Christopher Padilla, an IBM vice president and a former Commerce Department official, is listed as one of IBM's lead lobbyists on many issues.
I remember when I was hired 40 years ago, the recruiter telling me that my wife and I would have "cradle to grave" benefits, and a job as long as I performed well. Although I was always a "1" or "2" performer, that didn't stop them from "easing" me out, by changing the rules in 1993, when Hatchet "Lou" Gerstner of "Barbarians at the Gate" fame, took over. As a Senior Systems Engineer, they ignored evaluations, and instead came up with some crazy formula supposedly indicating "revenue contributions", and of course, the higher you were, the higher the revenue that they expected.
Not being a sales Rep, SE's didn't really have much that they could do to affect that number, so instead of getting rid of the sales reps, they got rid of the SE's, then made us sign papers saying essentially that we were ok with it, etc.
IBM is not the company that you and I signed up for, that's for sure. all we can do is pray that we all made it to Medicare, as you said, without going bankrupt. Maybe we should throw our citizenship papers away, head to Mexico, then cross back illegally, and let Obama pay our medicare, etc. It's disgusting.
"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.
And even for the very few who will be subject to the tax, the increase in the gift tax exemption will allow them to give their heirs tens of millions of dollars before the estate tax even comes into play. “I think people will be seizing the opportunity for next year,” said Carol Kroch, head of wealth and financial planning at Wilmington Trust. ...
Much is being made of how low the estate tax rate is above the $5 million exemption. Dan Kesten, a lawyer at Davis & Gilbert in New York, pointed out that a $100 million estate would pay $20 million less in taxes in 2011 than it would have if Congress had not acted and the estate tax had reverted to its 2001 level — a 55 percent tax rate for individual estates larger than $1 million. ...
The real benefit to the extremely rich is the increase in the gift tax exemption to $5 million from $1 million. To a couple who have given money away to the limit of the old exemption, this means they can pass an extra $8 million to their heirs free of tax. “That’s changing an awful lot of plans,” said Kacy Gott, chief planning officer at Aspiriant, a wealth management firm. “Now, with a two-year window, we’re expecting a lot of gifts.”
All of this is a way of saying that I am a somewhat typical “serial entrepreneur,” and fortunately we have a lot of them in America. They are generally middle-class people (my dad worked in a tool-and-die shop for 40 years, and my mom was a full-time homemaker with four sons), they generally do not have an inheritance or family money to draw on, and yet they spend their lives pursuing the American Dream.
I have never relied on a member of Congress or a government agency to do me a favor or bend the rules. I have never given campaign contributions to politicians in hopes of getting favors that would help my business. I have never hired a lobbyist to try to amend laws that would serve my financial interest. And this is generally true of all the hundreds of thousands of sole proprietors and partnerships and small businesses across America.
But that is not how big-time corporate America operates. To them making large campaign contributions and spending millions of dollars each year on lobbyists is just another investment that pays off handsomely. Their motto (in behavior, if not in fact) is You’ve got to pay to play.
This flood of corporate money and influence in our government makes for a decidedly uneven playing field for businesses as well as taints and corrupts our government. Unfortunately, the trend is moving in the direction of allowing even more money to encroach into our politics, thanks to the Supreme Court. The absolutely necessary solution here is to bring honesty and transparency to our politics. ...
As I noted in my book Unequal Protection, as of 2009 there were roughly 64 registered lobbyists for every member of Congress—more than 34,750 in total—and 138 of them are former members of Congress. Include state lobbyists, and there are more than 60,000 (because of variations in state laws on what is or isn’t a lobbyist, and who and how they should register, this may well be a significant underestimate: nobody really knows the true number.)
Senator Bernie Sanders noted on my radio show during the Senate debates on financial services industry regulation that the banking industry was spending more than $1 million per day on lobbying and had hired more than 250 former members of Congress to lobby their peers, including people who had previously been considered to have highly ethical and spotless reputations like former Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt.
No, no, the most insistent demand for attention is coming from way above the poor and the middle class. Believe it or not, it's the CEOs of Americas biggest corporations and the top bankers of Wall Street who're stamping their little Gucci-clad feet, bawling that they should be getting more love and support from the president.
It seems that the feelings of these precious ones have been hurt by Obama's occasional condemnation of the stupefying greed that's been shown by the likes of health insurance executives and Wall Street banksters. As one CEO put it, Obama's attitude "felt too much like we were the bad guys."
Yoo-hoo, Mr. Multimillionaire Executive, YOU ARE! Corporate chieftains are ruthlessly downsizing the middle class, carelessly polluting our air and water, gleefully destroying our democracy by using their corrupting corporate money to buy our government and generally feeling entitled to run roughshod over everyone -- all while pocketing obscene levels of wealth for themselves. Yet they're the ones crying?
Those guys are pathetic - they're a bunch of narcissists with a sense of entitlement. Obama ought to send each of them a box of Kleenex and tell 'em to go to hell. But unfortunately, he's no Harry Truman. So instead, he's giving in to them!
"(I intend) to make clear to the business community," he recently announced, "that the most important thing we can do is to boost and encourage our business sector." Hello ... they're doing fine. The most important thing you can do is boost America's middle class.
Obama's helping not only multimillionaire corporate CEOs. He's also helping their friends at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Of all the groups in America that need the president of the U.S. on its side, you'd think the last to win a pledge of support would be the Chamber.
After all, this outfit, which is largely funded and run by a handful of America's biggest corporations, has become the most powerful lobbying force in Washington - and one of the richest front groups funneling secret corporate cash into our elections. Indeed, it poured tens of millions of those dollars into campaign ads this fall to demonize the president and turn the U.S. House over to anti-Obama Republicans.
Yet, the day after the election, the Chamber found itself being wooed by the White House. The president even dispatched his treasury secretary to the Chamber's opulent headquarters to eat crow and promise that, henceforth, Obama and Team would be more corporate friendly.
Good grief! Friendlier than Obama's Wall Street reform that coddled the big banksters, or his health care reform that further entrenches profiteering insurance giants inside the system? Or the tax bill cave-in that needlessly awards billions of dollars in special breaks for corporations and rich CEOs?
Yes. So friendly that Obama is now holding an ongoing series of closed-door policy meetings with assorted CEOs. So friendly that he's already delayed regulations to strengthen anti-pollution rules. So friendly that his deficit-reduction panel proposes cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 26 percent. So friendly that he's planning to put a high-powered CEO right inside the White House with him, as demanded by the whining corporate powers who say they're not getting enough love from the president.
Why do they get a special presidential slot? Why not one for labor, small farmers, consumers, the unemployed? Remind me again -- is this guy a Democrat?
Let me be clear: I’m a believer in a robust military, which is essential for backing up diplomacy. But the implication is that we need a balanced tool chest of diplomatic and military tools alike. Instead, we have a billionaire military and a pauper diplomacy. The U.S. military now has more people in its marching bands than the State Department has in its foreign service — and that’s preposterous. ...
Paradoxically, it’s often people with experience in the military who lead the way in warning against overinvestment in arms. It was President Dwight Eisenhower who gave the strongest warning: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” And in the Obama administration, it is Defense Secretary Robert Gates who has argued that military spending on things large and small can and should expect closer, harsher scrutiny; it is Secretary Gates who has argued most eloquently for more investment in diplomacy and development aid. ...
They should remind themselves that in the 21st century, our government can protect its citizens in many ways: financing research against disease, providing early childhood programs that reduce crime later, boosting support for community colleges, investing in diplomacy that prevents costly wars. As we cut budgets, let’s remember that these steps would, on balance, do far more for the security of Americans than a military base in Germany.
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