|FHA Plan Rates||Self||Self+1|
|IBM Hi Ded PPO w/HSA||$632.13||$1,264.25|
|High Ded PPO||$547.64||$1,095.28|
|Med Ded PPO||$654.95||$1,309.89|
|Low Ded PPO||$824.29||$1,648.57|
|IBM Vision Plan||$10.12||$19.24|
|"Old" Plan Rates||Self||Self+1|
|IBM Hi Ded PPO w/HSA||$201||$876|
|High Ded PPO||0||$411|
|Med Ded PPO||$234||$933|
|Low Ded PPO||$367||$1247|
|"Old" Plan Rates for Retirees on Medicare||Self||Self+1|
|IBM Medical Supp||0||0|
|IBM Pres. Drug Supp||$179.00||$589.00|
|IBM Med/Pres Drug Supp||$35.00||$204.00|
|Aetna Trad. Choice Medicare Plan A||$25.00||$95.00|
|Aetna Trad. Choice Medicare Plan B||$12.00||$46.00|
|Aetna Medicare Plan PPO - B||$27.00||$137.00|
Structural funds are supposed to be directed at small and medium companies, which provide the backbone of many economies in the 27-nation bloc. But multinationals are also eligible for funding and officials say the structural funds programme has become an element of competing in a global marketplace where companies are often courted by countries eager for their investment.
The result: substantially lower payouts to employees who are changing jobs, being laid off or retiring—anywhere from 10% to 60% or more, depending on age and other factors.
But I do miss my colleagues, my road warrior brethren and crown-room co-conspirators. I miss my shiny blue eight bars on my business cards which gave me instant street cred (even at a night-club in Prague once).
Consider the 401(k): When Congress created the provision in 1978, lawmakers didn't realize they were going to transform the American pension system within a generation. But that's what happened. Previously, employers had defined-benefit systems in which they had to worry about saving enough to pay for the retirement of their workers; the 401(k) - and similar defined-contribution systems - let them push that responsibility onto the workers.
By 1995, there were more 401(k)s plans than traditional pension plans. Now there are about twice as many. And they're not working out that well, Robert Hiltonsmith, a policy analyst at the think tank Demos, shows in his paper "The Failure of the 401(k)." The failure, experts say, basically, is this: The typical worker approaching retirement needs about $250,000 in a 401(k). Most don't come close. The average is closer to $98,000 - only a bit more than a third of the recommended amount. ...
The deficit-reduction plans under consideration will accelerate this trend. Under current law, an average -income worker (that's someone making about $43,000 a year) is projected to get the inflation-adjusted equivalent of about $15,000 a year in Social Security benefits in 2050. Under the Simpson-Bowles plan, that would drop to about $12,700. That's not nothing, but it's not much. In fact, neither amount is very much. Social Security is not a generous program. It's actually among the least-generous of any developed nation, and in making it less so, we raise the question of what, exactly, seniors with insufficient retirement savings are supposed to do. ...
Age discrimination is rampant. Employers know that younger workers are often more productive, and always cheaper, so they push out older workers or refuse to hire them. And once unemployed, it's particularly hard for older workers to find new jobs. It's something that's become all too clear in the current recession, which has seen a startling rise in long-term unemployment among older workers.
Making your first million. Many people should be able to save $1 million for retirement if they start saving early enough. A worker who saves $5,500 per year beginning at age 30, gets a $1,500 401(k) match each year, and earns 7 percent annual returns will have $1,014,640 by age 65. However, someone who waits until age 40 to start saving will have to tuck away closer to $14,000 a year to reach $1 million by age 65, assuming the same 401(k) match and investment returns. ...
We associate the word "millionaire" with luxury. Spread out over a 30-year retirement, $1 million will likely make you comfortable in many parts of the country, but not especially wealthy. "I have clients who have got a million dollars in retirement and they don't feel wealthy," says Jay Hutchins, a certified financial planner for The Wealth Conservatory in Lebanon, N.H. "It's not enough that you can put it in the bank and draw half a percent of income and live off it. You have to invest it and you have to take on risk." If you draw down 4 percent of your $1 million nest egg each year, you will receive about $40,000 annually for 30 years, before adjusting for inflation. To that amount you can add any Social Security or pension income you expect to receive. But you will likely need to subtract taxes, especially if most of your savings is in tax-deferred accounts including 401(k)s and IRAs, and account for inflation.
Selected reader comments follow:
A million dollars is easy? My wife and I make well over $100,000 a year and are 35 years or so from retirement age and we've calculated it will be difficult to get to $1 million. We save AND live modestly AND have no children AND have zero credit card debt. We are better off than probably 80-90% of the country and getting to that figure between the two of us if we keep our current jobs until we retire will be a great struggle. There's no way on Earth the average American who is riddled with debt and can not rely on a 401K match or pension can come anywhere close to that figure. U.S. News is lying to you. It's a scam to rob you blind and get you to feel good about letting it happen. The top .01 have more accumulated wealth than the bottom 40% of the country and the top 1% has more accumulated wealth than the bottom 90% of the country. That's reality. This article is pure Horatio Alger myth fantasy.
Don't believe the hype. Fight like hell when they come after social security (and they are coming after it). If you think you're retiring with $1 million and you only make $45-$50K a year you are most likely kidding yourself. I am saying this because I know my family will struggle to get there and we have many advatages most Americans don't have, so to insinuate this can happen for most is a lie. They are just hoping you will roll over when they come after your social security hoping you will buy into this "I will have $1 million waiting" fantasy and not put up a fight.
And the biggest one is . . . privatizing Social Security. Yep, privatizing Social Security, slaughtered when George W. Bush proposed it five years ago, seems about to rear its foul head again. You'd think that the stock market's stomach-churning gyrations - two 50 percent-plus drops in just over a decade - would have shown conclusively the folly of retirees' having to bet their eating money on the market. But you'd be wrong. Stocks have been rising the past 18 months, and you can bet that we'll see a privatization push from newly elected congressmen and senators who made it a campaign issue.
A proposal released by the co-chairmen of the deficit commission, former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson, recommends a range of substantial cuts to Social Security. Among them are cost-of-living reductions for all current and future beneficiaries, including those receiving disability and survivor benefits as well as those receiving retirement benefits. The proposal would also reduce initial benefits for future retired and disabled workers and their families, as well as the families of deceased workers. And it would increase the normal and early retirement ages to 69 and 64, respectively.
As a result, today's retirees would see their benefits reduced as health-care costs are rising. And the commissioners' grandchildren would be living on Social Security benefits that have been decreased by as much as 36 percent. ...
Meanwhile, true pensions - employer-paid plans that guarantee benefits - are disappearing. In 1980, two out of three American workers participated in traditional pension plans with guaranteed lifetime benefits. Now that figure is one out of five and falling. Employers are canceling such plans, rescinding promises to workers, and turning to do-it-yourself 401(k)s. ...
It's hard to see how this situation will get better for future generations. Employers have made it clear that they don't want the responsibility of contributing to retirement plans, and do-it-yourself approaches haven't worked.
Social Security cuts would only aggravate matters. Policymakers must work to protect and strengthen the program and to create a modern pension system on top of it, with the responsibility shared by employers, employees, and the government. We need a comprehensive retirement policy that protects future generations of retirees.
Certainly, in tough times, higher wages, profit-sharing and training seem like optional perks. But here's the other side of the story: When you invest in people, they respond by performing well. In her rigorously researched book, Profit at the Bottom of the Ladder, Jody Heymann presents a well-documented lineup of businesses that have flourished in large part because their management practices include respecting and empowering their lowest-paid workers. Jenkins Brick, a major U.S. brick manufacturer in Alabama, credits higher wages and profit-sharing with increased productivity and quality, as well as reduced turnover and lowered accident rates. Dancing Deer, a Boston-based high-end baked goods company, opens the financial books, and makes training and stock options available to all employees because they are convinced that this gives the firm a competitive advantage. Specifically, management credits these practices with improving sales, boosting productivity and helping them attract talent. ...
Perhaps a more well-known example is Costco. The company pays more for an entry-level position than Sam's Club (Wal-Mart's wholesale branch), gives even part-time workers at least a week's notice about their schedules and offers all employees the option of getting on the management track. Costco also makes thousands of dollars more per employee than Sam's Club, which suggests their investment pays off. Costco is so convinced that its policy is sound that it has kept paying better wages than rivals, even as Wall Street has pressured the company to conform to industry standards. ...
Yet despite the strong evidence we have that an employee who is paid fairly and treated respectfully will significantly outperform an employee who is underpaid and ordered around like a child, too many employers are unable to resist the apparent bargain of paying less per hour or buck the traditions of an authoritarian work culture.
If the individual mandate, which takes effect in 2014, were removed and other provisions remain, such as the ban of the denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, “it would be a disaster,” said Patricia Henry, executive vice president and deputy general counsel for commercial property and casualty insurance company ACE Group Holdings Inc. in Philadelphia.
Delivering the keynote address Nov. 10 at the 20th World Captive Forum in Scottsdale, Arizona, Henry likened such action to allowing people to buy homeowners insurance while their house was burning down. With restrictions, such as the ban on pre-existing condition exclusions, in place, healthy people in some cases would wait until they were sick to buy coverage, resulting in adverse selection and ultimately forcing insurers to significantly boost premiums, she warned.
What I'm describing is an actual health insurance policy. Its technical name is "mini-med plan," but more commonly it goes by the term "crap health insurance." The specific plan described here is what McDonald's offers unmarried new recruits, and the Health and Human Services department just granted it a temporary waiver. McDonald's also offers slightly more generous plans at slightly higher cost: $24 per week for a policy with a $5,000 ceiling and $32 per week for a policy with a $10,000 ceiling.
Health care reform is all about replacing such bait-and-switch schemes with real health insurance. That should indeed happen in 2014, when state health insurance exchanges start selling federally subsidized policies offering a minimum standard of coverage that will not permit (for example) putting a $2,000 ceiling on payouts.
But it was supposed to happen sooner. Annual limits on payouts are already being phased out under the health care law; as of Sept. 23, they aren't allowed to fall below $750,000, which is a whole lot more than McDonald's' $2,000, $5,000, or $10,000. But HHS signaled it was willing to grant waivers to mini-meds. Then the mini-meds fell afoul of another pending regulation concerning the "medical-loss ratio"; i.e., how much revenue insurers spend on health benefits as opposed to overhead or dividends to stockholders. The rule requires health insurers to spend between 80 percent and 85 percent of their revenue on medical care. No can do, McDonald's told HHS in an e-mail obtained by the Wall Street Journal's Janet Adamy. The high turnover rate among McDonald's' employees, the company said, occasions lots and lots of paperwork, so we can't keep our administrative costs down relative to our payouts, which—in case you hadn't noticed—are pretty darned low to begin with. On these dubious grounds, HHS granted the mini-meds an exemption through 2011 that could easily stretch to 2014. ...
Not even the insurance industry considers mini-med plans to constitute real health insurance. The National Association of Health Underwriters says: Mini meds are not intended to replace comprehensive coverage." Then why do employers offer them? Because, the underwriters explain (perhaps a bit too frankly), "Not providing insurance can have a dramatic impact on employee recruiting and retention." If employees don't get health insurance they'll leave. To keep them, employers like McDonald's offer ersatz insurance.
In a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, Senate Democrats plan to detail how restaurants, pet-store outlets and hair salons are offering workers health-insurance policies with low caps on annual benefit payouts that leave workers footing the bill for care, according to the Senate aide. Lawmakers also plan to press McDonald's top human-resources executive on the chain's mini-med plan that covers nearly 30,000 restaurant workers. ...
Democrats on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, led by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D., W. Va.), are looking at whether mini-med plans should face tougher regulations. Committee investigators are building a case that such coverage misleads consumers into thinking they have health insurance when such policies pay out as little as $1,000 a year for hospital visits and contain loopholes. "They're junk plans," said Stephen Finan, senior director of policy at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. "They have the pretense of providing coverage that is unreal. But, unfortunately, virtually all consumers of these products don't realize it until it's too late." ...
Darren Pound, who lives in Mooresville, N.C., bought a limited-benefit plan from Cinergy Health & Life two years ago after the resort where he works dropped its health-insurance coverage. On Labor Day, Mr. Pound shattered his leg from the knee down while wake-boarding behind a speedboat. His two-week hospital stay, which included surgery and blood transfusions, ran up a tab of more than $200,000. He is checking exactly how much his insurance will cover, but he estimates "it doesn't even make a dent."
"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.
If companies like Google want to "double Irish" and "Dutch Sandwich" us or operate out of PO boxes in tax havens, we shouldn't let them use government services like courts, or the government-developed Internet. See how well they operate without access to roads (that includes for employees to get to go to work.) How about withdrawing the limited liability protection that investors in corporations receive? And of course no protection for "intellectual property" or trademarks. Oh, yeah, no access to anyone who went to a school that used tax dollars. And no government services means no sea-lane protection for your products shipping from Chinese factories, by the way.
The recession that began in 2007 has led to the worst unemployment in nearly 30 years. We have record levels of long-term unemployment. The jobless rate, 9.6 percent, has been essentially unchanged since May, and nearly 42 percent of the 14.8 million jobless workers have been sidelined for six months or more. ...
Other opponents would have you believe that the nation cannot afford to keep paying unemployment benefits: a yearlong extension would cost about $60 billion. The truth is, we cannot afford not to. The nation has never ended federal benefits when unemployment is as high as it is now, and for good reason: Without jobs, there is inadequate spending, and that means ever fewer jobs. A wide range of private and government studies show that unemployment benefits combat that vicious cycle by ensuring that families can buy the basics.
Nor do jobless benefits bust the budget. Just the opposite. They do not add to dangerous long-term deficits because the spending is temporary. And because they support spending and jobs, they contribute powerfully to the economic growth that is vital for a healthy budget. Extending the Bush high-end tax cuts would be budget busting, because they are likely to endure, adding $700 billion to the deficit over 10 years. Tax cuts for the rich provide virtually no economic stimulus, because affluent people tend to save their bounty.
Wall Street is already celebrating the approach of bonus season by partying like it’s 2007. In The Times’s account of this return to conspicuous consumption, we learned of a Morgan Stanley trader, since fired for unspecified reasons, who went to costly ends to try to hire a dwarf for a Miami bachelor party prank that would require the dwarf to be handcuffed to the bachelor. If this were a metaphor — if only! — Wall Street would be the bachelor, and America the dwarf, involuntarily chained to its master’s hedonistic revels and fiscal recklessness with no prospect for escape.
As John Cassidy underscored in a definitive article titled “Who Needs Wall Street?” in The New Yorker last week, the financial sector has paid little for bringing the world to near-collapse or for receiving the taxpayers’ bailout that was denied to most small-enough-to-fail Americans. The sector still rakes in more than a fourth of American business profits, up from a seventh 25 years ago. And what is its contribution to America in exchange for this quarter-century of ever-more over-the-top rewards? “During a period in which American companies have created iPhones, Home Depot and Lipitor,” Cassidy writes, the industry reaping the highest profits and compensation is one that “doesn’t design, build or sell a tangible thing.” ...
It’s an industry that can buy politicians as easily as it does dwarfs, which is why government has tilted the playing field ever more in its direction for three decades. Now corporations of all kinds can buy more of Washington than before, thanks to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and to the rise of outside “nonprofit groups” that can legally front for those who prefer to donate anonymously. ...
America needs a rally — or, better still, a leader or two or three — to restore not just honor or sanity to its citizens but governance that’s not auctioned off to the highest bidder. When it was reported just days before our election that Iran was protecting its political interests in Afghanistan’s presidential palace by giving bags of money to Hamid Karzai’s closest aide, Americans could hardly bring themselves to be outraged. At least with Karzai’s government, unlike our own, we could know for certain whose cash was in the bag.
In effect, many of the big banks have turned themselves from businesses whose profits rose and fell with the capital-raising needs of their clients into immense trading houses whose fortunes depend on their ability to exploit day-to-day movements in the markets. Because trading has become so central to their business, the big banks are forever trying to invent new financial products that they can sell but that their competitors, at least for the moment, cannot. Some recent innovations, such as tradable pollution rights and catastrophe bonds, have provided a public benefit. But it’s easy to point to other innovations that serve little purpose or that blew up and caused a lot of collateral damage, such as auction-rate securities and collateralized debt obligations. Testifying earlier this year before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, said that financial innovation “isn’t always a good thing,” adding that some innovations amplify risk and others are used primarily “to take unfair advantage rather than create a more efficient market.”
Other regulators have gone further. Lord Adair Turner, the chairman of Britain’s top financial watchdog, the Financial Services Authority, has described much of what happens on Wall Street and in other financial centers as “socially useless activity”—a comment that suggests it could be eliminated without doing any damage to the economy. In a recent article titled “What Do Banks Do?,” which appeared in a collection of essays devoted to the future of finance, Turner pointed out that although certain financial activities were genuinely valuable, others generated revenues and profits without delivering anything of real worth—payments that economists refer to as rents. “It is possible for financial activity to extract rents from the real economy rather than to deliver economic value,” Turner wrote. “Financial innovation . . . may in some ways and under some circumstances foster economic value creation, but that needs to be illustrated at the level of specific effects: it cannot be asserted a priori.” ...
Since 1980, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people employed in finance, broadly defined, has shot up from roughly five million to more than seven and a half million. During the same period, the profitability of the financial sector has increased greatly relative to other industries. Think of all the profits produced by businesses operating in the U.S. as a cake. Twenty-five years ago, the slice taken by financial firms was about a seventh of the whole. Last year, it was more than a quarter. (In 2006, at the peak of the boom, it was about a third.) In other words, during a period in which American companies have created iPhones, Home Depot, and Lipitor, the best place to work has been in an industry that doesn’t design, build, or sell a single tangible thing.
From the end of the Second World War until 1980 or thereabouts, people working in finance earned about the same, on average and taking account of their qualifications, as people in other industries. By 2006, wages in the financial sector were about sixty per cent higher than wages elsewhere. And in the richest segment of the financial industry—on Wall Street, that is—compensation has gone up even more dramatically. Last year, while many people were facing pay freezes or worse, the average pay of employees at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan Chase’s investment bank jumped twenty-seven per cent, to more than three hundred and forty thousand dollars. This figure includes modestly paid workers at reception desks and in mail rooms, and it thus understates what senior bankers earn. At Goldman, it has been reported, nearly a thousand employees received bonuses of at least a million dollars in 2009.
Not surprisingly, Wall Street has become the preferred destination for the bright young people who used to want to start up their own companies, work for NASA, or join the Peace Corps. At Harvard this spring, about a third of the seniors with secure jobs were heading to work in finance. Ben Friedman, a professor of economics at Harvard, recently wrote an article lamenting “the direction of such a large fraction of our most-skilled, best-educated, and most highly motivated young citizens to the financial sector.”
Canada's six big banks escaped the financial crisis nearly unscathed due to a mix of strict regulation and conservative banking and borrowing practices. They faced fewer defaults and had less in loan losses than did lenders in the U.S. or Europe. Some have posted record profits during the past few quarters, even as peers south of the border struggle. "Canada is attaining the rewards of fiscal responsibility," says Frank McKenna, a former Canadian ambassador to the U.S. who's now deputy chairman at Toronto-Dominion Bank. "The U.S. is paying a price for profligacy."
Canadian leaders are working hard to parlay that national prudence into international clout. Prime Minister Harper and his cabinet ministers are talking up the country's banking prowess abroad, arguing that Canada's track record ought to give it a greater say in matters of global financial regulation. Earlier in the year, Canadian politicians led a fight against the idea of setting global standards for taxing lenders to stockpile funds in advance of a crisis, arguing that well-regulated banks don't need such a system to keep them out of trouble. Canada's resistance torpedoed the idea, and Canadian officials are lobbying for an alternative proposal, in which banks hold securities that can be converted to extra capital in a pinch.
Figures released last month by the US Census Bureau show it will be hard. Middle incomes are lower, in real terms, than in 1999. The median income, stagnate for a decade, fell by 4.2% once the crisis hit. Since December 2007 more than six million Americans have been pushed below the official poverty line. ...
In the midterm elections politicians have promised to "do something" for the middle class. The kindest thing they could do is tell the truth: Americans have been living a middle-class lifestyle on working-class wages – and bridging the gap with credit. And it's over.
And the whole misery is not just a product of the recession which followed the credit crunch, experts say. The root of the troubles goes a long way back indeed, starting from the waning of the nation's industrial might, the closing down of factories and the slow and steady disintegration of the American middle class which started over a generation ago.
"The United States has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001. The greatest economic machine in the history of the world is literally having its guts ripped out, and most of you kept voting in jokers who supported all of this deindustrialization," writes Snyder.
As American wealth flows to those trade surplus economies every month, efforts to boost domestic jobs are failing flat out. As many 1.41 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, a 32 percent increase over 2008. And the number of homes taken over by banks touched a new record in September when it crossed the 100,000 mark for the first time. The number of homeless people is rising at a staggering pace. ...
Studies have shown that the fabled American middle class has been shrinking for a long time, and the annual incomes of the bottom 90 per cent of the U.S. households have been essentially flat since 1973 – having risen by only 10 per cent in real terms over the past 37 years. Meanwhile, the income of the top one percent has tripled. "From foreclosures to unemployment to household debt to bankruptcies, the American middle class is under assault -- and America is in danger of becoming a Third World nation," Arianna Huffington wrote in Huffington Post in August.
The news comes as it is revealed that top U.S. executives saw their pay and bonuses shoot up last year in the face of the worst recession for 80 years. The highest paid bosses received an average of $1.6 million (£1 million) as a bonus on top of their basic remuneration, an increase of 11 per cent.
That is a staggering and crucial difference between America's elected leaders and the people who put them there – and in some cases, "millionaire' does even get near describing it. A startling 55 of the congressional plutocrats are worth more than $10m (and the database the CRP used does not even include the value of their homes). The richest is Californian congressman Darrell Issa, whose wealth lurks somewhere around $250m. ...
No wonder America's body politic can seem to be a little slow when it comes to reflecting the day-to-day concerns of many Americans. No wonder it is currently obsessed with working out a way to keep President George W Bush's tax cuts for the rich in place. No wonder it is seemingly willing to let slide vital unemployment benefits for millions of Americans who are now entering the ranks of the long-term jobless. No wonder it is keen to bail out the financial industry and keep bankers cashing their bonus cheques, even as it shrugs its shoulders at creating jobs for those outside the vaulted halls of the finance industry.
In a country with a limited concept of social cohesion, laughable from a European perspective, the quiet demise could have unforeseen consequences. How strong is the cement holding together a society that manically declares any social thinking to be socialist? The US economy lost almost 100,000 jobs in September. Is this Obama's fault? ...
The United States of 2010 is a country that has become paralyzed and inhibited by allowing itself to be distracted by things that are, in reality, not a threat: homosexuality, Mexicans, Democratic Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, health care reform and Obama. Large segments of the country are not even talking about the issues that are serious and complex, like debt, unemployment and serious educational deficits. Is it because this is all too threatening?
Gridlock as the American Status Quo. It has become a country of plain solutions. People with college degrees are suspect and intelligence has become a blemish. Manfred Henningsen, a German political scientist who teaches in Honolulu, Hawaii, calls it "political and economic paralysis." One reason for the crisis, says Henningsen, is that the American dream, both individual and national, has in fact always been a fiction. "This society was never stable. It was always socially underdeveloped, and anyone who talks about the good old days today is forgetting the injustices of racist America."
Agitators like Glenn Beck are "nationalist, racist and proto-fascist," says Henningsen. "They take advantage of the economic situation, almost the way the right-wing intelligentsia did back in the Weimar Republic." Gridlock has become the modern America status quo, and the condition Henningsen calls "institutional idiocy" is especially obvious in the country's most important legislative body, the Senate, which has come to resemble a royal court where nothing has happened in centuries.
Extending the Bush tax cuts for the top 1 percent would cost an estimated $120 billion over the next two years. That’s more than another unemployment benefit extension would cost. The unemployed need the money. The rich don’t.
Moreover, the top 1 percent spends a small fraction of their income. That’s what it means to be rich — you already have most of what you want. So extending the Bush tax cut to them won’t stimulate the economy.
Yet people without jobs, and their families, are likely to spend every penny of unemployment benefits they receive. That will go back into the economy and save or create jobs.
A Labor Department report shows that for every $1 spent on unemployment insurance, $2 are spent in the economy. If you don’t believe the Labor Department, maybe you’ll believe Goldman Sachs analyst Alec Phillips, who estimates that if unemployment benefits are allowed to expire, the American economy would slow by a half a percent. ...
Republicans are still spouting nutty Social Darwinism. Cutting taxes on the rich is better than helping the unemployed, they say, because the rich will create jobs with their extra money while giving money to the unemployed reduces their desire to look for work. Rubbish. The Bush tax cuts on the top never trickled down. Between 2002 and 2007 the median wage dropped, adjusted for inflation. And job growth was pathetic. ...
Besides, the economic downturn was hardly their (the unemployed) fault. If anyone is to blame it’s the high-flyers on Wall Street who gambled away other people’s money, and the rich denizens of corporate executive suites who have sliced payrolls in order to show higher profits (and get more money from their stock options). So why reward the people at the top with an extension of the Bush tax cut that will blow a hole in the budget deficit? And why fail to extend jobless benefits to hardworking Americans who got the boot?
To register social progress, economic orthodoxy held back then, nations needed to simply hike their “GNP,” their sum total of economic goods and services. But real human development, Sen and his colleagues countered, involves much more than economic growth. Real progress, their first Human Development Report in 1990 emphasized, encompasses “the freedom to be healthy, to be educated, and to enjoy a decent standard of living.” ...
In nations that distribute health, education, and income in a dramatically unequal fashion, this new index recognizes, the national “average” for health, education, and income will tell us precious little about how a nation’s “average” person experiences health, education, and income.
Well, you don't have to imagine, because that's the situation we're in as of midnight last night. Congress has failed to appropriate money for emergency unemployment benefits for 800,000 Americans. And another 1.2 million people will be in the same boat by the end of December. They'll have no income in the worst economy since the Great Depression -- and with no sign of hope on the horizon.
(Note that these are NOT the "99ers" -- those who've exhausted 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. There are approximately 3.5 million 99ers. The two million who're now falling through the safety net with them have been unemployed for fewer than 99 weeks, but Congress has refused to appropriate the funding for their benefits.)
You don't care, you say? You have a job and don't want to hear about these millions of people who suddenly suffered from a mass attack of laziness starting in late 2008? Well, care about this: without these two million spending their unemployment checks, up to another million people will likely lose their jobs, with the total effect stomping on whatever little momentum the economy has. You might be getting a sudden attack of laziness soon yourself.
An extension of the Bush tax cut would jack up the federal deficit $700 billion or so over the next decade. But it would immediately put an additional $1.3 million into the pocket of media mogul (and Fox News boss) Rupert Murdoch, and mean $700,000 for Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, in whose West Virginia coal shaft 29 miners perished earlier this year.
Candidly, these guys can get by: Rupert Murdoch spent $45 million to acquire Laurence Rockefeller's Manhattan digs a few Christmases ago. The jobless work on next month's rent. Why should the latter be held hostage for the benefit of the former? America is, after all, experiencing the worst unemployment levels in three decades. ...
We're not talking about "rewarding" the indolent, or soaking the rich. But is it asking to much that they shower regularly? The Reagan Administration's budget director, supply-sider David Stockman, gave his answer Monday. The deficit-plagued country needs to put "a higher burden on the upper income," he said.
Paraphrasing Professor Caplin of NYU, Segal wrote:
"While it's noble to focus on how to spread wealth around, it might be wiser to think of ways the poor and middle class could cater to the economy's biggest winners."
Within 5 minutes of the art fair’s VIP preview, Cohen — dressed in sneakers and a Brown University baseball cap (Go Bears!) — had snagged a world map made of tin cans for about $300,000. He also forked over $180,000 for Tim Hawkinson’s “Bike,” a work of collaged inkjet prints, Orden reported.
Meanwhile, there’s a real deficit issue on the table: whether tax cuts for the wealthy will, as Republicans demand, be extended. Just as a reminder, over the next 75 years the cost of making those tax cuts permanent would be roughly equal to the entire expected financial shortfall of Social Security. Mr. Obama’s pay ploy might, just might, have been justified if he had used the announcement of a freeze as an occasion to take a strong stand against Republican demands — to declare that at a time when deficits are an important issue, tax breaks for the wealthiest aren’t acceptable.
But he didn’t. Instead, he apparently intended the pay freeze announcement as a peace gesture to Republicans the day before a bipartisan summit. At that meeting, Mr. Obama, who has faced two years of complete scorched-earth opposition, declared that he had failed to reach out sufficiently to his implacable enemies. He did not, as far as anyone knows, wear a sign on his back saying “Kick me,” although he might as well have.
There were no comparable gestures from the other side. Instead, Senate Republicans declared that none of the rest of the legislation on the table — legislation that includes such things as a strategic arms treaty that’s vital to national security — would be acted on until the tax-cut issue was resolved, presumably on their terms. ...
Whatever is going on inside the White House, from the outside it looks like moral collapse — a complete failure of purpose and loss of direction.
And the upper 2 to 3 percent of earners, meanwhile, would have to go back to Clinton-era rates — when the economy, if I recall, was working pretty well for them.
You have to understand, we're talking about marginal tax rates. The taxes don't change until you hit $250,000. If you make, say, $300,000 — and don't you wish? — your taxes go up 3 percent on the $50,000 above $250,000. If you can't do the math — and I'm guessing you can — you can afford to hire an accountant who will do it for you. ...
In this case, Republicans have one argument. They insist that without the top-earner tax cut, small businesses will be hurt and won't hire. This argument might be more persuasive if, in fact, there had been any real job creation during the life of these tax cuts. Or as Warren Buffett, who opposes keeping tax breaks for people like him, said on CNN: "That has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on."
Republicans were furious that the House Democrats staged the vote. "I'm trying to catch my breath so I don't refer to this maneuver going on today as chicken crap, all right?" said House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio, who will become speaker of the House next month. "But this is nonsense. All right? The election was one month ago. We're 23 months from the next election and the political games have already started, trying to set up the next election."
This site is designed to allow IBM Employees to communicate and share methods of protecting their rights through the establishment of an IBM Employees Labor Union. Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act states it is a violation for Employers to spy on union gatherings, or pretend to spy. For the purpose of the National Labor Relations Act, notice is given that this site and all of its content, messages, communications, or other content is considered to be a union gathering.