Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM has sued over the dismissal of a $1.37 billion state contract. Judge David Dreyer ruled in April that Daniels need not testify then, but left open the possibility he might be ordered to later. ...
IBM's motion argues Daniels has unique, firsthand information unavailable elsewhere. It contends his testimony is "essential" because he was the "chief player" for the state in designing Indiana's automated welfare application system and the efforts to fix it when it ran into problems. Among them was lost documents, long call center hold times, and bungled face-to-face appointments for welfare clients to meet with case workers. ...
Judge Dreyer's April ruling said IBM had not presented enough evidence to overcome a state law protecting certain state officials from testifying in lawsuits, but the order noted that he could be required to testify under conditions that had not been met at that time. The case is currently scheduled to go to trial in February.
If I leave IBM on a Friday and start at a new company on Monday, how do I account for the weekend being "uncovered"? I'm sure there must be a grace period of some duration, but I haven't seen anything in writing yet. thanks
Is there a limit to the period of time I can go without coverage between jobs if I want to reduce the length of a preexisting condition exclusion? Yes. The break in coverage between one period of health coverage and another can be no longer than 63 days (just over 2 months). If you are between jobs and do not have health coverage for 63 days or more, then you may lose the ability to use the coverage you had before the break to offset a preexisting condition exclusion period in a new health plan.
How do I avoid a 63-day significant break in health coverage? There are several ways:
States may increase the number of days that constitute a significant break in coverage. For instance, instead of 63 days, a state may allow someone to have a break of 120 days between periods of health coverage. http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/FAQs/faq_consumer_hipaa.html
Do you know for sure if HIPAA's 63 day window covers this case? HIPAA only seems to state that if you are allowed to join, they can't discriminate based on health conditions. Without a clear statement that HIPAA applies in this case, I would not want to risk a lapse in coverage of even 1 day.
Did you real the entire page at the DOL site? It is protections via the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. That's what HIPAA affords us. IF the FHA did not allow us to join, you have to ask why. Again, HIPPA affords us protection against that.
The jobs site CareerBliss.com just announced the winners of this year’s Leap Awards, which honor the companies that have made the biggest strides to improve employee happiness year-over-year. CareerBliss evaluated more than 250,000 company reviews and ratings it received from employees nationwide to determine the top 50 deserving companies. To qualify for the list, each company had to have at least 50 reviews. (Editor's note: IBM is not in the list. Companies in the list include Infosys, Wipro, Intel, and Accenture.
The early 80's were very "political," with about half of the executives with whom I worked getting their promotions on the golf course and then playing internal games that had us losing touch with the real needs of our customers. My observation in DPD HQ was that far too many were fighting over window offices and reading the paper most of the day to pay attention to customers. Since this culture was allowed to grow, I would therefore be hard-pressed to give the nod to any of the presidents who followed Watson Jr.
I wasn't there when Lou Gerstner came in, but I had several family members who were still there. The company was clearly in trouble and Gerstner did play a significant role in righting the ship, but I can't say the ship is nearly as attractive to me or the business community that it once was. Some have said the changes have just been a sign of the times, but I have to point out that the times were set by the likes of the presidents that followed Jr.
I would vote for Tom Watson Sr. as the man responsible for what made IBM such an admired company, with second place going to Jr. for keeping it going in the same direction for as long as he did
The last straw to 'respect for the individual. came when they said you didn't have to wear a suit unless you were meeting with a customer. That was in 1993. It wasn't too long after that when IBMers where getting laid off I always felt the thinking was it was easier to lay off a street person than a fellow professional in a suit. Prior to that, every year the benefits got better and better and there was always a department meeting where your manager explained all the changes. Since then, benefits have deteriorated at an ever faster pace.
I have to vote for TJW, Sr. as the greatest CEO. He got IBM through the depression w/o any layoffs and had IBM contribute to the war effort in many ways. (WW II). I started with IBM in June of 69 and left in Feb. 2009 due to a 'resource action'.
By the way, thousands and thousands were laid off before the casual business attire was introduced. Also, the benefits reductions began in the mid-1980s, well before 1993. The peak year was 1984 and after than began the business decline.
Tom Watson Sr. was hammered in the press for his earnings in 1935. From the "The Lengthening Shadow" by Thomas and Marva Belden,
"In 1935 the government began publishing a list of leading salaries in the country, beginning in the fiscal year of 1934. That year Watson's salary was the lowest it had been since 1926, but, much to his mortification, he found that it was first in the country, his thousand dollars a day surpassing even the earnings of Will Rogers. With millions of unemployed in the country Watson became the focus of a national debate about the justice of large incomes. The last of the Robber Barons and a Captain Kidd of industry, he was called."
It also points out that he paid 60% in income tax and is quote as saying, "I am glad to do it...I don't compare my net salary with my gross. I compare it with the six dollars a week I made when I started out in a store in Painted Post, New York."
He was adamant about not taxing corporations though and although supporting Roosevelt, clashed with him on that point but, "he had favored a high income tax on [rich] individuals long before becoming a rich man himself and continued to favor it afterward."
Again a quote, "Start at the lowest-paid people in the country and give them the highest reduction in taxes, because their children eat just as much food."
Kind of sounds like a recent article by Warren Buffett, eh? Cheers, Peter E. Greulich Author, Speaker and Publisher The World's Greatest Salesman, An IBM Caretaker's Perspective: Looking Back
So secretive are these companies that they hand the figure over to government statisticians on the condition that officials will release only an aggregate number. The latest data show that multinationals cut 2.9 million jobs in the United States and added 2.4 million overseas between 2000 and 2009.
For the women in the audience, be sure and read the overview. When I first showed these videos to a good friend at work she almost killed me because we did not alter a single word and Tom Watson Sr. used "men" so much - so I had to add the historical footnote. Good Viewing. Peter E. Greulich Author, Speaker and Publisher The World's Greatest Salesman, An IBM Caretaker's Perspective: Looking Back
Cons: A couple years ago IBM had very competitive salaries but now that Oracle and other companies arrived you can see that the salaries are not good at all. IBM has a 'brilliant' policy to give better salaries to new employees than keeping their current excellent employees with a good salary. Home office is forbidden for employees but you can see management has no issue skipping several days to work some place else, many managers are too busy on their careers that they don't have time for their employees. IBM Mexico has a full control on your salary and your manager has the full decision, in other words only the ones that keep sweet talking the manager will get a 'decent' salary.
Promotions aren't always a great idea, I know a couple people who got promoted and their salaries increase was 0, literally 0. When I joined IBM I was proud, happy and I was able to see myself prosper for the following 25 years making the world a better place, nowadays I'm preparing to open my own company or join a more challenging and understanding company. IBM needs to focus more on their employees and cut the bureaucracy and old politics that make them a hard place to work.
Advice to Senior Management: You can't go every year saying that we had a terrible year and that's the reason for a lousy salary and then expect us to say that IBM it's a great place to work and that we had an epic year. You need to realize that having over 200 people in many different projects with a lousy salary and doing a once a year meeting with chips is not going to create a wonderful environment. Seriously consider home office for the best, it can encourage others to go the extra mile.
According to new figures from job listings site SimplyHired.com, occupational, physical and speech therapists are in particularly high demand but are in especially short supply, making those jobs some of the least competitive. And healthcare companies are at the top of the nation's hiring list, according to the site's monthly jobs outlook report, released Thursday. There are 64 open jobs in occupational therapy for every 100 working in the field, the site's data show. Yet online job listings for these positions get 50 times fewer clicks than the hardest-to-place industry -- the legal field. Meanwhile, unemployed lawyers now find themselves in the country's most cutthroat race for a job, with less than one opening for every 100 working attorneys. ...
Computer software engineering is another growing field, with 29 job listings for every 100 programmers currently working. Software companies like Apple, Facebook, and Salesforce.com have created a tech-jobs boomlet, explains SimplyHired's chief executive, Gautam Godhwani. Facebook currently has some 2000 employees, with more than 350 open positions, but that's not counting jobs available at companies that make Facebook-related products and software, or social-media jobs that help companies use Facebook.
In this economy, many companies fortunate enough to be looking for new employees can find themselves overwhelmed by the number of applicants who respond. Many of the unemployed are so desperate for a job that they are sending out resumes in massive quantities, even if they are under qualified for a particular position.
In their quest to find qualified workers, some employers are explicitly stating that they will only hire those who are already employed and will not consider the unemployed. While the "must be employed to apply" philosophy may make sense, federal regulators are examining these types of policies, and at least one state has made it illegal.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission held a public meeting to examine how employers are treating unemployed job applicants. At the meeting, advocates of the movement to prohibit unemployment discrimination testified that unemployment discrimination has a "disparate impact" on minority, older, and disabled workers because they currently face higher than average unemployment rates. And, given the surplus of applicants for many jobs, employers are refusing to consider unemployed applicants at an increasing rate.
In an sample communication provided to me, a 33-year-old employee was informed that his frozen pension plan would provide only about $2,000 a year in income and warned that at his current rate of savings in his 401(k) account he is scheduled to run out of money at age 74. The employee is urged to go to Fidelity Investment's website for employer accounts, www.401k.com, and use a tool to learn how much more he/she needs to save to get on target.
Few people realize that if you've got a $50,000 salary at retirement, Social Security will only replace 40 percent of your income, so you need to accumulate 10 times your "final pay," or your salary near retirement, in your 401(k) savings so that you'll be able to replace at least 70 percent of your income. On the other hand, if your salary at retirement is $100,000 or more, you need to aim for almost 13 times your final pay, because Social Security replaces even less, around 29 percent of your salary. According to pension actuary James Turpin, how much you need to save is based on when you start saving: to achieve "10 times final," it's at least 10 percent of your pay if you start at age 25, but it increases the longer you wait, up to at least 48 percent of it if you wait until age 50. ...
We need to at least begin to address the issue of 401(k) inadequacy in the remaining four months of 2011, because this is the first year that boomers turn 65 and haven't been informed that most of them can't retire. If they are told the truth, they can at least attempt to convince their employers to let them stay on the job for a few more years at their current salary. Otherwise, within a few years, they will run out of money and most likely will be forced to find low-paying jobs in retail or the fast food industry -- a fate that ensures that retirement is completely out of the picture.
“If companies continue to drop defined benefit plans, it is adding to our retirement crisis,” Friedman says. “Companies know what the competition is doing. If one bar gets lowered, then other companies will feel like they can lower their bar.”
Age bias is "something that no [employer] talks about. But it's a reality in tech that if you're 45 years of age and still writing C code or Cobol code and making $150,000 a year, the likelihood is that you won't be employed very long," says Vivek Wadhwa, who currently holds academic positions at several universities, including UC Berkeley, Duke and Harvard. ...
In the category of "computer and mathematical occupations," the overall unemployment rate for people 55 and over jumped from 6% to 8.4% from 2009 to 2010, according to the data. For those 25 to 54 years old in that job category, the unemployment rate fell from 5.1% in 2009 to 4.5% in 2010. Those figures are particularly striking when compared to the overall population, where 55-plus workers had lower unemployment rates (7%) than the 25-to-54-year olds (8.5%) in 2010.
Over the next 75 years, Social Security’s shortfall is equal to about 0.7 percent of GDP (pdf). If we increase its revenues by that amount -- which could be accomplished by lifting the cap on payroll taxes -- or reduce its benefits by that amount or do some combination of the two, Social Security is back in the black. Here are 30 policy tweaks that could get us there. ...
And that’s...it. That’s what’s needed to fix Social Security. All this talk about it being a “monstrous lie” or “a Ponzi scheme” or “broken” is meant to create a crisis to clear the way for radical changes in Social Security. But if folks want to make radical changes to Social Security, they should just make the argument for their proposed fixes. And good luck to them. But in reality, what’s going to happen is that sometime in the next decade or so, Republicans and Democrats are going to compromise on a package that adjusts Social Security by about 0.7 percent of GDP over the next 75 years.
There is not a week that goes by that one of us does not read about the "resource action" that is taking place. Each time it happens we all worry it will be us next time, but.. we don't join the union, we do nothing, we get what we deserve. Working for IBM and allowing and participating in its activities makes us all complicit. Without our help, the company could not do what it does today. Are we any different than the good little Germans, who did not speak up, who worried about their own jobs and well being as the Holocaust occurred around them?
I recently worked on a project, the result of which was to offshore the workforce of the client company to IBM Global Resources in India. The new word for India resources is "GR".. they are euphemistically called "Global Resources". My work, my labor, took the jobs of American workers, and put it in the hands of people in India- I DID THAT...not IBM.
Do not let anyone tell you about the Great Global Economy and how these newly enriched countries are going to give back all the money we lose from the destruction of American Labor in trade. India just gave their largest (10B$) military contract to, well, not us!
The country that profits the most from US financial aid and a free license to undercut American Workers.. did not give us their business.. Remember.. government spending turns into paychecks for workers- that money goes into bank accounts and funds something called M1- M1 is multiplied and becomes the money supply.. We pay taxes, the government spends money and that money circulates and helps drives the economy. We are leaking M1- the money leaves us.. goes to workers in India and drives their economy- we don't get the trade in return, it is flatly a lie.
The time is now.. before its to late.. to take the risks.. to come out.. to do the hard thing.. Write to your congressman, grow a spine, stop the tax benefits to IBM and others who offshore and eliminate American Jobs.. Band together, join a union, do something! If you don't.. then be quiet, be a good little IBMer and each week.. as the layoff happens.. be glad its not you.. but.. eventually. it will be. -Anonymous-
In addition, Medicare’s Trustees report that the legislation “substantially improved the financial outlook for the Medicare program” without shifting costs to seniors, reducing medical benefits, or making across-the-board cuts to physicians’ pay.2 The ACA also strengthens Medicare benefits: copayments and deductibles for preventive care disappear, and more than a million seniors who, in the past, have fallen into the Medicare Part D coverage gap (or “donut hole”) will pay less for prescription drugs. At the same time, the law hikes Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to physicians and nurse practitioners who provide primary and preventive care, while raising fees for general surgeons who work in under-served areas. Fees for doctors who offer primary care to Medicaid patients will be raised to Medicare levels. Finally, if patients enjoy better outcomes at a lower cost, doctors, hospitals, and others that collaborate in accountable care organizations (ACOs) to improve care will share in the savings.
The assessments coming from CBO and Medicare’s Trustees may seem hard to believe. How can Washington guarantee insurance for an additional 32 million people, improve Medicare’s coverage, and simultaneously save money without rationing care, charging seniors more, or slashing physicians’ fees?
Although the news media has provided overviews of the law’s provisions, most Americans remain confused. They are not convinced that reform can make the American health care system more cost efficient, while simultaneously improving both coverage and the quality of care. The truth lays in the details. As Medicare’s Trustees observed in their 2011 Annual Report, the ACA “contains roughly 165 provisions affecting the Medicare program by reducing costs, increasing revenues, improving certain benefits, combating fraud and abuse, and initiating a major program of research and development for alternative provider payment mechanisms, health care delivery systems, and other changes intended to improve the quality of health care and/or reduce its costs to Medicare.”
Little wonder that no one can sum up the effect of those 165 changes in a page or two. The goal of this report is to synthesize the relevant numbers and offer in-depth analysis of exactly how the ACA will both strengthen health insurance protections and save money.
“American primary care and orthopedic physicians are paid more for each service than are their counterparts in Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom,” said the study, by Sherry A. Glied, an assistant secretary of health and human services, and Miriam J. Laugesen, an assistant professor of health policy at Columbia.
The study, being published Thursday in the journal Health Affairs, found that the incomes of primary care doctors and orthopedic surgeons were substantially higher in the United States than in other countries. Moreover, it said, the difference results mainly from higher fees, not from higher costs of the doctors’ medical practice, a larger number or volume of services or higher medical school tuition. ...
Ms. Laugesen and Ms. Glied said that among primary care doctors, those in the United States had the highest annual pretax earnings after expenses — an average of $186,582 in 2008 — while those in Australia and France had the lowest earnings, $92,844 and $95,585.
“Among orthopedic surgeons, those who had the highest annual pretax incomes, net of expenses, were in the United States,” with an average of $442,450, the study said. In Britain, which ranked second, the comparable figure was $324,138. Annual pretax earnings of orthopedic surgeons in the other countries were less than $210,000.
Overall, that middle-income family saw its income go up by $23,000, from $76,000 in 1999 to $99,000 in 2009 — not too bad. But rising health-care costs, in the form of increased insurance premiums and co-pays, ate up nearly all of that. Factor in that spending, and the average family only had $95 per month more in available income than it did a decade ago.
"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.
Republicans in Congress, and to a lesser extent the Obama administration, seem to believe that austerity is the best way to deal with our recessionary woes (despite all economic evidence to the contrary). Instead of unraveling the safety net, voters should consider all the ways the government aids and abets the one class of people who clearly don’t need help.
Go ahead and laugh. I deserve it. But although this is a minor annoyance in the great scheme of things, it's symptomatic of our deteriorating public infrastructure in the United States. A gas pipeline in San Bruno, California, exploded last year, killing eight people, and on Wednesday the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board announced the results of its investigation: The explosion was a story of "flawed pipe, flawed inspection, and flawed emergency response." It was, she said, "not a question of if the pipe would fail, but when." And this wasn't just a story about San Bruno or just about Pacific Gas and Electric: The rest of our national gas pipeline network is under similar strain. ...
All of this is common knowledge. What's also common knowledge is that manufactured outrage over the deficit aside, the federal government can currently borrow money for free. Actually, it's even better than that: It can borrow money at negative interest rates. If we want to upgrade our national infrastructure, there's no better time to do it than right now. As Dartmouth professor Matthew Slaughter puts it, "There is a crucial connection between potholes and unemployment." Repairing our infrastructure will put people to work during a long and seemingly unending economic slump; it will provide us with the capital stock we need to compete on the world stage in the future; and it will cost us less now than it ever will again. It's a no-brainer.
Ever since the acute phase of the financial crisis ended, policy discussion in Washington has been dominated not by unemployment, but by the alleged dangers posed by budget deficits. Pundits and media organizations insisted that the biggest risk facing America was the threat that investors would pull the plug on U.S. debt. For example, in May 2009 The Wall Street Journal declared that the “bond vigilantes” were “returning with a vengeance,” telling readers that the Obama administration’s “epic spending spree” would send interest rates soaring.
The interest rate when that editorial was published was 3.7 percent. As of Friday, as I’ve already mentioned, it was only 2 percent.
I don’t mean to dismiss concerns about the long-run U.S. budget picture. If you look at fiscal prospects over, say, the next 20 years, they are indeed deeply worrying, largely because of rising health-care costs. But the experience of the past two years has overwhelmingly confirmed what some of us tried to argue from the beginning: The deficits we’re running right now — deficits we should be running, because deficit spending helps support a depressed economy — are no threat at all.
And by obsessing over a nonexistent threat, Washington has been making the real problem — mass unemployment, which is eating away at the foundations of our nation — much worse.
Although you’d never know it listening to the ranters, the past year has actually been a pretty good test of the theory that slashing government spending actually creates jobs. The deficit obsession has blocked a much-needed second round of federal stimulus, and with stimulus spending, such as it was, fading out, we’re experiencing de facto fiscal austerity. State and local governments, in particular, faced with the loss of federal aid, have been sharply cutting many programs and have been laying off a lot of workers, mostly schoolteachers.
And somehow the private sector hasn’t responded to these layoffs by rejoicing at the sight of a shrinking government and embarking on a hiring spree.
Once upon a time, Americans celebrated the labor movement on Labor Day. But that was a long while ago, B.R. (Before Reagan). Most Americans have long since ceased viewing life through the prism of the working class. Americans are consumers first and foremost. We like to buy things. Unions, with their insistence on livable wages, pension plans, and health insurance, are an impediment to that desire. They drive up prices. ...
Unemployment is chronic and entrenched, having hovered around 9 percent for more than two years. Foreclosures continue apace and workers who do find jobs are getting them at significantly lower wages than their previous jobs paid. Many are losing their health insurance, and the public schools they send their kids to are being starved for funds by destitute cities and states.
Republicans in Congress say the answer to all of these problems is to cut government to the bone and beyond. Old people, poor people, and young people all have to share the burden of debt reduction. No government function is so sacrosanct as to be spared the knife. Except…
Except when it comes to taxing the well-to-do and filthy rich. GOP lawmakers argue that millionaires are the economy's job creators, and if they're not making money, they won't create any jobs.
A reasonable argument, except for the fact that they're making money already. And where are those jobs? CEO pay at large companies soared 27 percent last year. Profits are up too. Bankers, hedge fund managers, and stock brokers are raking it in. Things are so good for the richest of the rich that sales of mansions costing $20 million or more are up in the Los Angeles area. The stock market performed well in the first half of the year too. Where are the jobs? Why aren't these sultans of finance and industry hiring people, lending money, and doing something for the economy?
There are at least several reasons to be concerned about this, beyond basic fairness: 1) Nations that have extremes wealth disparities tend towards social unrest. Usually, its banana republics and dictatorships, but it could happen in a corporate-owned quasi democracy as well. 2) CEOs and other company insiders have been engaging in a massive grab of shareholders wealth for decades. Its gotten appreciably worse in the 2000s. 3) Management is now trying to hide their compensation from the business owners — the firm’s shareholders.
Making matters even more outrageous, these CEOs are trying to pass legislation that would legally allow them to not to disclose executive compensation at public companies:
“Here’s one financial figure some big U.S. companies would rather keep secret: how much more their chief executive makes than the typical worker. Now a group backed by 81 major companies — including McDonald’s, Lowe’s, General Dynamics, American Airlines, IBM and General Mills — is lobbying against new rules that would force disclosure of that comparison.
“The right answer for America is not to grow government or to believe that government can create jobs. It is instead to create the conditions that allow the private sector and entrepreneurs to create jobs and to grow our economy. Growth is the answer, not government,” Romney said as he released the plan, called “Believe in America.”
That may be a questionable concept at a time when businesses are seeing record profits but have not put them into the kind of hiring and investment that could start a national economic recovery. At the same time, though, polls show that voters are losing faith in the Obama administration and its embrace of government as a solution to many of the country’s problems.
All kinds of debt held by this age group have risen, but the big problem is mortgages. Thirty-nine percent of households with heads aged 60 through 64 had primary mortgages in 2010 and 20% had secondary mortgages, including home-equity lines, according to research group Strategic Business Insights' MacroMonitor. That was up from just 22% and 12%, respectively, in 1994.
We’ve done a great job of cutting taxes, but we’ve simultaneously gutted our investment in R&D, innovation and doing anything new! If you wonder where the jobs went it wasn’t oversees, it was into equipment for higher productivity, higher corporate cash levels, more stock buybacks, increased bank reserves and dramatically higher executive compensation as profits rose!
We don’t need more tax cuts – because nobody is investing in any new projects! We don’t need more unemployment insurance, because that – at best – delays the day of reconning without a solution.
Here's what we need to do today (Editor's note: 3 of the 9 are shown here):
“So why are democracies failing at the same time? The simple answer: democracies have also been telling lies.” ...
Of course, there is a big difference between America and Libya. We can vote out our liars, unlike certain Arab — and Asian — countries. Still, Mahbubani’s comparison warrants some reflection this week, which coincides with the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and the president’s jobs speech. It is a great week for truth-telling.
Can you remember the last time you felt a national leader looked us in the eye and told us there is no easy solution to our major problems, that we’ve gotten into this mess by being self-indulgent or ideologically fixated over two decades and that now we need to spend the next five years rolling up our sleeves, possibly accepting a lower living standard and making up for our excesses?
For me, this is the most important thing to say both on the anniversary of 9/11 and on the eve of President Obama’s jobs speech. After all, they are intertwined. Why has this been a lost decade? An answer can be found in one simple comparison: How Dwight Eisenhower and his successors used the cold war and how George W. Bush used 9/11. America had to face down the Russians in the cold war. America had to respond to 9/11 and the threat of Al Qaeda. But the critical difference between the two was this: Beginning with Eisenhower and continuing to some degree with every cold war president, we used the cold war and the Russian threat as a reason and motivator to do big, hard things together at home — to do nation-building in America. We used it to build the interstate highway system, put a man on the moon, push out the boundaries of science, teach new languages, maintain fiscal discipline and, when needed, raise taxes. We won the cold war with collective action.
George W. Bush did the opposite. He used 9/11 as an excuse to lower taxes, to start two wars that — for the first time in our history — were not paid for by tax increases, and to create a costly new entitlement in Medicare prescription drugs. Imagine where we’d be today if on the morning of 9/12 Bush had announced (as some of us advocated) a “Patriot Tax” of $1 per gallon of gas to pay for education, infrastructure and government research, to help finance our wars and to slash our dependence on Middle East oil. Gasoline in the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001, averaged $1.66 a gallon.
But rather than use 9/11 to summon us to nation-building at home, Bush used it as an excuse to party — to double down on a radical tax-cutting agenda for the rich that not only did not spur rising living standards for most Americans but has now left us with a huge ball and chain around our ankle. And later, rather than asking each of us to contribute something to the war, he outsourced it to one-half of one-percent of the American people. Everyone else — y’all have fun.
Their proposal? “It’s time for the Wall Street financiers who created this crisis and continue to hold much of the nation’s wealth to start contributing to rebuild this country and for the American people to regain their future,” explained Rosanne DeMoro the Executive Director of National Nurses Union (NNU) in a press release. The nurses are joining groups across the nation and around the world who are calling for a financial transaction fee on high-volume, high-speed Wall Street trades, to tamp down dangerous speculation and to raise revenue for heath care, jobs and other critical needs.
There are reasonable questions as to whether congressional Republicans even want to improve the economy at all, but if lawmakers have any interest in creating jobs and boosting growth, the American Jobs Act would work. It’s not everything I could have asked for, but it’s an ambitious solution to a pressing problem that would a big difference.
Krugman also said President Barack Obama has “close to zero chance” of getting his $447 billion jobs plan passed by the Republican-held Congress, which means unemployment will stay persistently high. “Realistically, the chance of getting any of it is very close to zero,” Krugman said before Obama unveiled his plan. “That's a bad thing. We're going to be seeing unemployment at something like its current levels, perhaps even higher, right through next year and beyond.”
Of course, it isn’t likely to become law, thanks to G.O.P. opposition. Nor is anything else likely to happen that will do much to help the 14 million Americans out of work. And that is both a tragedy and an outrage. ...
As Mr. Evans pointed out, the Fed, both as a matter of law and as a matter of social responsibility, should try to keep both inflation and unemployment low — and while inflation seems likely to stay near or below the Fed’s target of around 2 percent, unemployment remains extremely high.
So how should the Fed be reacting? Mr. Evans: “Imagine that inflation was running at 5 percent against our inflation objective of 2 percent. Is there a doubt that any central banker worth their salt would be reacting strongly to fight this high inflation rate? No, there isn’t any doubt. They would be acting as if their hair was on fire. We should be similarly energized about improving conditions in the labor market.”
But the Fed’s hair is manifestly not on fire, nor do most politicians seem to see any urgency about the situation. These days, the best — or at any rate the alleged wise men and women who are supposed to be looking after the nation’s welfare — lack all conviction, while the worst, as represented by much of the G.O.P., are filled with a passionate intensity. So the unemployed are being abandoned.
O.K., about the Obama plan: It calls for about $200 billion in new spending — much of it on things we need in any case, like school repair, transportation networks, and avoiding teacher layoffs — and $240 billion in tax cuts. That may sound like a lot, but it actually isn’t. The lingering effects of the housing bust and the overhang of household debt from the bubble years are creating a roughly $1 trillion per year hole in the U.S. economy, and this plan — which wouldn’t deliver all its benefits in the first year — would fill only part of that hole. And it’s unclear, in particular, how effective the tax cuts would be at boosting spending. ...
So, at this point, leading Republicans are basically against anything that might help the unemployed. Yes, Mr. Romney has issued a glossy, well-produced “jobs plan,” but it might best be described as 59 bullet points with nothing there — and certainly nothing to justify his assertion, bordering on megalomania, that he would create no fewer than 11 million jobs in four years. The good news in all this is that by going bigger and bolder than expected, Mr. Obama may finally have set the stage for a political debate about job creation. For, in the end, nothing will be done until the American people demand action.
After the American billionaire investor Warren Buffett urged Congress last month to raise taxes on millionaires, the call echoed across Europe. Sixteen of France’s wealthiest individuals urged the government to raise their taxes. The Italian Formula One magnate Luca di Montezemolo publicly backed Mr. Buffett’s idea “for reasons of fairness and solidarity.” About 50 of Germany’s richest people have been campaigning for a higher top tax rate since 2009. ...
But altruism does not fully explain why members of the global elite are suddenly keen to prevent the deep budget reductions that will occur if governments don’t raise more money. They are also moved by what some might call enlightened self-interest. Their walls may be high, but the wealthy live in the same world as the poor and the middle class, who have been walloped by unemployment and cuts to social welfare programs. When Mercedes-Benzes burned in Berlin and riots broke out on London’s streets, the rich were watching on TV.
These nations risk more than social unrest. Austerity is already undermining economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic. Slashing funds for education, infrastructure and other vital needs will undercut future competitiveness and endanger industrialized nations’ economic performance for generations. ...
Mr. Buffett lives on the other end of the income spectrum, where 1 percent of American taxpayers — about 750,000 families — pocket more than 20 percent of the nation’s income. It is not surprising that the enlightened rich would think paying higher taxes was a wise investment. The Republicans in Congress need to be persuaded of that truth.
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