“IBM's investment in Costa Rica sets a milestone in the attraction of multinational companies to our country. Parting from the fact that $300 million in investment and the creation of 1,000 professional jobs translates into one of the most significant investments in the last 13 years and one of the most important in the services sector, it is also relevant to mention that this new project is exclusively dedicated to high information technology services, a highly sophisticated process which positions Costa Rica among the big leagues with regards to services operations in the world. Equally important is the impact that this new project will have in terms of upgrading the country's capacity in the area of Information Technology, an area which our development process will benefit from. We are facing a great opportunity which consequently represents a great challenge: lining up our education with the latest technological trends and the global leader's demands to create new, better, and growing opportunities for Costa Ricans.” assured Minister of Foreign Trade, Anabel González.
In your wife's case, and for most others who were forced into the cash balance plan, you are right - reaching 30 years does not help you with retirement.
Health insurance will cover you until the end of the month as you paid for it already. Arranging for your retirement benefits will take a little time, expect two (2) to three (3) months of dealing with the IBM ESC. Start the process right away. The first check will more than likely be a couple months late but you will be retroactively paid back to the first of the month you started your retirement.
The old posts in the board are fully of helpful information, suggest you search through them and read them. Remember, life insurance, long term care and medical insurance will have to be dealt with, so get your act together if you have the chance before retiring. Also, consider the 401k account, it can stay put or you can roll it over into an IRA if you don't want to leave it with IBM or cash it out and have a big tax bill that year. Remember, you need to decide what is best for your family and yourself. Good luck.
When I went to retire, if you passed away, your 401k account went to your heirs and the money in the accounts had to be withdrawn within 5 years and appropriate taxes paid. The IRA worked differently at the time, it was given to your heirs and the money could be withdrawn over several years depending on the age of the heir and the length of their predicted life time as per the IRS tables. So the tax implications were best for distributing an IRA over the lifetime of the heir over a 401K. The law was changed in 2006 and now the heirs can elect to rollover the 401k account into and "inherited IRA" and the payout is the same as an inherited IRA that didn't need to be rolled.
I was under 59.5 at time of retirement, so I had to balance the easy access to a 401K when you are no longer working for the holding company, vs the benefits of an IRA for inheritance purposes. The inheritance benefits have been rendered moot so the only decision to make today when retiring under 59.5 years of age is the easy (relatively) access to your 401k funds in an emergency without incurring the 10% tax penalty.
The 401k funds are good and expenses are low. Vanguard manages some of the funds and the fees to the IBM managed 401K funds are lower than the same equivalent fees to the Vanguard funds sold on the open market. Sorry for the confusion, but I hadn't kept up with 401k laws on inheritance.
You can terminate your employment on any day you want, and there is no requirement for giving your management advance notice. But it will take about a week for them to cut your final paycheck. If you are on good terms, it would be reasonable to give your manager a minimum of two weeks notice.
As far as your pension goes, you can only "retire" at the end of a month, and your pension can only start on the first of the next month.
It takes 30 to 45 days to process the pension paperwork, which includes mailing the papers back and forth to you to sign. So if you really want your first pension check on the first of the month after you terminate your employment, you need to give the Employee Services Center that much notice.
You need to call the ESC at 800-796-9876 yourself to start the pension process. Your manager can not do this for you. Ask them to assign a personal adviser to you so that you can talk with the same person at each step along the way.
Other things to do: Be sure to take all your personal holidays before you leave. Check on the number of vacation days you have used. If you take advantage of the Health Reimbursement Account, you can use the total amount you planned to contribute for the entire year, even though you have not paid that much into it. So now is the time to schedule any doctor appointments, or buy a new pair of eye glasses *before* you retire.
Corning, I.B.M. and Raytheon all provide domestic partner benefits to employees with same-sex partners in states where they cannot marry. But now that they can legally wed in New York, five other states and the District of Columbia, they will be required to do so if they want their partner to be covered for a routine checkup or a root canal.
On the surface, this appears to put the couples on an even footing with heterosexual married couples. After all, this is precisely what they have been fighting for: being treated as a spouse. But some gay and lesbian advocates are arguing that the change may have come too soon: some couples may face complications, since their unions are not recognized by the federal government.
But that study, conducted for The New York Times by Equilar, an executive compensation data firm based in Redwood City, Calif., was just an early snapshot, and there were even more riches to come. Some big companies had not yet disclosed their executive compensation. So Sunday Business asked Equilar to run the numbers again.
The final figures show that the median pay for top executives at 200 big companies last year was $10.8 million. That works out to a 23 percent gain from 2009. The earlier study had put the median pay at a none-too-shabby $9.6 million, up 12 percent. ...
Other big payers included oil and commodities companies like Exxon Mobil and a few technology giants like Oracle and I.B.M. ...
Of course, these sorts of pay figures invariably push the buttons of many ordinary Americans. Yes, workers’ 401(k)’s are looking better than they did in some recent years, but many investors still have not recovered from the hit they took during the financial crisis. And, of course, millions are out of work or trying to hold on to their homes — or both. And it’s not as if most workers are getting fat raises. The average American worker was taking home $752 a week in late 2010, up a mere 0.5 percent from a year earlier. After inflation, workers were actually making less.
Alliance reply: Thank you for your comment. You share our frustration. To be fair, we do have supporters and organizers doing their best to unify US IBM workers in a common cause for a fair contract. On the other hand, IBM has been playing all levels of games to rid the company of some of its best talent, by sending their jobs offshore since 1999 or before. Fear, trepidation and misinformation are IBM's weapons against people that just want to earn fair pay for the best productivity in the world. Corporations (especially media corps) have learned well how to manipulate laws, Congress, the Supreme Court, the President ; and most of all the American workers into believing that Corporations know what's best for America and the working people of this country. We are NOT giving up and will continue to have alternatives to the abuse that the IBM Corporation continues to perpetrate on the IBM US workers. Please continue to visit this site. We welcome your insight.
Alliance reply: IBM is purposely withholding information from US workers being sent to Chile. The IBM Chile union is in negotiations and does not wish a strike. Does IBM management? The Alliance is trying to get more information on the situation in Chile and will report it as we get it. In the meantime, IBM workers being asked to go to Chile should just say NO!
Anyway, now they are telling me to only work 5 hrs OT/week max, and there will likely be another freeze at the end of 3Q2011. Upon asking my manager if I could be reinstated to exempt, I was told that HR would not reinstate my salary to its old level. I was in the meeting in 2008 when Randy McDonald told us that reinstatement to exempt would include full adjustment of the salary... well, "no pay cut my @SS".
Yeah, no contract, they can pull whatever crap they want to on us. So now I'm between a rock and a hard place. I'm the only team lead on this project that's a nonexempt but can't afford to go exempt as I will no longer get ANY overtime pay. (i.e. going to exempt would mean ANOTHER pay cut!!!) If I stay nonexempt, I am not approved to work the occasional long days that my position requires. And, I will NOT lie on my timecard in order to get my job done. BTW I am a full dues-paying member. -nonexempt-
Alliance Reply: Their silence is telling. Are you an Alliance member? If not, you may want to consider it, for a number of reasons. Also, it would be a good idea if you would document the conversations (email and verbal) you've already had with management. Now that it's official that IBM Argentina union workers WILL strike; there will be more attention to US IBMers, especially any that are training Argentinean replacements. Food for thought. Join Alliance@IBM
In May alone, we have seen a 76 percent increase in the number of beneficiaries receiving this discount (478,272 individuals through the end of May compared to 270,900 through the end of April). In addition, the total savings these beneficiaries received grew over 56 percent in one month, for a total average savings of $545 per beneficiary (for state-by-state figures, please click here). ...
And cheaper prescriptions are just one of the many ways the Affordable Care Act is improving Medicare for seniors. Thanks to the new law, many preventive care screenings are available free of charge. As of June 10, we found that about 5.5 million people with Medicare have accessed one or more preventive measures and last week, we launched a new awareness effort– Share the News, Share the Health – to highlight Medicare’s preventive benefits and encourage Medicare beneficiaries taking advantage of these potentially lifesaving services.
"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 now trickle-down economics — specifically, the idea that anything that increases corporate profits is good for the economy — is making a comeback.
On the face of it, this seems bizarre. Over the last two years profits have soared while unemployment has remained disastrously high. Why should anyone believe that handing even more money to corporations, no strings attached, would lead to faster job creation?
Nonetheless, trickle-down is clearly on the ascendant — and even some Democrats are buying into it. What am I talking about? Consider first the arguments Republicans are using to defend outrageous tax loopholes. How can people simultaneously demand savage cuts in Medicare and Medicaid and defend special tax breaks favoring hedge fund managers and owners of corporate jets? ...
So here’s what you should answer to anyone defending big giveaways to corporations: Lack of corporate cash is not the problem facing America. Big business already has the money it needs to expand; what it lacks is a reason to expand with consumers still on the ropes and the government slashing spending.
What our economy needs is direct job creation by the government and mortgage-debt relief for stressed consumers. What it very much does not need is a transfer of billions of dollars to corporations that have no intention of hiring anyone except more lobbyists.
As a share of GDP, the U.S. had the second lowest tax rate, behind only Iceland. This statistic flips on its head the often-repeated Republican charge that America has the second highest corporate tax rate in the world (which is only true on paper). In 2009, U.S. corporate taxes had fallen to only 1.3 percent of GDP, from 4 percent in 1965. ...
Recently, conservative commentator Bill Kristol chastised his own party for pretending that lowering the corporate tax rate is a cure-all for America’s economic woes. On Fox News Sunday, he interrupted a panelist who again tried to assert the U.S. is suffering from a high corporate tax rate: “Republicans are making a mistake if they focus on big businesses and corporate tax rates. Corporations have a ton of cash. The corporate tax rate is not killing big business in America.”
So take a look at one of the tax loopholes that Congressional Republicans are refusing to close — even if the cost is that America’s credit rating blows up. This loophole has nothing to do with creating jobs and everything to do with protecting some of America’s wealthiest financiers.
If there were an award for Most Unconscionable Tax Loophole, this one would win grand prize.
Wait, wake up! I know that “tax policy” makes one’s eyes glaze over, but that’s how financiers have gotten away with paying a lower tax rate than their chauffeurs or personal trainers. Tycoons have bet for years that the public is too stupid or distracted to note that in many cases they’re paying just a 15 percent tax rate.
What’s at stake is the “carried interest” loophole, and President Obama is pushing to close it. The White House estimates that this would raise $20 billion over a decade. But Congressional Republicans walked out of budget talks rather than discuss raising revenues from measures such as this one. ...
This carried interest loophole benefits managers of financial partnerships such as hedge funds, private equity funds, venture capital funds and real estate funds — who are among the highest-paid people in the world. John Paulson, a hedge fund manager in New York City, made $4.9 billion last year, top of the chart for hedge fund managers, according to AR Magazine, which follows hedge funds. That’s equivalent to the average per capita income of 184,000 Americans, according to my back-of-envelope calculations based on Census Bureau figures.
Mr. Paulson declined to comment on this tax break, but here’s how it works. These fund managers are compensated mostly with a performance bonus of 20 percent or more of the profits they make. Under this carried interest loophole, that 20 percent is eligible to be taxed at the long-term capital gains rate (if the fund’s underlying assets are held long enough) of just 15 percent rather than the regular personal income rate of 35 percent.
This tax loophole is also intellectually vacuous. The performance fee is a return on the manager’s labor, not his or her capital, so there’s no reason to give it preferential capital gains treatment.
“The carried interest loophole represents everyone’s worst fear about the tax system — that the rich and powerful get away with murder,” says Victor Fleischer, a law professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who has written about the issue. “Closing the loophole won’t fix the budget by itself, but it gets us one step closer to justice.” ...
The larger question is this: Do we try to balance budget deficits just by cutting antipoverty initiatives, college scholarships and other investments in young people and our future? Or do we also seek tax increases from those best able to afford them?
And when Congressional Republicans claim that the reason for their recalcitrance in budget negotiations is concern for the welfare of ordinary Americans, look more closely. Do we really want to close down the American government and risk another global financial crisis to protect the tax bills of billionaires?
Two weeks ago, that first assumption proved true: Democrats proposed a few hundred billion in new tax revenues (a small fraction of the trillions of dollars in spending cuts Republicans are demanding) so GOP principals threw up their hands and abandoned the discussions. But the second assumption isn't built on bedrock. And in recent weeks, congressional aides, strategists, and advocates have been floating, or warning of, a stealth change to the Social Security benefit structure that has quietly been placed on the negotiating table. ...
The idea is to change the way Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) are calculated across the federal government. Currently, the COLAs for tax brackets, pensions, and Social Security are tied to different measures of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Because spending habits change when living costs increase, some experts think these measures are too generous, and want to change all of the COLAs to a different, smaller measure of inflation: the so-called "chained-CPI." ...
But on the benefits side, this means money out of people's pockets, even current retirees and pensioners. Responding to a letter of concern from House Democrats' top Social Security guy the program's chief actuary explained that moving to "chained-CPI" would constitute an immediate 0.3 percent benefit cut. That may sound small, but the effects would compound, and "additional annual COLAs thereafter would accumulate to larger total reductions in expected scheduled benefit levels of about 3.7 percent, 6.5 percent, and 9.2 percent for retirees at ages 75, 85, and 95, respectively."
Over the course of a retirement, that can add up to many thousands of dollars. And that's why advocates and interest groups all the way up to AARP are sounding their alarms. "Let me be clear - AARP will not accept any cuts of any kind to Social Security as part of a deal to pay the nation's bills," said AARP CEO A. Barry Rand in a statement late last month, "and specific proposals such as the chained CPI should not be considered as part of the debt ceiling or deficit reduction negotiations."
Whether or not this feels like a recovery, we’re technically in one. And it’s true that some money is flowing again. But where exactly is that money going? Not necessarily to those who need it.
It’s going to corporations. The recovery began in the second quarter of 2009, and between then and the fourth quarter of 2010 national income rose by $528 billion — and $464 billion of that, or 88%, went to pretax corporate profits, according to economists at Northeastern University. ...
It’s going to the pocketbooks of the richest of the rich. The Guardian reports: “The globe’s richest have now recouped the losses they suffered after the 2008 banking crisis. They are richer than ever, and there are more of them — nearly 11 million — than before the recession struck.” According to the annual world wealth report by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini, the wealth of high net worth individuals — those who have more than $1 million in free cash — rose nearly 10% last year and surpassed 2007’s peak of $40.7 trillion, topping out at $42.7 trillion. It was even better for “ultra-high net worth individuals,” those with $30 million to spare, as their numbers surged by 10% and the total value of their investments rose by 11.5% to $15 trillion. ...
Where is it not going? To wages and salaries. As compared to corporate profits, household incomes only saw 1% of the $528 billion in national income growth, or $7 billion. The NY Times reports, “The share of income growth going to employee compensation was far lower than in the four other economic recoveries that have occurred over the last three decades.” In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that average real hourly earnings declined by 1.1% percent from the beginning of the recovery to May 2011.
Not to put too fine a point on it, Mr. President, but fuck your fiscal good. Whose fiscal good is it? And whose pain? Last week the New York Times said you hoped by hacking away at Medicare to inflict some pain on your base. That way, supposedly, the Republicans would inflict some pain on their base. Then we'd all feel better. Assuming we're all Wall Street banksters. But what if we're actually, almost all of us, the people you criminals call your bases? You, Captain Peace Prize, propose slashing Medicare and Social Security. And, in exchange, according to the Washington Post, Eric Cantor has proposed more tax cuts for free loaders who don't work for a living. What a deal!
There is an easy, long-term solution for Social Security; remove the cap on payroll deductions. This keeps Social Security fully funded indefinitely with no cuts in benefits. Why should workers pay Social Security taxes on all of their wages when the company CEO and Wall Street financiers are done paying in January? ...
For Medicare Part D, eliminate the insurance companies, permit Medicare to negotiate bulk drug prices with the manufacturers and purchase cheaper FDA approved drugs from foreign countries. Most drugs purchased in the United States already are manufactured in other countries (read their labels).
Each year, Medicare spends $9.5 billion for doctor's residency training with no requirement that these doctors ever treat Medicare patients. Require each doctor that accepts this money to accept Medicare patients and Medicare assigned payments for 10 years after starting practice. Also establish a yearly quota for training geriatricians that specialize in elderly medicine.
Each election, America's seniors vote heavily for Republicans even though they have strongly opposed Social Security and Medicare since their inception. Seniors must think through the consequences of making the right choices in the 2012 general election. Do we want to sustain these government safety net programs or return to the "poor houses" and "soup kitchens" of the 1930s?
“Today’s seniors want to lower the budget deficit. They do not want a large debt to be the legacy they leave behind to their children and grandchildren. But the fact is that Social Security has not added one penny to our deficit and has no place in any debt ceiling negotiations.
I recently explained here how excess liquidity lent to investors by the Federal Reserve at virtually no interest—helping investors use leverage as never before—created a maelstrom of activity in the commodities market. All that cheap money has pushed oil prices much higher than actual supply and legitimate demand would dictate. Covered also was the fact that during the campaign of 2008, when oil was nearing a new high of $147 a barrel, Presidential candidates Barack Obama and Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) knew why and promised to fix it.
Both candidates recognized what was happening in the markets and promised to repeal the Enron loophole that was created in 2000 by the Commodities Futures Modernization Act. This essentially deregulated financial products known as over-the-counter derivatives and loosened capital requirements. It allows traders to run roughshod over our economy, pocketing excessive profits and slowing the pace of recovery. ...
Not long after these columns were published, Gary Gensler, head of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, slammed the commodities markets with his sharpest criticisms yet. Gensler pointed out that as of today, 88 percent of recent trades for benchmark West Texas Intermediate Crude are made solely by speculators, not by the real end-users of crude. When speculators make 88 percent of all trades, they’re not just heavily influencing the market. They have absolute control. ...
Ever since this new business paradigm began to evolve and spread, we have witnessed one financial disaster after another—the manipulation of electricity in California, then of oil stocks at Cushing, Okla., and then of natural gas and the propane market—and have twice seen oil prices hit highs that weren’t justified by supply and demand. Yet any elected official who publicly says anything about restoring sanity to these markets is immediately labeled an "anti-business" crusader.
This country has never been anti-business. It has become anti-consumer. ...
Don’t hold your breath waiting for elected officials to put sanity back into the markets to better profit investors and ease financial pressures on the average family’s incomes (or other corporations’ profits). As the New York Times pointed out on June 13, President Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee "kicked off an aggressive push by Mr. Obama to win back the allegiance of one of his most vital sources of campaign cash—in part by trying to convince Wall Street that his policies, far from undercutting the investor class, have helped bring banks and financial markets back to health."
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