Reached on Wednesday, she said: “It was really upsetting to be in the situation, and I really thought that since I was sending this to President Obama’s re-election campaign, I was hoping that someone would see it – and make some changes."
Ms. Geist, 64, said she was laid off by IBM nearly two years ago. She said she was a claims administrator for the company and had worked there 14 years. Finding another job has been tough, she said. “There just isn’t a whole lot out there." ...
An IBM company spokesman, Doug Shelton, said in an interview: “Change is constant in our industry and transformation is a permanent feature of our business model. So some level of work force rebalancing is an ongoing part of our business.’’ He added: “We don’t discuss details of our staffing plans."
Selected reader comments follow:
What they were saying simply, was that US IBMers did not have the skills to compete Globally. This was a LIE then and it is a LIE now. Proof of that is easy to come by. Just ask the thousands of IBMers that had to “train” their replacements and then watch their replacements go back to their home country with the US worker’s job.
IBM has encouraged a grand increase in H1-B and L-2 Visas, through 2 presidential administrations (Bush, Obama) IBM fired 10,000 or more US workers between 2010 and 2011. They very cleverly avoid the WARN Act by cutting people in different locations that belong to the same division or group, and they stagger the firings so the number falls underneath the WARN Act’s watchful eye.
On February 27th, IBM fired 1790 people and stretched it over February and March. That number is still rising. The expectation is about 2000..maybe more. IBM also plays the game of buying out small US IT companies, making the employees IBMers, and then offshoring most of those jobs and then selling the company and making a huge profit.
IBM stopped reporting their employee numbers in the US. They stopped reporting how many people they fire, in the US. However, that information is still determined and captured by Alliance@IBM with the help of the resource action “packages” that IBM issues to the employees they fire. Alliance@IBM crunches numbers and tracks the actual decline of American jobs in IBM.
In 2005, IBM had a US employee population of nearly 134,000. Today, in 2012, it is estimated that number is about 90,000 and decreasing as we speak. IBM is doing what Bain Capital did with Mitt Romney at the helm. Mitt Romney is being chastised in the MSM (as well he should be) because he’s running for President, and voters are mainly concerned with jobs, jobs, jobs. IBM is NOT being mentioned, let alone chastised for doing the same thing, in the MSM.
The time has come for US IBMers to wake up and do something about it. That’s what Alliance@IBM CWA Local 1701 has been doing since 1999 and continues to do: Make IBMers aware that they have a choice. They CAN fight back and organize themselves and slow down the blood-letting and killing of good paying IT jobs in the US.
In six years, IBM made an average of about $120 million per year working on Disney projects, sources said. When that deal came up for renewal, Disney decided instead to contract with HCL America, sources said. ...
Both IBM and HCL America declined to comment, and terms of the deal have not been disclosed. In a process that company leaders call "rebalancing," IBM has cut jobs across 19 work groups in recent weeks. Where the layoffs are occurring geographically wasn't specified. IBM employs about 10,000 people in North Carolina.
I volunteered that I knew Kathi Cooper well, and he was a bit surprised. He said that in nearly all cases impending retirees are confused by this and have all kinds of questions. It proves to me how naive IBM employees are about how they've been screwed by the company over the years, and how IBM continues to get away with its shenanigans, counting on the ignorance and trust of its employees.
He asked me if I thought the settlement "brought justice" to us. I laughed. But, it will allow my wife and I to have a nice lunch at Panera once a month or so. For this, and for all your efforts through the years Kathi (and Janet, Lee, Mike and others) I say THANK YOU!
alwaysontheroad, you are QUITE correct, I remember as if it were yesterday when a peer missed the cutoff in 1999 and in addition to being upset about that, he quoted how much his pension was reduced because of the thievery by IBM (noooo, they didn't do that to us, did they?) in the years you mention. I wonder if the SERP pensions for those life is greaters who breathe the rarefied air were affected by this - you think?
"It proves to me how naive IBM employees are about how they've been screwed by the company over the years," You are also supremely correct about the head in sand naive employees who, sadly, only recently have begun to realize what an abomination the FHA is. fhawontcutit has been posting here for over a decade about it, I wonder where they were until now?
"IBM continues to get away with its shenanigans, counting on the ignorance and trust of its employees." Again, sadly, this will never end until the U.S. employee population is at the level IBM set years ago. And still, there will be employees who will deny that IBM has any nefarious plans for them. Sad.
I add my Thank You to all those mentioned, as well as to shuffnew. Kathi's is a true David vs Goliath victory - imagine the bile in IBM's throat when she won! I wish Janet's speech at the Senate Hearings were on You Tube, it would be a history lesson for all those who think IBM has their best interests at heart. It was a glorious day, I hope everyone here remembers it. Whenever you decide to retire - enjoy it.
Why not just have March 31st as the last day of employment? Because, with the exception of California employees, you must work the full month to earn your vacation for that month. IBM saves having to pay RA'd employees for the vacation they would have earned in March by letting people go three days before the end of the month!
I imagine some executive in HR got a BIG bonus for coming up with this scheme!
We all know Moffat is very old news. He got out of jail last May after serving six months. There was only a quick mention of him on the show, his picture was up on the screen for maybe three seconds, and then it was gone. His girlfriend Danielle Chiesi, was more prominently mentioned. Listening to the the wiretap recordings between she and Raj was very revealing. Even though she was having an affair with Moffat, she wasn't interested in anything other than what information she could get out of him, and pass it on to Raj. She was a total cougar, and she scammed Moffat good. At his sentencing, Moffat's lawyer told the judge Chiesi played him for a fool, and after hearing the recordings, I could easily see that she really did! Moffat was such a patsy. A grown man falling victim to the world' oldest profession. (Editor's note: At one time Moffat was considered to be next in line for IBM CEO after Sam Palmisano.)
Another source of inside information to Raj was Rajat Gupta from Goldman Sachs. His voice was caught on the wiretaps providing Rajaratnam with inside info about Warren Buffet investing 5 billion dollars in Goldman. Gupta was charged last year with conspiracy, and he'll be tried sometime this year. Rajaratnam was sentenced to eleven years, and was fined 92 million dollars by The SEC. And Gupta thinks he's gonna beat The Feds at trial!!! Who knows, maybe he and Raj can be or will be cell mates.
Gupta sat on the Board of Directors of Goldman, and Proctor and Gamble. He hob-knobbed with royalty all over the world. I know I'm a small fry, I have no money compared to these type of people. (Raj, Chiesi, Moffat, Gupta et al) Can somebody please tell me what the hell makes these people tick?? I sure don't understand their greedy mentality/nature. Maybe having all that money is more addictive than I'll ever be able to appreciate. I dunno. I just don't get it.
If you look into the annual reports of virtually all of the Fortune 500 companies, you'll see that one of the four committees of their Boards of Directors is the "Compensation Committee". You would think that it sets up pay structures for all employees, to assure that the corporation remains competitive.
I think that's wrong.
Every large corporation seeks to find young people who can be motivated by money, and will do anything legal (and some things illegal) to get it. These are the people who are chosen to move upwards in the hierarchy. That's because they are the most reliable ones, who gladly take on odious and unethical tasks, if the price is right and the future is made brighter.
In my nationwide travels in IBM, I found that the marketing branch managers generally fit that pattern. The essence of their motivation was greed. I would assume that the hierarchy above them was similarly vetted and conditioned.
If a person like Moffat spent thirty years or more being rewarded for doing such things while keeping his mouth shut, he (or she) would, -over the years, -assume that the incentive plans were indeed the ethical bases of executive conduct.
Some such execs would fly without a net, believing that the system (e.g.: IBM lawyers) would protect them. Unfortunately, there comes a time when any Corporation, faced with retribution, -will cut such characters loose, as a matter of self-protection.
And that, IMHO, - is what happened to Moffat. Mike.
"You would think with all the IBMers going through the unemployment mill all this would have been on auto-pilot.." (referring to HR's apparent difficulty in providing qualifying information)
Nicholas, the bulk of the Unemployment tax premiums go to the individual states, who pay the bulk of the money that the terminees get, under their State Unemployment Tax Acts (SUTA). What IBM doesn't tell you is that the states penalize employers with high turnover rates. Those employers pay a higher premium than the employers who don't fire at will.
So, it pays IBM to murk up your rights to file for the insurance payments, because it's money into the Corporation's pockets that's rightfully yours. The measuring stick for the premium penalty is the number of claims filed.
Read on. This is an extract from a tipsheet to employers (from http://loopholelewy.com/loopholelewy/10-payroll-taxes/payroll-taxes-04-suta.htm#Employers%20SUTA%20Experience%20Rate):
Employer's SUTA Experience Rate. The initial SUTA rate assigned to an employer may be increased or decreased by the state over a period of time depending on the amount of benefits paid out of the state fund on behalf of the employer's terminated employees.
The adjusted SUTA rate is referred to as the employer's experience rate.
An employer with low turnover over a period of time will generally have its SUTA rate reduced, while an employer with high turnover may have its rate increased. Unemployment Insurance Claims
When a terminated employee files for unemployment benefits, the state generally notifies the employer by mail about the claim to give the employer a chance to either accept or reject the claim.
If the claim is rejected by the employer, the ex-employee has a right to appeal. If an appeal is granted the employer may have to attend a hearing to present its case for rejecting the claim.
Tip: Find out what the rules are in your state for defeating a claim you feel is not justified. If you satisfy the rules, make sure you have evidence to support your case.
The following day I received another letter from CVS announcing that MULTAQ was being removed from their formulary drug list for IBM effective April first. The letter said I could continue to purchase this drug, but at a higher cost. The space for lower-cost alternatives was left blank.
I called customer service and talked to a friendly lady who explained that this drug was just too expensive to remain on the list. She couldn't explain why no alternatives were listed. I asked her if she worked for IBM or CVS and she responded with,"I work for CVS, but am assigned to the IBM desk." I observed that if CVS continued this practice, aspirin would be the only drug left on the IBM list.
My Nephrologist says that alternative medications are not compatible with renal failure, and I am waiting to hear back from my Cardiologist.
(We dropped the IBM prescription coverage for 2011-2012.) Me-retired, on Medicare + Humana/Wal-Mart prescription plan. Her: pre-Medicare YMMV!
A few days later, Mr. Swanson, 30, received a spreadsheet with hotel options, including prices, for all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Once he and his wife, Erica, select a destination — they are still debating between the two — a Circles concierge will book the trip and issue the airline tickets at rates they say are competitive.
“Since I work out in the warehouse, I’m not on a computer,” Mr. Swanson said. “I might have had to take some time off from work to research and plan my honeymoon.”
In an effort to improve productivity, some companies are turning to personal concierge services. The idea is to let someone else plan employees’ trips — both for work and leisure — find them a plumber or a dog sitter, or choose where to take their car for an oil change.
Typically, the word “concierge” has a luxurious ring to it, but personal concierge services are not used only by one percenters looking to charter private jets.
Smith wrote that he decided to leave Goldman-Sachs because it had veered so far from the company he had joined straight out of college that he could no longer say in good conscience “that I identify with what it stands for.” He put the blame squarely on Goldman’s current CEO and president. It was during their watch, he wrote, that “the firm changed the very way it thought about leadership.
“Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing. Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence.”
Had Smith been an executive at any one of the big investor-owned insurers that have come to control the U.S. health care system, he could have written the same thing.
Like Smith, I came to realize toward the end of my career that the companies I had worked for had changed so much during my two decades with them that I could not in good conscience continue to serve as an industry cheerleader and spokesman.
Shortly before I turned in my notice in 2008, the human resources manager who had hired me nearly 15 years earlier turned in his as well. He told me that in his exit interview, his boss, the head of HR, told him — not with regret but with pride — that the company he was leaving was not the company he had joined. He was right, which is why that HR manager and I and many other former colleagues have left in recent years, dismayed at what the leaders of health insurance companies have come to value more than anything else: making big money for themselves and their companies’ shareholders.
Smith wrote in his op-ed that “not one single minute [at Goldman] is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them.”
In the many executive-level sessions I participated in over the years — including with peers from other companies at trade association meetings—I cannot recall one time in which we talked for a single minute about designing health benefit plans that truly were in the best interest of consumers. We talked instead about making sure policyholders had sufficient “skin in the game” to ensure “profitable growth.” ...
As I wrote in Deadly Spin, “when your top priority is to ‘enhance shareholder value’… you are motivated more by the obligation to meet Wall Street’s relentless profit expectations than by the obligations to meet the medical needs of your policyholders.”
Though most Americans know them primarily as brokers or banks, the Fidelitys, Merrill Lynches and INGs of the world also dominate the 401(k) packaging business. That gives those firms the ability to introduce millions of workers -- and $4.3 trillion of their savings -- to the packagers' own hand-picked rosters of mutual funds. In total, financial firms take home somewhere around 1 percent of those assets a year, and few workers understand how that money flows. (One confusing concept: "revenue sharing." More on that in a bit.) But in coming months, the shroud of mystery may be lifted a bit, as the government is expected to implement regulations for disclosing fund fees. Lori Lucas, a defined-contribution-plan specialist at consulting firm Callan Associates, says the new rules "will improve transparency and put additional pressure on plan vendors to make fees reasonable."
What investors see once that transparency arrives might be quite eye-opening. By rough estimates, 401(k) fees add up to anywhere from $30 billion to $60 billion a year. Do the math and that comes to as much as $164 million every day. The companies say they more than earn that impressive income stream, given the complexities of record-keeping and accounting for tens of millions of accounts -- not to mention investing the money. In testimony to regulators, fund companies have said their 401(k) charges compare favorably to the costs of getting the same services outside the plan.
There's just one problem: Most employees don't or can't comparison shop. In one recent study by AARP, seven in 10 workers said they didn't realize they were paying any 401(k) fees at all. "There are enormous dollar amounts involved," says former plan consultant Frank Cirullo. "Employees are getting ripped off." Indeed, even though advisers always stress the importance of keeping investing expenses down, many 401(k) plans don't do so. At a midsize company, annual fees can run less than 0.3 percent of assets for a no-frill plan that emphasizes inexpensive index funds. The fact that the average plan member pays three times that much suggests that cost-efficiency isn't high on the agenda.
To understand the lies, you first have to understand the truth. How would ObamaRomneycare change American health care?
For most people the answer is, not at all. In particular, those receiving good health benefits from employers would keep them. The act is aimed, instead, at Americans who fall through the cracks, either going without coverage or relying on the miserably malfunctioning individual, “non-group” insurance market.
The fact is that individual health insurance, as currently constituted, just doesn’t work. If insurers are left free to deny coverage at will — as they are in, say, California — they offer cheap policies to the young and healthy (and try to yank coverage if you get sick) but refuse to cover anyone likely to need expensive care. Yet simply requiring that insurers cover people with pre-existing conditions, as in New York, doesn’t work either: premiums are sky-high because only the sick buy insurance.
The solution — originally proposed, believe it or not, by analysts at the ultra-right-wing Heritage Foundation — is a three-legged stool of regulation and subsidies. As in New York, insurers are required to cover everyone; in return, everyone is required to buy insurance, so that healthy as well as sick people are in the risk pool. Finally, subsidies make those mandated insurance purchases affordable for lower-income families.
Can such a system work? It’s already working! Massachusetts enacted a very similar reform six years ago — yes, while Mitt Romney was governor. Jonathan Gruber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who played a key role in developing both the local and the national reforms (and has published an illustrated guide to reform) has surveyed the results — and finds that Romneycare is working pretty much as advertised. The number of people without insurance has dropped sharply, the quality of care hasn’t suffered, and the program’s cost has been very close to initial projections.
Given this evidence, what’s a virulent opponent of reform to do? The answer is, make stuff up.
The remarkable thing is how quickly the lie has become part of what everyone on the right knows. And even if some of the people citing this “fact” could somehow be convinced that it wasn’t so, they’d brush it off, because there’s such a pattern of liberal duplicity, demonstrated by lots of other supposed facts — all of which are also lies.
This is the reality of modern American politics: a large and cohesive bloc of voters lives in an alternative reality, fed fake facts by Fox and Rush — whom they listen to out of tribal affiliation — and completely unaware that it’s all fiction.
It’s also, by the way, why attempts at outreach by Obama will fail. Even if he gives the GOP 95 percent of what it wants, these voters will never hear about it; they will still know, just know, that he’s a radical bent on destroying America.
For a popular Blue Cross Blue Shield plan in Chicago, a 30-year-old woman pays $375 a month, which is 31 percent more than what a man of the same age pays for the same coverage, according to eHealthInsurance.com, a leading online source of health insurance. ...
Differences in rates for men and women are not explained by the cost of maternity care. In the individual insurance market, such care is usually not part of the standard package of benefits. Maternity coverage may be offered as an optional benefit, or rider, for a hefty additional premium.
In Medicare’s place would be a private plan that would raise the eligibility age and shift trillions of dollars worth of health-care coverage from the government to the elderly. “This will be the new Medicare,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the proposal’s author, announced.
For years, Republicans have insisted that they would not end Medicare as we know it and that any changes to the program would not affect those in or near retirement. In the span of 20 minutes Thursday, they jettisoned both promises. ...
All the details aren’t out, but Paul says his plan would cut funding of Medicare by $1 trillion over 10 years and reduce Medicare’s liabilities by $16 trillion. It would do that by enrolling Medicare recipients in the health plan now used by federal workers. The government would pay 75 percent of the insurance premium on average but 30 percent or less for those who earned more than $100,000 a year. The eligibility age would gradually be raised to 70 from 65. If seniors can’t afford their share of the premium, they can apply for Medicaid, the health program for the poor.
The mandate is by far the most unpopular feature of a law on which Americans are otherwise evenly divided. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll this month found that two-thirds of those surveyed disliked the mandate. Even among Democrats, a majority (53 percent) opposed the requirement; independents (66 percent) and Republicans (77 percent) were even more hostile.
Yet this is a provision that the overwhelming majority — those with insurance — should support, for the simple reason that these people currently end up footing the bill for much of that $116 billion. As the government’s brief notes, “Congress found that this cost-shifting increases the average premium for insured families by more than $1,000 per year.”
In other words, those worried about having to pay ever-higher premiums should be clamoring for the individual mandate, not agitating for repeal.
Indeed, for all the bristling over the mandate, it will be irrelevant to the 80 percent of non-elderly Americans who already have insurance, either through their employers, government programs, or purchased on their own.
Roughly 3.6 million Medicare (USBOMDCA) recipients saved an average of $604 as the same law began closing a gap in their prescription- drug coverage. And 2.5 million young adults were allowed to remain on their parents’ health-insurance plans until their 26th birthday.
For two years, even as a debate has raged over what Republicans deride as “Obamacare,” the new health-care law has begun benefiting consumers and refashioning a $2.6 trillion industry. Insurers, hospitals and doctors are forming alliances and adopting new procedures, preparing for a reshaped market that will debut when -- or if -- the law aimed at covering at least 30 million uninsured Americans is fully implemented in 2018. ...
Perhaps the most fundamental shift the law encourages is a move away from the traditional fee-for-service model in which doctors are paid for each test, treatment or X-ray they provide. UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) said in February it would instead pay doctors based on patient outcomes, offering higher payments for better care. The company, the largest health insurer by sales, said the new arrangement would apply to as much as 70 percent of its commercial members by 2015, from less than 2 percent now. ...
The nation’s hospitals absorbed more than $39 billion in uncompensated care in 2010 and backed a health-care overhaul only after receiving assurances the mandate would boost revenue by more than the cost of implementation. If the mandate -- and its millions of new paying patients -- goes away, much of the extra $170 billion in expected revenue would also vanish.
In Massachusetts in 2009, the most recent data available, 26,000 residents who could afford insurance but didn’t get any were assessed a penalty, according to the state department of revenue. That was less than 1 percent of the 4.7 million people who filed a state tax return.
“Governor Peter Shumlin and the Democratic majorities in Montpelier want to completely uproot our health care system and spend more than $5 billion on a single-payer health care scheme,” says a middle-aged woman sitting down to tea in her kitchen. She looks exasperated and extremely skeptical. She tells viewers that no one knows where the money will come from or what the benefits will look like, and that elected officials won’t have any answers until after the next election.
“It’s not fair and it’s not right,” she says, then adds, “They’re hiding something. They’re not giving us any reason to trust them.”
The ad was paid for by a group called Vermonters for Health Care Freedom — and Wendell Potter predicted exactly this kind of publicity. It’s indicative, he says, of the kind of tactics the insurance industry will roll out in the coming months and years to counteract the forward march of single-payer health care in Vermont.
Potter knows those tactics well: He’s a longtime insider who defected from a high-ranking, high-paying public relations job to draw back the curtain on the health insurance industry. Based in Philadelphia, he is closely watching Vermont and testified last year before its legislators. Now Potter warns that the state will be a frontline battleground for single-payer health care in the U.S., and that the insurance industry — with its profits at stake — is sure to have a hand in the debate.
“The insurance industry is very afraid that [if Vermont succeeds] … other states will pay attention,” Potter says. That includes much larger states, such as California, where a single-payer bill stalled out in the state senate last month.
"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.
The luxury home market saw a healthy rebound in 2011 as well as a promising start to 2012. In Los Angeles, sales for homes worth $10 million and higher nearly doubled in 2011 for Coldwell Banker Previews International, according to agent Sally Forster Jones, and many of those were purchased by foreign buyers ― approximately three-fourths of the showings Forster Jones held for properties worth $20 million or more last year were for foreign clients, mostly from Asia, Russia, Europe and the Middle East, she told Forbes.
One broker in Colorado, Edie Marks of Kentwood Real Estate, reported that February was an “unbelievable month” for sales of homes between $1.5 million and $2.5 million. “It is the hottest I have ever seen in my lifetime,” Marks told Inside Real Estate News. In addition, Miami saw a 16 percent increase in sales for properties worth $2 million or more in the first seven months of 2011, and Boston and New York are also seeing a spike in median values for properties in the top 25 percent price bracket.
All of these betrayals of the social contract were enabled by the influence of big money on our political system, including huge sums spent on an infrastructure of corporate/conservative organizations designed to propagandize the public into accepting these changes - or at least keeping the victims from rebelling.
If you asked 10 people why they think oil prices are rising, you'd probably get 10 different answers. Some believe the price-hikes can be attributed to the shutting down of refineries across the US. Others think that we're at the beginning of Peak Oil, "the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline." Still others believe that prices are being manipulated by Wall Street speculators who're gaming the futures markets. Lastly, there are those, like economist Nouriel Roubini, who think that geopolitical tensions--like the prospect of a war with Iran-- are the main reason that crude prices continue to climb higher.
So, which answer is closer to the truth?
It looks to me like speculation is the most likely culprit, mainly because global demand remains weak and there are no real constraints on supply. (Consumption has actually been falling in the US, Europe and Japan.) So while the prospect of war in the Middle East has definitely sent prices higher, the so-called "fear premium" far exceeds what one would expect in this situation. And, that means that other factors are having a greater impact. Here's a little background on the topic by author F. William Engdahl in an article titled "Why The Huge Spike in Oil Prices? "Peak Oil" or Wall Street Speculation?"...
The US Congress has created a regulatory environment where a small group of financial kingpins can rig the markets and send prices skyrocketing without fear of reprisal. That said, it should surprise no one that the chief regulator overseeing the multi-trillion dollar oil futures market is former Goldman Sachs partner, Gary S. Gensler, who now chairs the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Here's a little background on Gensler:
"In March 2009, Senator Bernie Sanders attempted to block his nomination to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. A statement from Sanders’ office said that Gensler “had worked with Sen. Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan to exempt credit default swaps from regulation, which led to the collapse of AIG and has resulted in the largest taxpayer bailout in US history.” He also accused Gensler of working to deregulate electronic energy trading, which led to the downfall of Enron, and supporting the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which allowed American banks to become “too big to fail.” (Wikipedia)
It sounds like the fox is guarding the henhouse, doesn't it? And that's why speculators are taking John Q. Public to the cleaners.
At least five companies with government contracts gave a combined $890,000 to Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney super PAC, a review of federal contracting records and campaign finance data shows.
Other super PACs, including Republican-allied American Crossroads, and Priorities USA Action, which backs President Obama, have language on their websites warning that federal contractors are not allowed to make donations. Restore Our Future does not list the prohibition on its website. ...
Oxbow Carbon, a major coal and petroleum company, gave $750,000 to Restore Our Future last year. The private company has sold more than $10 million worth of coal over the last 13 years to the Tennessee Valley Authority, a federally owned corporation created by Congress. Oxbow's founder, Palm Beach, Fla., billionaire William Koch, gave the super PAC another $250,000 personally, a donation that is not prohibited by the ban. His twin brother, David, and older brother, Charles, are famous for their lavish support for conservative causes.
Reaction from the White House was immediate and sharp. “The House budget once again fails the test of balance, fairness, and shared responsibility,” White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement. “It would shower the wealthiest few Americans with an average tax cut of at least $150,000, while preserving taxpayer giveaways to oil companies and breaks for Wall Street hedge fund managers. What’s worse is that all of these tax breaks would be paid for by undermining Medicare.” ...
On taxes, Ryan offers a bit more detail than he did last year about how Republicans would reshape the tax code. The proposal calls for replacing the current tax structure’s six brackets with just two: a 10 percent rate for lower-income earners and a 25 percent rate for upper-income earners. That would be a reduction from the current top rate of 35 percent. Ryan also wants to wipe out the alternative minimum tax. And he calls for lowering the 35 percent tax on corporate profits to 25 percent and granting U.S. corporations a blanket exemption on profits earned overseas.
To pay for those changes, Ryan proposes to wipe out a vast array of deductions, credits and other tax breaks benefiting people and companies at virtually every income level. Neither he nor House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) on Tuesday spelled out specifics, but tax experts said their proposal would almost certainly have to take a whack at expensive tax breaks such as those for home mortgage interest, employer-provided health insurance and retirement savings.
Just 36 percent of those surveyed said America's economic model "provides equal opportunity for everyone," while 63 percent said it "no longer works for the majority of Americans." Only 20 percent of respondents said the economy "distributes wealth and income fairly," and only 43 percent said the economy "rewards people for their hard work and skill."
According to St. Louis Fed economists Luciana Juvenal and Ivan Petrella, speculation in oil markets was the second-biggest factor behind the past decade's price run-up, behind increased global demand for oil, which accounted for 40 percent of the increase.
A new study by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) of House members found 248 examples of members using their positions to enrich relatives or themselves, and almost all of it apparently was done legally. Some of those cited in the study, entitled a “Family Affair,’ are well known lawmakers, including Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, a Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., the powerful chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) a member of the House Financial Services Committee. ...
After conducting a deep dive into House office and campaign spending accounts and lobbying records for the past two election cycles, here’s what CREW found:
According to the study, the campaign of Ron Paul, the libertarian presidential candidate who frequently complains about big government and excessive spending, paid six relatives salaries or fees, the most of any member. The Texan’s campaign paid salaries or fees totaling more than $300,000 to his daughter, brother, grandson, daughter’s mother in law, granddaughter and grandson-in law. ...
Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., has used campaign funds for what CREW deemed “questionable expenses” such as taking his family to a wedding in 2011 at a luxury resort in Scotland. Democratic Texas Rep. Silvestre Reyes’ reimbursements to himself and family members totaled more than $400,000 over the two election cycles. One entry showed he reimbursed his niece, a campaign staff member, for charitable donations. His expenses also included thousands of dollars in airplane tickets and meals.
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