic derivatives, to drive up the prices of high-end real estate, pay exorbitant prices to the designers of $4,000 blouses and $2,000 shoes. There is absolutely no evidence that they made any more investments in new manufacturing plants, or started up any more businesses than they would have had they paid the same tax rates that they did when Ronald Reagan took office and private sector job growth was 3% per year.

  • Huffington Post: Fear Factor: What's Keeping the President From Picking the Best Person to Protect Consumers? By Arianna Huffington. Excerpts: On Monday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs lauded Elizabeth Warren as "a terrific candidate" to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: "I don't think any criticism in any way by anybody would disqualify her." So why isn't the White House rushing to nominate her for the position? In a word: fear. The same fear-based approach that caused the administration to throw Shirley Sherrod under the bus before her name had even been uttered on Fox News is once again rearing its head in the decision-making process over Warren.

    This time, it's not the ire of Glenn Beck that has Team Obama's backbone turning to mush -- it's the fear of angering the bankers by appointing a consumer advocate who might actually advocate for consumers (the same consumers who, in their role as taxpayers, have spent hundreds of billions bailing the bankers out). According to the National Journal, the banking industry "privately grumbles that Warren would be their least favorite candidate to head the agency." Or, as Floyd Norris put it in the New York Times, "whether or not she is named to run the bureau may depend on how willing the president is to anger the banks."

  • Washington Post op-ed: The job machine grinds to a halt. By Harold Meyerson. Excerpts: Ain't no hiring. And ain't likely to be any for a good long time. The problem isn't merely the greatest downturn since the Great Depression. It's also that big business has found a way to make big money without restoring the jobs it cut the past two years, or increasing its investments or even its sales, at least domestically.

    In the mildly halcyon days before the 2008 crash, the one economic outlier was wages. Profit, revenue and GDP all increased; only ordinary Americans' incomes lagged behind. Today, wages are still down, employment remains low and sales revenue isn't up much, either. But profits are the outlier. They're positively soaring. Among the 175 companies in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index that have released their second-quarter reports, the New York Times reported Sunday, revenue rose by a tidy 6.9 percent, but profits soared by a stunning 42.3 percent. Profits, that is, are increasing seven times faster than revenue. The mind, as it should, boggles. ...

    What won't work as an economic solution -- indeed, it amounts to cruel and unusual punishment -- is blaming the unemployed for their failure to find jobs. There are now roughly five unemployed Americans for every open job, according to the Economic Policy Institute's most recent calculations, and that ratio isn't likely to decline much if we leave it to the corporate sector to resume hiring. Corporations have figured out a way to make money without resuming hiring. Their model is premised on not resuming hiring. If the public sector doesn't fill the gap, the era of American prosperity is history.

  • Huffington Post: Reality Check. By Robert L. Borosage. Excerpts: More than half of all workers have experienced a spell of unemployment, taken a cut in pay or hours or been forced to go part-time. The typical unemployed worker has been jobless for nearly six months. Collapsing share and house prices have destroyed a fifth of the wealth of the average household. Nearly six in ten Americans have cancelled or cut back on holidays. About a fifth say their mortgages are underwater. One in four of those between 18 and 29 have moved back in with their parents. Fewer than half of all adults expect their children to have a higher standard of living than theirs, and more than a quarter say it will be lower.. for many Americans the great recession has been the sharpest trauma since the second world war, wiping out jobs, wealth and hope itself.

    Stop and consider the implications. Then add the fact that continuing high levels of unemployment are now the consensus forecast. Long term unemployment will remain at record levels. In the US, where we provide only temporary support for the unemployed, this is a social catastrophe. Families break apart; drugs and despair increases; community institutions decline; domestic violence, racial and anti-immigrant hostility soar. The young graduating into this economy are likely to fare worse throughout their work lives.

    In this context, the Washington debate seems particularly puerile. The business and financial elites are rolling out an attack on Obama as anti-business, accusing him of demonizing corporations. Given Obama's preternatural equanimity, the charge is risible. And utterly dishonest. (See for example, Paul Krugman's takedown of the latest screed by real estate mogul Mort Zuckerman, who Breitbarted an Obama quote, utterly distorting it to make his point.)

    Republicans have returned to their supply side fantasies, arguing that top end tax cuts won't add to deficits, while filibustering against unemployment insurance and any jobs program. But we tried it their way in the Bush years. Deficit spending driven by top end tax cuts and wars produced a bubble economy, scarred by no jobs growth, stagnant wages, growing inequality, growing debt, and borrowing of $2 billion a day from abroad, largely from Chinese central bankers. And that was before the bubble burst. Surely, they have to offer something different.

  • Jim Hightower: Wall Street's "Mom & Pop" Bankers. Full excerpt: Don't cry for Jamie Dimon, America. As CEO of JPMorgan Chase, this ruling mogul of Wall Street must now cope with the recently-enacted financial reform bill, which imposes a host of new regulations meant to rein in the rip-offs, frauds, and other excesses of Wall Street bankers.

    Republican lawmakers, however, are crying that the Democrats' reform bill puts a crushing burden on the poor financial giants. While these Wall Street apologists wail and keen, though, slick operators like Dimon are wasting no time on tears. Instead, they're devising ways to slip out of the new regulatory reins. For example, the law limits the outrageous overdraft fees that banks have been sneaking onto our debit card accounts. No problem – the giants are quietly imposing new "maintenance fees" for basic checking accounts. Forget receiving a free toaster for opening an account, banks now hit you with up to $15 a month just for the privilege of putting your money in their bank.

    Dimon insists that this is necessary: "If you're a restaurant and you can't charge for the soda, you're going to charge more for the burger," he lectures.

    Come on, Jamie, drop the mom & pop pose. You're not a little restaurant struggling to make ends meet – you head a monopolistic financial behemoth that helped ruin the economy for America's moms & pops, then took billions in taxpayer bailouts, used the crisis to increase its monopoly power, continues to get federally-subsidized money, just announced a 78-percent hike in profits, and recently paid you a salary and bonus of $18 million.

    The Dimons of Wall Street keep picking our pockets because they believe they're entitled to excessive profits and paychecks. To help bring these greedheads down to Earth, visit Americans for Financial Reform: www.ourfinancialsecurity.org.

  • Jim Hightower: Goldman's Golden Deal. Full excerpt: That'll teach 'em, won't it? The SEC, Wall Street's top regulator, has whacked the mighty Goldman Sachs with one of the largest penalties in financial history. The high-strutting banking conglomerate will pay more than half-a-billion bucks for selling a complex investment scheme that was designed to fail. "This settlement is a stark lesson to Wall Street firms," a stern SEC official stated. They will pay "a heavy price," he warned, if they violate "the fundamental principles of honest treatment and fair dealing."

    Atta boy – go get those self-serving, narcissistic banksters!

    But, wait – on the day that SEC officials imposed this supposed "humbling" penalty, Goldman's stock price went up by five percent. Far from being deterred by the penalty, high-rolling speculators saw it as a vindication of Wall Street's casino ethic. "It looks like a big win for Goldman," gloated one financial analyst, adding that SEC's $550 million assessment "seems like a paltry sum."

    Now, I could never put "$550 million" and "paltry" in the same sentence, but if you do the Wall Street math, you can see his logic. Goldman hauls in half-a-billion dollars in profit every 15 days. In fact, that one-day five-percent boost that Goldman got in its stock price added far more than $550 million to its market value – so the giant actually made money off the deal!

    What we have here is not punishment, but blatant political favoritism for the most politically-connected bank in our country. Goldman Sachs is not merely a huge bank, but a longtime inside-Washington player that literally helps bend the regulator rules for its personal gain. To help push structural reforms that really can restore "fair dealing" to our financial system, contact Americans for Financial Reform: www.ourfinancialsecurity.org.

  • Jim Hightower: Why Are Wall Street Bankers Grinning? Full excerpt: Banker greed is like ugly on a toad – it can't simply be rinsed off, no matter how much regulatory soap you use.

    Congress has now enacted new rules to govern America's huge banks, thus completing Washington's response to the unbridled Wall Street greed that crashed the financial system and crushed our economy. The regulatory reforms were hailed by Democrats as possessing powerful cleansing power, while Republicans wailed that the new rules were overly caustic, imposing such a heavy-handed governmental scrub that the delicate layers of Wall Street innovation and profitability will be rubbed away.

    Meanwhile, big bankers are grinning from ear to ear, for the bill requires no restructuring and decentralizing of the monopolistic grip that these giants have on America's credit system. Thus, they still retain the power to rip off consumers, gamble with depositors' money, haul in exorbitant profits, and pay themselves ungodly bonuses – all while remaining "too big to fail."

    Yes, the banking barons now have to adjust to stricter regulations, many of which are good and long overdue. But these guys are experts at slipping out of governmental leashes. JPMorgan Chase, for example, had 90 "project teams" plotting end runs around the regulations even before they were passed. Take electronic derivative trades, the casino game that caused the Wall Street implosion. Rather than outright banning them as an intolerable threat to our economy, Congress' bill attaches a bunch of strings to the game, hoping to tie it down. But JPMorgan alone has long had more than 100 of its derivative traders and other casino technicians scheming to untie the strings – so you can bet they'll keep their game going.

    They won't stop gaming the system until we fundamentally restructure Wall Street. The way you'll know that real reform has come is that the bankers will have those grins wiped off their faces.

  • Washington Post op-ed: In American politics, stupidity is the name of the game. By E.J. Dionne Jr. Excerpts: Can a nation remain a superpower if its internal politics are incorrigibly stupid? Start with taxes. In every other serious democracy, conservative political parties feel at least some obligation to match their tax policies with their spending plans. David Cameron, the new Conservative prime minister in Britain, is a leading example.

    He recently offered a rather brutal budget that includes severe cutbacks. I have doubts about some of them, but at least Cameron cared enough about reducing his country's deficit that alongside the cuts he also proposed an increase in the value-added tax, from 17.5 percent to 20 percent. Imagine: a fiscal conservative who really is a fiscal conservative.

    That could never happen here because the fairy tale of supply-side economics insists that taxes are always too high, especially on the rich.

    This is why Democrats will be fools if they don't try to turn the Republicans' refusal to raise taxes on families earning more than $250,000 a year into an election issue. If Democrats go into a headlong retreat on this, they will have no standing to govern. The simple truth is that the wealthy in the United States -- the people who have made almost all the income gains in recent years -- are undertaxed compared with everyone else. ...

    The other, from February, used Internal Revenue Service data to show that the effective federal income tax rate for the 400 taxpayers with the very highest incomes declined by nearly half in just over a decade, even as their pre-tax incomes have grown five times larger.

    The study found that the top 400 households "paid 16.6 percent of their income in federal individual income taxes in 2007, down from 30 percent in 1995." We are talking here about truly rich people. Using 2007 dollars, it took an adjusted gross income of at least $35 million to make the top 400 in 1992, and $139 million in 2007.

    The notion that when we are fighting two wars, we're not supposed to consider raising taxes on such Americans is one sign of a country that's no longer serious. Why do so few foreign policy hawks acknowledge that if they lack the gumption to ask taxpayers to finance the projection of American military power, we won't be able to project it in the long run? And if we are unwilling to have a full-scale debate over whether nation-building abroad is getting in the way of nation-building at home, we will accomplish neither. ...

    I'm a chronic optimist about America. But we are letting stupid politics, irrational ideas on fiscal policy and an antiquated political structure undermine our power. We need a new conservatism in our country that is worthy of the name. We need liberals willing to speak out on the threat our daft politics poses to our influence in the world. We need moderates who do more than stick their fingers in the wind to calculate the halfway point between two political poles. And, yes, we need to reform a Senate that has become an embarrassment to our democratic claims.

If you hire good people and treat them well, they will try to do a good job. They will stimulate one another by their vigor and example. They will set a fast pace for themselves. Then if they are well led and occasionally inspired, if they understand what the company is trying to do and know they will share in its sucess, they will contribute in a major way. The customer will get the superior service he is looking for. The result is profit to customers, employees, and to stcckholders. —Thomas J. Watson, Jr., from A Business and Its Beliefs: The Ideas That Helped Build IBM.

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