IBM's BYOD program "really is about supporting employees in the way they want to work," Horan said. "They will find the most appropriate tool to get their job done. I want to make sure I can enable them to do that, but in a way that safeguards the integrity of our business." To that end, the company has issued a series of "secure computing guidelines" to employees in an effort to raise awareness of online security and the sensitive nature of corporate data, Horan said.
So far, about 120,000 users are accessing IBM's network through mobile devices, and of that total, 80,000 are supplying the device and paying the monthly service fees, according to IBM spokesman Tim O'Malley. The remaining 40,000 are using smartphones issued by IBM. The company has an "aggressive" projection for growth for this year, although a specific figure wasn't available, O'Malley said. ...
Employees who want to use their own devices have to agree to Horan's policies, which include that their device be wiped once they leave the company, she said.
Selected responses follow:
The earlier years in the "old" IBM there was a serious on employee development with some management accountability. Employee opinion surveys and employee 360 reviews of their management were done and used to help evaluate the job managers did. While Rich is right...good managers were generally not rewarded...bad managers were identified and coached or move out of management.
In the last decade the management accountability and employee feedback on their managers was not there and the "system" didn't police the people development or people skills jobs done by managers. Nor were managers held accountable for growing the value to the business of the "human capital" assigned to them. As long as the performance plans/development plans/etc...were done on time and plans met...the managers generally skated in this area.
Today I mentor a number of "young" employees and it seems rather common that they feel trapped in jobs/groups, are not undergoing any or many development activities and there's a lot of frustration. Most seem to feel they'll have to leave IBM to find a better opportunity. I find this sad...especially since IBM's invested so much during their first 5 years in the business in hiring/training and initial development. Additionally, there seems to be limited ability to move around in the business for most employees who might seek career enrichment, skills expansion or a better "fit" of skills/interests to a job. I posted the discussion item to try to validate or not my observations with the input of people who have "been there and done that" or who "are there and doing it" now.
The feeling I had was that they were trying to replace skills development with skills mapping... nothing wrong with better understanding where the right skills are, the question is what you do to enhance them once you have identified them. I never perceived HR as a Human Resources function, just mainly an admin organization.
Senior Execs are often too short in one job / organization to have time to care... I changed VP 4 times in 2 years, you don't even have time to get to know your management and they are off to new careers.
The Hackett Group report examines employment patterns among 4,500 major companies during the 2002-2016 period. The researchers calculate that between 2002 and 2016, 3.7 million of all business service jobs will have been eliminated through a combination of productivity improvements (3.2 million, or 39%) and offshoring (2.1 million/25%), partially offset by 1.6 million jobs (20%) created through economic growth. This represents a net decline of 45% over the 15-year period.
Cons: The flip side of working from home is that there is no work-life balance. In fact prior to leaving IBM, they changed the term Work-Life Balance to Work-Life Integration. There is no balance at all. IBM will grind you to a nub for wages far less than industry standard. The focus on EPS has caused a cutback on everything. For example, the allocation for expenses has become even more of a joke now that I have left. When I was at IBM the per diem for food in NYC was $50 - that might get you a decent lunch. Now, IBM even pro-rates the per diem based on when you leave your house.
If you have a family and your family will be relying on you to provide insurance, run away as fast as you can. The amount that people have to pay for family coverage is outrageous (although single coverage wasn't too bad when I left in 2011.)
Advice to Senior Management: IBM needs to change its fundamental business model. They understandably acquire successful companies as it is easier to acquire than provide the R&D on so many products. However, IBM destroys the processes that made those companies successful (marketing plans and sales compensation are two points that come to mind immediately). This is particularly noticeable in the Software Group.
The practice of underpaying their employees (for the prestige of working at IBM or as my first line manager said, 'Happy to just have a job') leads to mediocre employees as the talented individuals leave as soon as a better opportunity presents itself. When the average tenure of a sales individual is 12 months, there is something fundamentally wrong.
Advice to Senior Management: Key Point: Pay more money, then I'll put up with the life sucking vampire of a company that this is. Alternatively: Don't ride your low level employees like they're sheep. I know that's what we are but that will make me quit and go somewhere for a 40% pay bump. Watch me.
Cons: After 34 years I was selected to participate in a "Resource Action". I was given 30 days to find another job or be out the door. (I was out the door.) These RAs, always the end of the second month of a quarter, are designed to lower costs quickly. They are a common occurrence and because there are so many organizations the overall numbers are never high enough to get media coverage. It is a cloud over every employee's head.
Executive management doesn't want to hear bad news, so middle management will spin any problem to save themselves. Even bad programs/products get out the door, the management in charge get their awards and move up and out before stuff hits the fan. Then new management has to fix the problem that they didn't cause.
Non-performing employees are kept around because headcount is so micromanaged that if someone is let go, there's a good chance that there will never be a backfill. So, managers are continually faced with the problem of keeping a bad performer around just to save the spot or save it until they're forced to make an RA selection.
Expenses are micro-managed. In my group, if you asked for $8 business cards, you had to go through reviews and get half a dozen upper managers to okay it - oh, and provide a list of external customers that you interfaced with to prove that the cards would be used in a clear revenue opportunity. Just before I left, the edict came out from CHQ - no external monitors or minidocks if you had a laptop. SW and HW developers writing code, running scripts, compiling, debugging in multiple windows, why would they need an external LCD monitor to actually see what they're doing??? Penny wise and pound foolish. Be prepared to buy things you'll need to do your job with your own dime.
It is clear that the goal is to reduce US headcount and increase headcount in those countries where the P/Y rate is a third of what it is in the US. That would be a good financial decision if those individuals had the necessary skills AND if they stuck around to do work and provide continuity. Turnover in those countries is very high because the employees are focused solely on making more money (who can blame them).
IBM is clearly not the company I went to work for 34 years ago. We used to be proud to be IBMers. Today it is a paycheck. IBM tries to recruit from the best schools and the pay is competitive in the beginning, but by year 4, those hires will be behind their peers in other companies. IBM may have more patents than any other company, but it doesn't play out in how they reward their employees in job opportunities and advancement.
Advice to Senior Management: Put as much effort in growing your employees as you do in figuring out how to pinch pennies and put bureaucratic controls in place to stymie them.
The disclosure appears to contradict assurances from the employment minister, Chris Grayling, who told parliament in November that he would not allow his department's major IT projects to go abroad.
Union leaders and MPs reacted angrily to the disclosure. Mark Serwotka, leader of the PCS union, said: "With unemployment high and still rising, ministers should be taking every opportunity to create skilled jobs, yet it appears plans are already well advanced to offshore the development of what is supposedly their flagship benefits system. ...
He said using Indian labour would keep costs down and allow for work around the clock. "We are looking to maximise the use of offshore development in the interests of both cost and time. In relation to cost, the greater the amount of development work we can do offshore, the lower the overall blended rate for the programme. Another benefit of offshore where time is concerned is that we are able to drive more design and development hours from each working day." ...
Last week the Observer disclosed that the government had secretly agreed that the personal data of 43 million drivers in the UK could be contracted offshore to India. Data from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, including addresses and registration plate numbers, along with credit card details, will now be accessible to staff outside the UK.
Mark Walton begs to disagree. The former CNN correspondent transformed his own career 20 years ago by becoming a Fortune 100 leadership consultant. Now 61, Walton has spent the past five years studying people who transformed their careers successfully in their 50s or early 60s, and invented new ways of working that extended into their 70s, 80s or even 90s.
A growing body of neuroscience research suggests that old dogs can learn new tricks, and that they can do it better than the young ones. Walton elaborates on how the scientific research connects with the real life experiences of successful mid-life transformations in his new book, Boundless Potential: Transform Your Brain, Unleash Your Talents, Reinvent Your Work in Midlife and Beyond (McGraw-Hill).
An estimated 31 million people ages 44 to 70 are interested in transitioning to socially oriented encore careers, according to the MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures, which jointly commissioned the survey. But respondents’ answers suggest that about 40 percent are staying put because of financial problems.
Even though it’s a topic that’s gotten more coverage in recent years, you’re not alone if you haven’t heard the term as it relates to financial advisers.
So what does it mean to act as a fiduciary?
In simple terms, it means that your customers’ interests come first. The client and advice to the client are at the center of a fiduciary relationship. Not the advisers. Not the firms. The clients.
The US economy today is all about self interest. If you play your cards right, you can use IBM to propel you into something great. The days of working at IBM for 30-40 years are gone. We can debate whether that is good or bad for eternity. Personally, I only do jobs that help me, I focus on technical jobs popular on LinkedIn and other soft skills. If that makes me an RA candidate, so be it. I'll take the package and move on to something much better.
As for those complaining that they are working too many hours. IBM does not have a gun to your head. I worked seven days a week in 2011. No more. Now, I work five days. I told my manager I will not do that job anymore. I'm focused and work hard. But I refuse to work the weekend. If that means I get canned, fine. We all need to take responsibility.
If you believe in economics, IBM will not be able to do this forever. The market will shift eventually back to an employee market. Overseas costs will increase, and skill levels will not keep up. I'm not opposed to unions. I just think the current US climate is.
With that said, even if you feel Alliance is right in the smallest way, I suggest you join. At a minimal, they do provide valuable statistics and work with government officials. The dues are cheap. Good luck everyone. It is no different than supporting a church, NPR, or whatever your favorite cause it... -AcceptReality-
First off, as the Alliance has said repeatedly in this forum, it's not possible for IBM to find out who you are if you want to remain anonymous. It would be illegal for them to try. So you can put yourself at ease for #1.
If you don't believe in unions -- or if you don't believe enough people will join the Alliance to form one, let me offer you this thought: Why are you here reading this? Because the Alliance is practically the only source that exists for real information about what is happening in the company. IBM is certainly not going to provide you with all of the dirty secrets they like to hide.
I am happy to be a member and pay my $10 a month to, if for not other reason, support their efforts and get at least some information about what is going on. You should be too. Become a member and support the Alliance. -Big Blue Bayou Alliance member-
But, yes, America is largely turned against unions, and so the Alliance has suffered lack of exposure because of it. It does stink that IBMers finally find out about the Alliance once they are RAed. By why is that so? I don't want to rant myself. It really does no good for us all! But let's all unite now and spread the word. Let's expose IBM for what it is. BTW, Keep that "About Your Company Book"! See how IBM has broken their retirement promise to us all. Yes, that booklet is proof of why there is a movement to unionize and why the Alliance is still more than relevant! -IBMUnionYes-
Conservatives are viciously attacking an idea developed in right-wing think tanks like the Heritage Foundation as an alternative to the Clintons' health reform. That means that, by their own framing, the right is now fighting for the "freeloaders" who don't "take responsibility" for their health costs. That's what you get when a Democratic President tries to compromise with the Right - Republicans attacking one of their own ideas as "socialism."
It's just as off-kilter on the other side of the aisle. Democrats and some of their liberal supporters are vehemently defending a law that forces Americans to buy insurance from private insurance companies - companies whose hikes of as much as 24 percent were just ruled "excessive" in nine states - for coverage so weak that enrollees can still be driven into bankruptcy by medical expenses.
The "left" solution involves forcing people to pay inflated premiums to private corporations, while the "right" is rejecting its own proposal. Who's on first?
Senator, excuse me, Justice Samuel Alito quoted Congressional Budget Office figures on Tuesday to talk about the insurance costs of the young. On Wednesday, Chief Justice John Roberts sounded like the House whip in discussing whether parts of the law could stand if other parts fell. He noted that without various provisions, Congress “wouldn’t have been able to put together, cobble together, the votes to get it through.” Tell me again, was this a courtroom or a lobbyist’s office?
It fell to the court’s liberals — the so-called “judicial activists,” remember? — to remind their conservative brethren that legislative power is supposed to rest in our government’s elected branches.
Justice Stephen Breyer noted that some of the issues raised by opponents of the law were about “the merits of the bill,” a proper concern of Congress, not the courts. And in arguing for restraint, Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked what was wrong with leaving as much discretion as possible “in the hands of the people who should be fixing this, not us.” It was nice to be reminded that we’re a democracy, not a judicial dictatorship. ...
Liberals should learn from this display that there is no point in catering to today’s hard-line conservatives. The individual mandate was a conservative idea that President Obama adopted to preserve the private market in health insurance rather than move toward a government-financed, single-payer system. What he got back from conservatives was not gratitude but charges of socialism — for adopting their own proposal. ...
One of the most astonishing arguments came from Roberts, who spoke with alarm that people would be required to purchase coverage for issues they might never confront. He specifically cited “pediatric services” and “maternity services.”
Well, yes, men pay to cover maternity services while women pay for treating prostate problems. It’s called health insurance. Would it be better to segregate the insurance market along gender lines?
The court’s right-wing justices seemed to forget that the best argument for the individual mandate was made in 1989 by a respected conservative, the Heritage Foundation’s Stuart Butler.
“If a man is struck down by a heart attack in the street,” Butler said, “Americans will care for him whether or not he has insurance. If we find that he has spent his money on other things rather than insurance, we may be angry but we will not deny him services — even if that means more prudent citizens end up paying the tab. A mandate on individuals recognizes this implicit contract.”
In the more than seven decades since the New Deal, the Supreme Court has avoided this sort of line-by-line parsing of the policy choices made by legislators. As the Justices have said repeatedly, the courts should overrule the work of Congress only on the rarest occasions. “Conclusory second-guessing of difficult legislative decisions,” Chief Justice William Rehnquist once observed, “is not an attractive way for federal courts to engage in judicial review.” In recent years, the Justices have intervened in these matters solely to protect the rights of minorities shut out of the legislative process. (Insurance companies, though they are few in number, do not count as a “minority.”) Now, instead, the Supreme Court acts as a sort of supra-legislature, dismissing laws that conflict with its own political agenda. This was most evident in the 2010 case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, when the five-Justice majority eviscerated the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law (not to mention several of its own precedents), because Congress showed insufficiently tender regard for the free-speech rights of corporations. The question now is whether those same five Justices will rewrite—or erase—the health-care law on which Barack Obama has staked his Presidency.
Can our country afford to spend this much? Of course not. Healthcare spending is siphoning federal and state money from other urgent priorities, including deficit reduction, defense, education and law enforcement. High healthcare costs hinder American businesses' ability to compete in the global marketplace. Many U.S. companies are deterred from offering coverage to their employees by the high costs of healthcare.
"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 top hedge fund guru, Raymond Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, hauled in $3 billion, which comes to a whopping $1,442,308 an HOUR, (assuming he worked 40 hours a week for 52 weeks.) It would take the typical U.S. family 29.2 YEARS to earn as much as Mr. Dalio earned in one HOUR.
How much is $3 billion per year? It's hard to wrap one's head around a number as large as a billion. Here's some context...
Do they at least pay their fair share of taxes? No. Hedge funds take advantage of the “carried interest” loophole which allows much of their income to be taxed at the 15 percent rate instead of the top rate of 35 percent. Each time Congress tries to close this outrageous loophole, hedge fund money and lobbying makes sure the bills fade away.
Bartlett argues that right-wing tax policies — pushed in part by Grover Norquist and Tea Party activists — are destroying the country’s economic foundation. When he called George W. Bush out as “a pretend conservative” in his book Impostor: Why George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy, Bartlett was fired from his position as a senior fellow at a conservative think tank. His new book is The Benefit and the Burden: Tax Reform — Why We Need It and What It Will Take.
In 2010, as the nation continued to recover from the recession, a dizzying 93 percent of the additional income created in the country that year, compared to 2009 — $288 billion — went to the top 1 percent of taxpayers, those with at least $352,000 in income. That delivered an average single-year pay increase of 11.6 percent to each of these households.
Still more astonishing was the extent to which the super rich got rich faster than the merely rich. In 2010, 37 percent of these additional earnings went to just the top 0.01 percent, a teaspoon-size collection of about 15,000 households with average incomes of $23.8 million. These fortunate few saw their incomes rise by 21.5 percent.
The bottom 99 percent received a microscopic $80 increase in pay per person in 2010, after adjusting for inflation. The top 1 percent, whose average income is $1,019,089, had an 11.6 percent increase in income. ...
Government has also played a role, particularly the George W. Bush tax cuts, which, among other things, gave the wealthy a 15 percent tax on capital gains and dividends. That’s the provision that caused Warren E. Buffett’s secretary to have a higher tax rate than he does.
As a result, the top 1 percent has done progressively better in each economic recovery of the past two decades. In the Clinton era expansion, 45 percent of the total income gains went to the top 1 percent; in the Bush recovery, the figure was 65 percent; now it is 93 percent.
Between all the back and forth, the real underlying issue is becoming lost. We're talking about restoring fairness to our tax system. The tenant of the Buffett Rule is to fix something so broken, so wrong that Ronald Reagan agreed. Our tax code is fundamentally unfair because the system taxes income typically earned by the wealthy, like investments, at a lower rate than income earned by middle class workers, like salaries. More troubling, the system is full of tax loopholes, corporate giveaways and carve-outs for millionaires and billionaires. This has left us with a world in which middle class families are paying more of their overall income than our richest 1%.
So Ryan plunders them and gives the savings to the rich in the form of additional tax breaks. Half of the savings in Ryan's budget come from destroying health insurance programs. That would cost tens of millions of Americans their coverage.
Uninsured and underinsured toddlers, injured veterans, and disabled workers may die from some curable disease as a result. But at least Ryan will save those people from being demeaned! That Ryan, what a guy, huh? Arranging for the nation's well off to shirk responsibility to the vulnerable -- then calling it kindness.
Ryan offered up the sequel to last year's failed country club conservative budget and explained that he purged programs for the hapless because a social safety net:
". . . lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency, which drains them of their very will and incentive to make the most of their lives. It's demeaning."
Oh. That's the demeaning thing! It isn't being so poor that health insurance is unaffordable, getting emergency treatment for a broken hip, then being hounded by hospital bill collectors while still in a body cast and unable to work. It wouldn't be watching your mother die in unbearable pain of a treatable cancer because she couldn't afford health insurance. It wouldn't be realizing your child may die because you lost your job and with it your health insurance during the Wall Street-caused recession, then discovered your baby suffers a rare heart disease that's treatable for those with insurance, but fatal for those without because they can't afford the medications.
Although Boeing didn't say how much the new plane cost, it did say that the specially outfitted 737-700 was sold to a private American businessman.
But Spaccarelli's victory rings hollow. In fact, the route he was forced to take -- suing AT&T by himself as opposed to employing a more influential and wider ranging class-action lawsuit -- illustrates just how difficult it is to change a carrier's business practice through legal means. Rather than big changes and a return of his unlimited high-speed access, he ended up with $850 and a lot of disappointment. ...
But thanks to a Supreme Court decision in 2011, which upheld a company's right to include a clause in contracts prohibiting subscribers from suing the company as part of a class action, Spaccarelli had only two options when fighting AT&T's new policy: He could enter into an AT&T-funded arbitration program or file his suit in small claims court. Spaccarelli opted for small claims court.
What this meant for AT&T was that instead of facing a multimillion dollar lawsuit, which represented thousands of disgruntled subscribers, the company only had to deal with a single subscriber and damages of $850. Even though AT&T lost its case and paid Spaccarelli the court-awarded damages, the company was not forced to change its throttling policy. And in fact, it still slows down service on what it considers its heaviest data customers, even though AT&T still calls the plan "unlimited." ...
Because all four major wireless carriers in the U.S. include such arbitration-only clauses in their contracts, wireless customers, in particular, are more vulnerable to potential abuses by large companies. And in a market where more than 90 percent of the population subscribes to wireless service, that means that millions of consumers no longer have access to a full range of legal options when their carrier breaks the law.
"Companies should not be able to effectively insulate themselves from liability when they rip off their customers," said Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), who has sponsored a bill that would prohibit companies from inserting arbitration clauses in consumer contracts. "But that's what a recent decision by the Supreme Court has allowed them to do."
“The twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.” —Alex Carey, author of Taking the Risk Out of Democracy.
No corporation has surpassed General Electric's mastery of profit-maximization, or its use of public-relations ("corporate propaganda") to mask its true aims behind the widely-supported goals of expanding scientific horizons, "bringing good things to life" and rebuilding America's industrial base.
But sometimes the profit-maximization skills of GE's top executives and tax lawyers surpass the ability of its PR staff to put an appealing gloss on the company's conduct. For example, the disclosure that GE racked up $14.2 billion in profits in 2010 while paying no federal income taxes was not well-received by the American public. GE not only avoided paying any taxes, but even managed to collect $3.2 billion in federal tax credits. This occurred against a backdrop of GE continuing to slash its U.S. workforce by 32,000 jobs, from 165,000 to 133,000 over the 2004-2010 period.
OpenSecrets.org – a follow-the-money watchdog – gives us a peek at the who's who of selfish interests behind AFP. Start with its founder, board chairman, and generous benefactor, David Koch, a far-right-wing Republican billionaire dedicated to imposing a corporate plutocracy over America. Big Oil also contributed to the torrent of special-interest cash that AFP unleashed on the 2010 elections, as did Art Pope, a discount-retail tycoon whose foundation slipped $1.6 million into AFP's political work. Pope sits on AFP's board, and on the board of the virulently anti-government Bradley Foundation, which added half-a-million bucks to AFP's electioneering effort.
What did they buy? A corporate-hugging tea party takeover of the U.S. House, a flock of vituperative union-bashing governors like Wisconsin's disgraced Scott Walker, and the perversion of the Republican Party's entire policy agenda into Koch-headed nuttiness. AFP's political honcho even brags about fomenting nuttiness, pointing out that every Republican candidate – from local to presidential – must now be in lockstep with Big Oil in denying the existence of climate change, because the party's electorate has turned anti-science. "That's our influence," he gloated. "Groups like Americans for Prosperity have done it."
So, naturally, it must be destroyed. ...
Since 1971, the postal service has not taken a dime from taxpayers. All of its operations — including the remarkable convenience of 32,000 local post offices — are paid for by peddling stamps and other products.
The privatizers squawk that USPS has gone some $13 billion in the hole during the past four years — a private corporation would go broke with that record! (Actually, private corporations tend to go to Washington rather than go broke, getting taxpayer bailouts to cover their losses.) The Postal Service is NOT broke. Indeed, in those four years of loudly deplored "losses," the service actually produced a $700 million operational profit (despite the worst economy since the Great Depression).
What's going on here? Right-wing sabotage of USPS financing, that's what.
In 2006, the Bush White House and Congress whacked the post office with the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act — an incredible piece of ugliness requiring the agency to PRE-PAY the health care benefits not only of current employees, but also of all employees who'll retire during the next 75 years. Yes, that includes employees who're not yet born!
No other agency and no corporation has to do this. Worse, this ridiculous law demands that USPS fully fund this seven-decade burden by 2016. Imagine the shrieks of outrage if Congress tried to slap FedEx or other private firms with such an onerous requirement.
Here’s something I bet you wouldn’t think I’d say: They’re right. There is a moral crisis in the United States. The only thing is — they’re wrong about what it is and who is causing it.
The real crisis of public morality in the United States doesn’t lie in the private decisions Americans make in their lives or their bedrooms; it lies at the heart of an ideology — and a set of policies — that the right-wing has used to batter and browbeat their fellow Americans.
They dress these policies up sometimes, give them catchy titles like Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity.” But they never cease to imbue them with the kind of moral decisions that ought to make anyone furious. Ryan’s latest budget really is case in point. It’s a plan that says that increases in defense spending are so essential, that massive tax cuts for the wealthy are so necessary, that we must pay for them by ripping a hole in the social safety net. The poor need Medicaid to pay for medicine and treatment for their families? We care, we really do, but the wealthy need tax cuts more. Food stamps the only thing standing between your children and starvation? Listen, we feel your pain. We get it. But we’ve got more important things to spend money on. Like a new yacht for that guy who only has one yacht. ...
It is a very strange thing that the people who lecture most fervently about morality are those who are most willing to fight for policies that are so immoral. They watch Wall Street turn itself into the Las Vegas strip, take the economy down and destroy people’s lives and livelihoods. To that they say, “By God we need less regulation. Get me the hose, I have things to water down!” They see a CEO of a bank or a corporation, someone who passed off all of the risk and took on all of the reward, and they say, “Get that man a bigger bonus! In fact, get him two!”
They see corporate interests flood the political system with unfathomably large sums of money, they see lobbyists defining the terms of debate, and they say, “Now this . . . this is what democracy should look like.”
The smoke and mirrors: they claim this budget is necessary to reduce deficits, but it doesn't even pretend to. Instead it starts by cutting taxes on the rich and their corporations by another $4.6 trillion while making permanent the Bush tax cuts, costing another $5.6 trillion. It gives a $187,000 tax cut to every millionaire! ...
Cuts Everything Government Does For Regular People. This budget starts with $10 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy! After handing billionaires and their corporations trillions, increasing deficits by an additional $10 trillion, the Republican budget then cuts the things government does for the rest of us: Medicare, Medicaid, food assistance and public investments (mostly infrastructure and education), and pretends it is necessary because of deficits. (It increases funding for military contractors.)
It was not ever thus. In the recovery that followed the downturn of the early 1990s, the wealthiest 1 percent captured 45 percent of the nation’s income growth. In the recovery that followed the dot-com bust 10 years ago, Saez noted, 65 percent of the income growth went to the top 1 percent. This time around, it’s reached 93 percent — a level so high it shakes the foundations of the entire American project.
While never putting a premium on economic equality, America has always prided itself on being the preeminent land of economic opportunity. If all of this nation’s wealth is captured by a narrow stratum of the very rich, however, that claim is relegated to history’s dustbin. Research by Julia Isaacs of the Brookings Institution, as part of the Economic Mobility Project, has shown that intergenerational mobility in the United States has fallen far below the levels in Germany, Finland, Denmark and other more social democratic nations of Northern Europe. Now, Saez’s analysis of income data provides further evidence that mocks America’s self-image as a land where hard work yields rewards. ...
The consequences of this concentration of wealth and income extend beyond the purely economic. A middle class enduring prolonged stagnation isn’t likely to fund projects the nation needs to undertake — such as rebuilding our infrastructure or increasing teacher pay — or, ultimately, to retain its faith in the efficacy of democracy. The rise of super PACs, the low rates of taxation on capital gains and hedge fund operators, the ability of the major banks to fend off reform — all testify to the power of a neo-plutocracy beyond democratic control. ...
Capitalism can create prosperity, but left unfettered it doesn’t create broadly shared prosperity — and never will. If belief and participation in democracy are sustained by people’s conviction that democracy produces good economic outcomes, then the growing concentration of wealth and income in the United States is a long-term threat to everything we profess to stand for. A nation where 93 percent of income growth goes to the top 1 percent is not a nation that will embark on great projects, or long command the allegiance of its people.
The new national “Should Be Made In America” campaign will begin placing billboards wherever politicians are willing to outsource projects to China and other countries. This campaign will also use online activism to urge the use of American-made components for infrastructure projects financed with U.S. tax dollars. ...
Under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger California turned to China for the steel in the new Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland. The argument for purchasing Chinese steel was that it would "save money," but when the costs to other state and federal government agencies as well as to the larger economy are added up, the costs to taxpayers are much more than the savings.
This outsourcing cost of thousands of American manufacturing jobs (3.5 million man-hours), which meant:
In addition to "safety net" cost and loss of tax revenue, there is a competitive cost when taxpayer dollars are used to purchase major components of infrastructure projects. The Chinese company that was selected to provide the steel for the Bay Bridge did not yet have the manufacturing ability to make the components. Our taxpayer dollars built the new facilities for them, and now they can bid against American companies for more projects!
But who are the real deadbeats in this country? Banks acted recklessly in the years leading up to the financial crisis - and ran up a bill which the rest of us have been paying since 2008. And guess what? They're doing it again.
But the rest of America isn’t enjoying a recovery. It’s still quite sick. The finances of many Americans remain in critical condition.
The Commerce Department reported last Thursday that the economy grew at a 3 per cent annual rate last quarter (far better than the measly 1.8 per cent in the third quarter of last year). Personal income also jumped. Americans raked in over $13tn, $3.3bn more than previously thought.
Yet all the gains went to the top 10 per cent and the lion’s share to the top 1 per cent. More than a third of the gains went to 15,600 super-rich households in the top one-tenth of one per cent. ...
Meanwhile, employer-provided benefits continue to decline among the bottom 90 per cent. The share of people with health insurance from their employers dropped from 59.8 per cent in 2007 to 55.3 per cent in 2010, according to the Commerce Department. And the share of private-sector workers with retirement plans dropped from 42 per cent in 2007 to 39.5 per cent in 2010. Yet the so-called “talent” in executive suites is getting gold-plated healthcare coverage for themselves and their families, along with deferred compensation and fat pensions subject to few, if any, taxes. ...
Fed chairman Ben Bernanke – who doesn’t have to face voters on election day – says the US economy needs to grow faster if it’s to produce enough jobs to bring down unemployment. Well, yes. But he leaves out the critical point.
We can’t possibly grow faster if the vast majority of Americans, who are still losing ground, don’t have the money to buy more of the things American workers produce. There’s no way spending by the richest 10 per cent will be enough to get the economy out of first gear.
Over the years we've been reporting on how power is monopolized by the powerful. How corporate lobbyists, for example, far outnumber members of Congress. And how the politicians are so eager to do the bidding of donors that they allow those lobbyists to dictate the law of the land and make a farce of democracy. What we have is much closer to plutocracy, where the massive concentration of wealth at the top protects and perpetuates itself by controlling the ends and means of politics. This is why so many of us despair over fixing what's wrong: we elect representatives to change things, and once in office they wind up serving the deep-pocketed donors who put up the money to keep change from happening at all.
Here is why: Oil is a global market in which America is a big consumer but a small supplier. We consume about 20 percent of the world’s oil but hold only 2 percent of the oil reserves. That means we are, in economics jargon, “price takers.” Domestic production has increased during the Obama administration, but it has had minimal effects on global prices because, as producers, we are just too small to matter much. And even if domestic oil companies further increased production, they would sell to the highest global bidder. ...
If you’re not convinced by economic theory or the opinions of economists, consider some recent history. Presumably, no one would call President George W. Bush unfriendly to the oil industry. Yet the price of gasoline rose steadily during most of his administration. In February 2001, just after Mr. Bush took office, the average price of regular gasoline was $1.45 a gallon. By June 2008, that price had risen to $4.05. Still think presidents and oil-friendly policies can determine oil prices? ...
If you hate the Obama health care program and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, by all means give the president a big share of the blame. And if you love them, give him some credit. What makes no sense is to blame the president for rising gas prices, where he has virtually no control, but not to give him some credit for rising stock prices and an improved labor market, domains where his policies — along with those of the Federal Reserve and Congress — are more likely to have had an effect.
When we make our choice on Election Day, we should consider that the winner will have an important impact on policies in many areas: health care, distribution of the tax burden, Supreme Court nominations, and abortion rights. The candidates’ differences on those issues should be driving our decision, not the wishful thinking that a president can simply lower the price of gasoline. Or Scotch, alas.
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