Some of the same companies that do not report their jobs breakdown, including Apple and Pfizer, are pushing lawmakers to cut their tax bills in the name of job creation in the United States. But experts say that without details on which companies are contributing to job growth and which are not, policymakers risk flying blind as they try to jump-start the hiring of American workers.
“It’s an important piece of information that the American people should have,” said Ron Hira, an associate professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology. “Should you listen to the kind of advice these companies have about how to grow the economy when their record and their model indicates they’ve cut jobs? . . . Or should we talk to people who actually do create jobs in the United States?”
But many firms, including some whose executives have counseled Obama on the economy, do not put their number of U.S. workers in their annual reports. IBM chief executive Sam Palmisano has met a number of times with the president, most recently in July at a lunch with other executives to talk about jobs and the economy. IBM stopped giving its U.S. head count in 2009.
Data from before 2009 showed IBM rapidly shifting workers to India. Dave Finegold, dean of the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, estimates that 2009, when the company stopped sharing its U.S. employment figure, also marked the first time the company had more employees in India than the United States. Finegold based his number on reports from the media, third-party groups and former employees who have tried to track the number.
“IBM can do as it wishes, and the rest of us have to guess,” said Lee Conrad, national coordinator for Alliance@IBM, a group trying to unionize IBM workers. ...
For chief executives of multinational companies who are used to answering only to their shareholders, the country’s jobs crisis has uncomfortably switched the political spotlight onto their decisions about who they employ and where. It has also thrown into relief the fact that when U.S. multinationals chase profits and hire workers anywhere in the world, they become less tied to any one country, including this one.
A famous financial planner’s rule of thumb is that you can spend 4 percent of your initial savings per year, adjusted for inflation, and it will last for 30 years. If you have $500,000 saved, 4 percent of that is $20,000 per year. Can you live on $20,000 per year, plus whatever you’re going to get from Social Security and a pension (the $20,000 and — for now — Social Security)? If you can’t, then you’d better start saving more or thinking about when and how you plan to retire. ...
And if you have a pension, that could help a lot. Rachel Sanborn, a fee-only planner in New Hampshire, recently worked with two clients who had $500,000 in savings accounts between them. She found herself surprised to see that they could retire with just that, but they can because they have two pensions — one client was a teacher, the other a state employee. ...
The bad news is that people are spending more in retirement on health care, utility bills, and particularly on mortgages. “The real reason why $1 million is not enough, sadly, is because a lot of people still have mortgages coming into retirement these days,” says Eileen Freiburger, a fee-only planner in Manhattan Beach, Calif. “I would never let a person retire if they haven’t learned to live within a certain dollar amount,” she says.
Under the legislation, lawmakers still would receive any retirement benefits already accrued and could continue to contribute to Social Security and the 401(k)-style Thrift Savings Plan. Members of Congress typically become eligible for retirement annuities at an earlier age and with fewer years of service than most government employees, but they also pay more of their salary for retirement benefits.
Something about " representing the people, and working FOR the people" So Surely they would have no objection to drinking their own ur****(bathwater) ??? "Cash Balance for Congress" has a certain ring to it !
Rep. Coffman's bill would end the defined benefit portion of the congressional retirement plan. I don't see how Rep. Coffman's bill would allow a switch to a cash balance plan, since a cash balance plan is a defined benefit plan.
I think we need to watch this one. Personally, I think it's an initial attempt to go after federal employees' pensions. Even if the bill is only for Congressional pensions, the next step will be to go after federal employees' pensions.
A classic case of the "Shock Doctrine" -- take a crisis and use it to do something you've always wanted to do but couldn't get away with it otherwise. They can use the federal debt "crisis" to get rid of federal employees' defined benefit pensions.
Watch and see -- it's the same thing they are doing with Social Security and Medicare. They couldn't get by with cutting/privatizing Social Security and Medicare in the past. Now they will use the debt "crisis" to go after Social Security and Medicare.
IMO, it's all part of a planned attempt to totally eliminate defined benefit pensions -- switch everyone to a 401(k) -- so Wall Street can make more $$$$.
You pick off one group at time -- a classic divide and conquer. That way the people who are already screwed (or never had a DB pension to begin with) have no sympathy for the next set of screwees. I got screwed so I don't really care if you get screwed, too. Or, I never had a defined benefit pension, so I don't care when others lose theirs.
I recently made a post about military DB pensions under consideration to be cut. It's another step. IMO, Rep. Coffman's bill is just another step in the "plan". Federal employees' DB pensions will be next on the chopping block.
I just have to use, as an example, a former congressman now a convicted felon, from my own home state:
"If Tom DeLay (R-TX), had a cash balance pension plan instead of a traditional defined benefit pension plan his pension benefits would be reduced by $357,057 or 58.7% under a cash balance conversion -- from $608,143 under the current traditional defined benefit pension plan to $251,086 under the cash balance plan."
The last question - will these congressman have a choice?
Gerstner could have avoided 90% of the controversy by just offering a choice. If he had, I would not have a pension check coming in right now because I was all ready to "cash out" until this board and the people on it educated me. I think because of the controversy, a lot more people made more informed decisions.
So if we really want Congress to understand - they get no choice. Cheers, Pete.
Cons: 1. Managers and processes are designed for themselves, not for the people. 2. GBS is not a place for much innovation. ISL may be better. 3. There are minimal processes in place. It is pretty chaotic.
Advice to Senior Management: 1. IBM is actually pretty chaotic. Leadership has to understand the core philosophy behind having processes. Process systems are actually pretty spotty. 2. Like delivery has responsibilities, KRAs, the support systems should have similar expectations. These are missing. 3. Please stop thinking IBM is the beginning and the end of the IT world and the rest of the world is a small pond. It's the other way, there are best practices out there that will make IBM at least 15 times more effective. Stop being arrogant, please be humble and open to the outside. No, INFY & Wipro are not "those other pure play" people. They are beating the pants off you in a lot of places.
Advice to Senior Management: Your company is only as strong as your employees. Start treating your employees with respect and actually giving them pay increases and bonuses that actually recognize the effort that these people put in. Change the performance review process to rate people on what they achieve, not how their achievements stack up against everyone else. IBM claims to be a top leader company. Start paying like a top leader company. At least pay at the 50% percentile. The company is starting to see brain and talent drain. When the flood gates open this will only serve to hurt the company.
Cons: Having a home life the travelling got old fast especially when you were not compensated for any of the travel time unless you work. IBM uses total hours worked 'ulitization' percent as part of performance evaluation. If you fall below utilization target, you pay the price at performance review time. You surpass your utilization target and nothing too the good comes of it.
Constant battle between those watching expenses at client site and yourself to be able to work the 'average' number of hours needed per week to meet your utilization target. Once you complete an assignment at client, IBM provides you with tools to find a new assignment but you must find your own assignment. IBM assigns a 'resource development manager' (RDM) who is suppose to help you find a new assignment. Have consistently heard that RDM's are worthless and provide little actual support (that was the case for me). I found a new assignment and was at client site 1 day when I was informed by IBM that I was identified as a 'resource action' as part of their annual purge process and to be laid off in 30 days. No reason given as to how or why I was chosen.
IBM does not address the 'human cost' factor in its business model
Advice to Senior Management: Strengthen the IBM Marketplace process by making the RDM more accountable in terms of supplying help for those looking for new assignments. Make those people that one sends marketplace inquiries to responsible by requiring that they at least acknowledge that they received your inquiry. I sent out 5 - 6 inquiries about open positions and hear not a word from any one of them.
"In his Centennial Conversation at the Computer History Museum, IBM CEO Sam Palmisano emphasized the importance of investing in R&D, even in a down economy. 'Shareholder expectations for higher returns don't diminish when the economy stutters,' said Sam. 'And yet, Tom Watson Sr. actually increased research investment during the Great Depression.' Palmisano added, 'I will tell you that my own instinctive reflex isn't to continue investing $6 billion a year during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. In that regard, I'm like all CEOs.'" From http://www.ibm.com/ibm100/us/en/lectures/what_changes_and_what_endures.html
Six of 10 working Americans rely on health insurance obtained through their employer. But right now, there are few health insurance options for people who lose their job and employer-sponsored coverage. Under COBRA (the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), people working for companies with 20 or more workers who have health insurance sponsored by that company can keep their health insurance for up to 18 months if they lose their job. However, the often prohibitively high cost of COBRA—as much as six times what people pay toward premiums each month when they are employed—means that relatively few elect to purchase it.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 substantially offset the cost of COBRA for some unemployed workers who lost their jobs between September 1, 2008, and May 31, 2010, by covering 65 percent of their COBRA premiums. Despite the several studies that found COBRA enrollment among eligible individuals increased after the subsidies went into effect—helping millions of people who lost their jobs stay insured—these subsidies have not been offered to newly laid-off workers since last year.
Once the major coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act are implemented in 2014, the newly unemployed will have greatly expanded health insurance options. Eligibility for Medicaid will be expanded and premium tax credits to purchase insurance through newly established exchanges will be available. Insurance market reforms will prevent health plans from charging higher premiums or denying coverage because of preexisting health conditions.
"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.
America has been good to Charles Koch, providing an environment where his family has made billions. But Koch doesn’t want to give back, especially through more taxation. His charitable foundation, which gives largely to right-wing organizations that support his politics and Koch Industries’ business interests, still only donates about $12 million a year — 0.05 percent of Koch’s net worth. If higher rates were imposed on the super-rich, would Koch retreat to the family’s fabulous mansions, like this one in the Hamptons, aboard its fleet of private jets in a John Galt-inspired temper tantrum? Or would they act like any respectable businessman, and continue to make a profit without complaining?
Mayor Bloomberg was among the revelers, as was NY Senator Charles Schumer, who must have been feeling grateful for his host’s generous political contributions as he soaked in the expansive view of moonlit Schinnecock Bay.
A fellow like Leon Black needs all the influential friends he can get because, like other private equity tycoons, he enjoys a ridiculously low 15% tax rate on “carried interest” (the share of profits that hedge fund managers get as part of their stratospheric compensation). Chances are the persons who, say, cook for Mr. Black or landscape his yard pay something more like 35% in taxes for the money they earn doing actual work.
In fact, if we got rid of this George W. Bush giveaway, we’d have $21 billion over the next decade. That’s enough money to pay a million jobless Americans $20,000 for a year’s work doing productive things like rebuilding schools or repairing bridges. That would be a lot more helpful to our country than proliferating casinos, which is Black’s line of work. His Apollo Global Management manages $72 billion in assets, including the largest gambling operation on Earth, Caesars Entertainment. He’s also into plastics.
In a turning of the tax policy tables, Democrats are increasingly hammering on Republicans who oppose the president’s proposal to extend for a year a payroll tax cut passed last year with bipartisan support.
That tax cut — which reduces workers’ contributions to Social Security this year to 4.2 percent of wages, from 6.2 percent — expires in December. The White House would like to extend it for another year. But Republicans in Congress are balking, arguing that such a cut adds needlessly to the nation’s budget deficit, and should be replaced with an overhaul of tax policy instead. ...
Lower- and middle-income workers are the greatest beneficiaries of the tax cut. The cut resulted in $67.2 billion of lost revenue for Social Security in 2011 and a total cost of $111.7 billion spread over 10 years. The rate will return to previous levels on Jan. 1 if Congress does not extend the cut.
Democrats note that Republicans had no problem extending the so-called Bush tax cuts of 2001, even though those cuts were also originally designated as temporary. “This seems to be one of those situations where, since Obama says yes, we say no,” Representative Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland who is a member of the special committee, said of Republicans. “It doesn’t make sense in any other context.”
Why? Social Security payroll taxes mainly benefit middle- and working-class Americans, as the tax only applies to the first $106,800 of a worker’s wages. Thus, no matter how much money someone makes, they will see a maximum benefit of $2,136 from the holiday — a pittance compared to the savings for the wealthy from the Bush income tax cuts. Republicans claim these cuts for lower-income earners will do less to stimulate the economy than cuts for the wealthy or employers:
“It’s always a net positive to let taxpayers keep more of what they earn,” says Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX),but not all tax relief is created equal for the purposes of helping to get the economy moving again.”
Hensarling, the House’ fourth-ranking Republican, is right — some tax cuts do more than others to “get the economy moving again.” He just has it backwards about which cuts do that. Tax cuts for wealthy, such as those in the Bush tax cuts, are the single “least effective way to spur the economy and reduce unemployment,” according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, because wealthy Americans were more likely to save their money than spend it.
Conversely, payroll tax cuts are one of the most efficient ways to stimulate economic growth, because low- and middle-income earners are more likely to spend their extra cash right away. But this analysis and similar ones from Moody’s and other experts has not dissuaded Republicans from their myopic focus on tax cuts for the the wealthy only.
But, there are better reasons why the rich should pay higher taxes.
The very rich benefit most from national security, government-funded research, infrastructure, and property laws. Defending the country benefits the rich more, because they have more to defend. Taxpayer-funded research at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (the Internet), the National Institute of Health (pharmaceuticals), and the National Science Foundation (the Digital Library Initiative) has laid a half-century foundation for their idea-building. The interstates and airports and FAA and TSA benefit people who have the money to travel.
Here's another good reason for the rich to pay more taxes: With the drop in tax revenue, funding for the preservation of American culture is disappearing. Do we want our national treasures deprived of maintenance because of budget cuts, as is currently happening in Italy? Do we want our national parks sold to billionaires? Do we want programs for music and the arts eliminated from schools, so that only children of the wealthy can participate in them? ...
Finally, back to the tax statistics. Why should financial earnings (i.e., capital gains) be taxed less than wage earnings from actual work? The richest 10% of Americans owns over 80% of stocks, the gains from which are taxed (long-term) at a 15% rate, while most wage earners pay more than that on their income. ...
Will the rich stop investing or move to another country if their taxes are increased? Not likely. They have it too good here. As Warren Buffett recently stated, "I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone - not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 - shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain." Mr. Buffett is admitting what everyone else is beginning to realize. The rich take much more than they pay for.
We, chairmen of companies and business leaders, business men and women, finance professionals or wealthy citizens, call for an exceptional levy that would target France's richest taxpayers...
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