Cons: The company is very career-centric. This a con because everybody is old. Because IBM is so good at retaining it's employees, departments seem to become very top-heavy (lots of senior employees but relatively few junior employees). This "oldness" is especially apparent within the software group where management seems to be clinging to old-school development practices. Do NOT expect a modern culture like at Google. As a dev we have zero perks. There is no free coffee. The walls are barren. There is no food in the building. The entire experience feels sterile and dated.
Advice to Senior Management: Improve the experience for employees. Yes, the bottom line is important, but a productive employee is a happy employee. I would suggest spending more money on engaging talented employees. Bring the perks up to the level of other top software companies or don't be shocked when top talent leaves for a more stimulating, fun environment.
The culture is easy going amongst the grunt worker bees, and also allows for flexible working hours (although that might depend on your manager and/or department). The medical benefits are great should you choose to spend a little more.
The IBM brand also keeps attracting good people to join so you'll make good contacts if and when they leave.
Cons: Poor salary is the top complaint at the site. Fresh graduates join despite the low pay in hope of a fat bonus (because IBM is a MNC!), only to realise the bonus is really, really, pathetic. Management and HR keeps doing "market surveys" to benchmark salaries, only to consistently adjust them to significantly below market. As a result, the mediocre and terrible stay and move around (even becoming managers), while the great people keep leaving. There are even those who endure the ridiculous salary for 1-2 years just so they can put the IBM name on their resume.
The number of night conference calls are also frustrating. You are expected to take them to report status to your international counterparts. Some poor souls may take 4 night calls a week!
There are also a number of incompetent people who get lead/manager roles in the company because of the high turnover. They are the most experienced people who stay behind, but they consistently drag the teams down. Management does nothing to resolve this, and consistently reports to the execs that "things are great!".
Advice to Senior Management: Stop relying on the IBM brand to attract talent, that will never work to grow the site. Because that serves retain the lazy, mediocre, incompetent. Even those will leave once they've managed to sucker another company into paying them more by virtue of being able to hang on to their IBM job long enough. The good and great will constantly leave and you will never be able to grow into an important site.
Put your money where your mouth is. If you say people are important, start paying them like they are important or you will just keep losing great people. Start listening, start taking action, stop talking. We're tired, can't take much more, and we will start leaving soon.
“HSAs are the only investment savings vehicle in America that has triple-tax advantage; namely that the money contributed goes in on a tax-free basis, the earnings on that money are not taxed and the money that comes out of the account is not taxed,” explains Kimberly Sexton, vice president of Total Benefit Communications, LLC. In contrast, she notes, 401(k) distributions are taxed and Roth IRA contributions require an upfront tax.
Since 1990, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued visas for these workers through the H-1B program. These visas permit 85,000 workers — 20,000 of whom are required to have graduated with an advanced degree from an American institution — to work in the United States for three years, with an optional renewal for another three years.
While 24/7 Wall St. examined only public American companies, it is interesting to note that in a comprehensive list of the top 25 companies, including private and foreign companies requesting visas, 50% are foreign. And four of the top 10 companies on that list are Indian. An average of 70,000 employers filed applications in 2010 and 2011.
India has by far the most recipients of H-1B visas, with 58% of all acceptances. China and Canada follow with 8.8% and 3.5%, respectively. Two thirds of the LCAs are for positions in science, technology, engineering and math, while only 5.4% of jobs in America are in these fields, based on 2010 data. ...
4) IBM > H-1B requests: 1,468 > No. employees: 433,362 > Revenue: $106.9 billion > Headquarters: Armonk, N.Y. > Industry: Computing, consulting International Business Machines Corp. ranks fourth in H-1B visa applications, with 6,180. It is the second of two consulting firms among the top 10 public American companies requesting H-1B foreign workers. Between 2001 and 2011, the second largest American employer filed almost 19,000 requests for H-1B visas. Most of these jobs were for consultants and programmers. And while Big Blue is headquartered in New York, many of these jobs were spread throughout the United States. ...
Selected reader comments follow:
IBM U.S. primarily uses L1 visas to bring in people hired (or contracted) by IBM India. And, I can attest that the people they bring in are not executives and they do not have "specialized knowledge." Some of them are managers...it's not at all unusual for GBS engagements to have IBM India PMs managing both on-shore L1 visa holders and offshore IBM India employees. The L1 visa holders are typical IT people...DBAs, Java programmers, system support people, business analysts, and so on. These are hardly "specialized skills."
But, no one in the government enforces the laws surrounding H1B or L1 visas, so IBM abuses the system. I'm retired now, but before retiring most of my engagements were staffed 90% by IBM India with just a few IBM U.S. or IBM Canada employees thrown in.
According to Herman, the number of cases in which Indian and American companies with offices in India “appear to be attempting to circumvent H-1B visa restrictions by sending people from India to the US on Blanket L visas for work that doesn’t qualify under the Blanket L visa category—especially as related to the requirement on “specialized knowledge”—has been on the rise. They report similar abuses regarding business visas. Accordingly, the refusal rate for Blanket L visas issued to Indian nationals has spiked from 2-3% to 20% within the past two years, according to Herman. The refusal rate for business visas is also on the rise. The US embassy does not keep statistics on the number of turnarounds—people denied entry into the US at ports of entry due to visa discrepancies—but Herman said he believes it to be “significantly higher than before”. While the refusal rate doesn’t by definition indicate fraud, “it’s a concern because it appears that some companies are trying to find a way to circumvent the Blanket L guidelines”.
Why are seniors so upbeat when many other Americans are not in a very happy place?
"People in retirement have dodged a bullet," says William Frey, demographer at the Brookings Institution. "They've gotten to the promised land in time to avoid all the bad stuff."
This generation of retirees, including the oldest Baby Boomers, who turn 66 this year, are more likely to enjoy the fruits of their life-long labors than future retirees, Frey says. They stopped working before employers pulled the plug on pension plans, before companies stopped matching contributions to 401(k)s and before Social Security and Medicare finances hit the crisis stage.
As a result, today's retirees could be the last wave of happy seniors.
"I think the era of broad prosperity for American seniors will end with the first wave of Baby Boomers, now entering their 60s," Frey says. "Times are tougher for their later Boomer brothers and sisters who entered the labor and housing markets in the late 1970s during tougher economic times." ...
"The battering has been unequal across the ages," says Ken Dychtwald, gerontologist, author and CEO of Age Wave, a consulting company that specializes in issues about aging. "As it turns out, if you were in your 60s and early 70s, you weren't really affected. If you're benefiting from Medicare, you're covered. More than half of people over the age of 60 live in homes that have been paid off." ...
"We live in a society where we're led to believe young people are happy, content, resilient, fun and cool, and once you reach 60, all of that evaporates and you become unhappy, sick," Dychtwald says. "That's simply wrong. It's a misperception, a misunderstanding and profound misrepresentation. … Turns out, young people these days are the most anxious, most depressed, and the 60-76 are the most resilient, most financially protected."
Satya Dev Tripuraneni, who worked as an accounts manager at the California office of Infosys, filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Aug. 2.
Mr. Tripuraneni alleges the company's management retaliated against him for blowing the whistle on the visa practices that Infosys followed, such as using short-term business-visit visas to circumvent the fewer and expensive work visas meant for high-skilled labor, according to a copy of the lawsuit. ...
The latest lawsuit against Infosys comes at a time when India's outsourcing companies are under intense backlash for sending business offshore ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November. Job creation has emerged as a key issue in campaigning as the U.S. grapples with a stubbornly high rate of unemployment and slow economic growth.
IBM has been sued over failing to meet contract obligations and it has not changed their business practices one bit. If IBM's competition brings jobs back onshore for real and not just a token effort, and begins to SUCCESSFULLY market it as a reason to go with them, then IBM MAY choose to follow suit. More than likely IBM will have an ad campaign showing how they have the best and brightest from ALL OVER THE WORLD working on your problems and offshore even more jobs.
No one else is going to save your job if you won't take action to save it. The only people I have ever seen stand up for workers in another company are UNION workers standing in solidarity with brother and sister union workers. -Exodus2007-
The United States ranked last when compared to six other countries -- Britain, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, the Commonwealth Fund report found. ...
In 2007, health spending was $7,290 per person in the United States, more than double that of any other country in the survey.
Australians spent $3,357, Canadians $3,895, Germans $3,588, the Netherlands $3,837 and Britons spent $2,992 per capita on health in 2007. New Zealand spent the least at $2,454. ...
Britain, whose nationalized healthcare system was widely derided by opponents of U.S. healthcare reform, ranks first in quality while the Netherlands ranked first overall on all scores, the Commonwealth team found. ...
Every other system covers all its citizens, the report noted and said the U.S. system, which leaves 46 million Americans or 15 percent of the population without health insurance, is the most unfair.
Erica Solway, a fellow in Sanders' office who has worked on dental legislation, recently saw firsthand the need for improved access to care when she traveled to Wise, Va., in rural Appalachia, where an organization called Remote Area Medical (RAM) offers a free health care clinic which provides medical, dental, and vision services. More than 26,000 people have received free care at the events held at the Wise County Fairgrounds over the past 13 years. Just last month, 2,500 patients from 19 states were treated by 1,400 volunteers.
A majority of those attending the clinic had experienced long-term unemployment or disability and earned less than $10,000/year. While some patients were uninsured, many had health insurance through Medicaid. Dental and vision services, which are optional benefits to the states in their Medicaid programs, were in the greatest demand.
If the nation obtained better-than-average health outcomes in exchange for its much-higher-than-average health spending, we would have little reason to complain. However, there is almost no evidence U.S. health outcomes are better than those in other rich countries. A variety of statistics on mortality and morbidity suggest outcomes may be worse in this country than they are elsewhere.
"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 cult of equity is dying,” Bill Gross, the founder of Pimco, wrote in his monthly letter last week.
“Like a once bright green aspen turning to subtle shades of yellow then red in the Colorado fall, investors’ impressions of ‘stocks for the long run’ or any run have mellowed as well,” Mr. Gross wrote. His letter came after he had sent a Twitter post that read: “Boomers can’t take risk. Gen X and Y believe in Facebook but not its stock. Gen Z has no money.” ...
Individuals are worried that it’s hard to make the right bet and worried that the market is rigged against them. Much of this is an outgrowth of woes of Wall Street’s own making, like insider trading cases or market manipulation scandals. Those situations are partly why individual investors don’t believe they stand a chance against the professionals.
Consider this: Of 878 students at 18 high schools across 11 different states surveyed by the Financial Literacy Group, three-quarters of them said they agreed with this statement: “The stock market is rigged mostly to benefit greedy Wall Street bankers.”
“I think my contribution in its own way has just as much worth as the millions that some of the wealthy donors contribute,” said the 63-year-old librarian from Lexington, Ky. “And I’m really hoping that even my little bit makes a difference to get him elected again.”
Sorry, Susan. It would take 100,000 Susan Daoles — nearly all of the registered Democrats in Lexington — giving $100 apiece just to match the $10 million that billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife dropped into the super PAC boosting Romney on a single day in June.
Make no mistake, there is no shortage of Susan Daoles this year: Roughly 2.5 million people have kicked in $200 or less to the various committees helping their candidate win the White House.
But those 2.5 million people account for less than 18 percent of the total money haul.
By contrast, 2,100 donors giving $50,000 or more have contributed about $200 million to the Obama and Romney campaign committees, victory funds and their supportive super PACs. That’s far more than the $148 million all those 2.5 million small donors contributed through the end of June, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission data by POLITICO and the Campaign Finance Institute.
In other words: In an election purportedly being driven by the economic concerns of the middle class, the top 0.07 percent of donors are more valuable than the bottom 86 percent.
The President wasn’t talking off the top of his head, though. In attacking Romney’s proposal to cut tax rates across the board and scale back some popular tax breaks, he and his campaign are citing a new study I also mentioned yesterday, from the Tax Policy Center, a non-partisan Washington research institute. The study clearly says that Romney’s plan would leave wealthy Americans considerably better off. According to the three economists who authored the report, those lucky folks earning a million dollars a year would end up taking home an extra eighty-seven thousand dollars in income. By contrast, taxpayers earning under two hundred thousand dollars a year would be hit with a tax increase of five hundred dollars. And those figures are calculated on the assumption that a Romney administration would eliminate many of the tax loopholes enjoyed by the rich. If that didn’t happen, the report says, a Romney Administration would have to take even more money from ordinary Americans. ...
Essentially, the report is an accounting exercise. It takes all of the economic pledges that Romney has made and examines what he would have to do in order to meet them. For those of you who have forgotten, here’s what the Mittster has promised: An indefinite extension of the 2001-2003 Bush tax cuts; a further twenty per cent cut in income-tax rates across the board; the elimination of all taxes on investment income for families earning less than two hundred thousand dollars a year; repeal of the alternative minimum tax (A.M.T.); elimination of the estate tax; a big reduction in the corporate-tax rate; and a repeal of the tax increases included in the 2010 health-reform bill.
Specifically, ask John W. Diamond if he thinks it is possible, politically, to pass the sort of Romneyesque tax plan that Diamond predicts would create an additional 7 million jobs over the next decade.
“Absolutely not,” the Rice University economist replied, in an interview this week. Even under a Romney presidency, he added, “I don’t think there’s any chance.”
Diamond also said he “can’t argue” with the basic conclusions reached by an independent group of economists who found – to much derision from the Romney camp but to the delight of President Obama and his campaign ad-makers – that Romney’s plan would necessarily cut taxes on the wealthy but raise them on lower-income Americans. ...
The rub is in all those details that Romney refuses to release about which tax breaks he would scrap. There’s a reason he doesn’t want to talk about them: The choices are ugly. You have only a few big targets to finance a big income-tax cut. They include credits and deductions that are extremely popular with swing voters, such as the child tax credit and deductions for mortgage interest, health care benefits, and charitable contributions. The only way a big tax-overhaul will pass, Diamond said, is if a president takes hold of a bunch of those popular credits and tries to sell voters on why they should give them up.
Yet, data from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reveal that, when it comes to federal taxation, US households are less taxed now than 30 years ago, and that is not just a function of the recession. The CBO data began in 1979 when the typical, or median, household paid 19 per cent of their income in federal taxes. In 2009, that share had fallen to 11 per cent. ...
For Republicans who have signed the Grover Norquist pledge to never raise taxes, the misleading mantra that we are overtaxed serves two purposes. First, the wealthiest households get the biggest income boost from any across-the-board cuts.
Second, once the villainy of tax increases is widely accepted, the only way to achieve any deficit savings is through spending cuts. But this is very dangerous logic. The House Republican budget, for example, as authored by Paul Ryan, would gut virtually every government function outside of Social Security, healthcare and defence.
Barack Obama, backed by Senate Democrats, is calling for the upper-income Bush tax cuts to expire. But contrary to popular belief, Mr Obama has already been an aggressive tax cutter. His cuts have helped considerably in reducing recessionary damage to family incomes, but there needs to be a more robust plan to return to fiscal health. ...
The best thing to do, once the economic recovery is solidly under way, is to simply let the Bush tax cuts expire and return to the tax structure that prevailed under Bill Clinton. It cannot be plausibly argued, based on economic outcomes, that the rate structure in those years was counterproductive. Oh, and it also helped deliver a budget surplus.
Which is exactly what he has done.
After examining Romney’s proposal, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center concluded that households with incomes exceeding $200,000 would receive tax cuts; meanwhile, taxes would rise for the other 95 percent of the population. Taxpayers making more than $1 million would receive an average cut of $87,000; those making less than $200,000 would pay an average of $500 more. Romney denies that he would raise taxes on the middle class but has provided no evidence that the Tax Policy Center’s analysis is wrong.
What can he be thinking?
It’s not just that the politics are poisonous. The economics don’t make sense, either. Many wealthy Americans already have lower-than-average tax rates, because their incomes derive heavily from capital gains (profits on the sale of stocks or other assets) and dividends. These are taxed at a preferential 15 percent rate. Remember the ruckus over Warren Buffett and his secretary? Although the wealthiest 5 percent still pay about 40 percent of federal taxes, it’s questionable whether further reducing their tax burden would bolster the economy. ...
What’s curious is that, with a few courageous tweaks, Romney could have presented a more credible plan. In 1986, Ronald Reagan supported eliminating the preferential rate for capital gains, which then remained at 28 percent from 1987 to 1997. The economy did fine. Romney might have emulated Reagan by proposing a top tax rate of 30 percent and an end to the capital gains and dividend preferences.
What is more, his disclosure to date is in the wrong direction: It is the release of Romney's past returns, not his current ones, that matters.
Since George Romney inaugurated the practice more than 40 years ago by releasing 12 years of tax returns in his bid for the Republican Party nomination, presidential nominees have been transparent with voters about their personal finances. For this reason, we have not suffered a significant tax scandal involving a nominee or sitting president since President Richard Nixon's abuse of the tax code.
Either Romney has an unresolved father figure issue, or he has some special reason not to follow a tradition established by his father.
Given Romney's financial sophistication, it has been assumed by some that there cannot be any tax skeletons in his closet. His reluctance to disclose past returns, however, undermines that assumption. We are left with the difficult task of plausibly reconstructing his financial record based on the one full return that he has released. The result is troubling.
Q: Let’s frame the issue around your tax returns in a slightly different way. If you’re an investor and you’re looking at a company, and that company says that its great strength is wise management and fiscal know-how, wouldn’t you want to see the previous, say, five years’ worth of its financials?
Romney: I’m not a business. We have a process in this country, which was established by law, which provides for the transparency which candidates are required to meet. I have met with that requirement with full financial disclosure of all my investments, but in addition have provided and will provide a full two years of tax returns. This happens to be exactly the same as with John McCain when he ran for office four years ago. And the Obama team had no difficulty with that circumstance. The difference between then and now is that President Obama has a failed economic record and is trying to find any issue he can to deflect from the failure of his record. Thanks, guys. Goodbye.
In fact, McCain is really the exception. John Kerry in 2004, Al Gore in 2000, George W. Bush in 2000, Bob Dole in 1996, Bill Clinton in 1992 and Michael Dukakis in 1988 all released many years of tax returns when they ran for president against the incumbent, either at the time or because they had routinely released tax returns while in public office. (There was no incumbent in 2000.) Dole, in fact, released tax returns for a whopping 30 years.
Of course, Romney’s father, George Romney, is famous for having released 12 years of tax returns when he ran for president in 1968, saying “one year could be a fluke.” As BuzzFeed showed, he paid an effective tax rate of 50 percent — those were days before the Reagan tax cuts. ...
And what of Kerry’s wife? Romney must have missed the controversy, largely fanned by Republicans, about her tax returns, in which they darkly suggested that she was secretly funding her husband’s presidential campaign. (She inherited the Heinz fortune from her late husband, and it was worth at least $500 million.)
A quick check of the clips shows that it was rather big issue, so much so that she eventually made public the first two pages of her 2003 return.
That was not enough for Republicans, who wanted an even broader look. Amusingly, we see that the Wall Street Journal editorial page complained that, with an effective tax rate of 12.4 percent, “she is paying a lower average rate than nearly all middle-class taxpayers paid in 2001” — similar to the line that the Obama campaign has been using about Romney’s tax rate.
Romney, in his Senate race against Ted Kennedy in 1994, demanded that Kennedy release his tax returns, and Kennedy refused. In his 2002 race for governor, Romney cited Kennedy’s refusal, quoting him as saying, “I value my privacy.” Romney added: “I think he was right and I was wrong.” He never released his tax returns in that campaign. ...
The Pinocchio Test: McCain did release two years of tax returns, but the Romney campaign is being misleading with its suggestions that releasing two years of tax returns is some sort of standard for presidential contenders. Two years is actually the exception — only one challenger out of the last seven presidential nominees has released just two years of returns. Moreover, Romney is wrong to suggest that releasing the tax returns of Kerry’s wife “wasn’t an issue” in the 2004 campaign. It was a big issue, because Republicans made it one.
Evidently it is.
It so happens that this summer the Internal Revenue Service released data from the 400 individual income tax returns reporting the highest adjusted gross income. This elite ultrarich group earned on average $202 million in 2009, the latest year available. And buried in the data is the startling disclosure that six of the 400 paid no federal income tax. ...
And that data demonstrates that many of the ultrarich can and do reduce their tax liability to very low levels, even zero. Besides the six who paid no federal income tax, the I.R.S. reported that 27 paid from zero to 10 percent of their adjusted gross incomes and another 89 paid between 10 and 15 percent, which is close to the 13.9 percent rate that Mr. Romney disclosed that he paid in 2010. (At the other end of the spectrum, 82 paid 30 to 35 percent. None paid more than 35 percent.) So more than a quarter of the people earning an average of over $200 million in 2009 paid less than 15 percent of their adjusted gross income in taxes.
As polarized as Washington is over tax and budget issues, a base-broadening, rate-lowering tax-code overhaul has become the one policy every wonk in town can agree on. ...
The trouble is that just as tax reform offers a slew of benefits and political possibilities that simply raising taxes doesn’t, it also presents a slew of technical and political difficulties that simply raising taxes doesn’t. The Tax Policy Center’s paper points to five of these.
The first is that as you lower rates, the various deductions and loopholes you are looking to cut become worth less money. If you cut rates by 20 percent, you wipe out about 20 percent of the value of deductions. That makes it harder to pay for your tax plan, much less to raise new revenue with it.
The second problem is that it can be politically difficult to cut tax breaks. If you listen to Democrats, you would think these benefits mainly accrued to corporate jet owners and oil companies. But if you are going to seriously lower rates — not to mention raise any revenue — you’re talking about cutting or eliminating the deduction for home-mortgage interest, charitable contributions, state and local taxes and employer-provided health insurance. These are, by and large, regressive, but they are also widely used by the middle class, and exceedingly popular. And even when you are going after oil companies, those guys have really good lobbyists, and they are much more committed to retaining their tax breaks than the rest of the public is to eliminating them.
The third problem is that it’s very hard to retain progressivity in the code while attempting this kind of reform. That’s what tripped up Romney: His promised cuts for the rich are simply larger than the tax preferences they currently receive. But a more reasonable plan that cut rates more modestly and also raised new revenue would probably find itself in similar trouble quite quickly. And when “tax reform” starts being accurately portrayed as a “middle-class tax hike,” it stops sounding so sweet to politicians.
The Justice Department's argument for inaction seems to come down to this: Bank cases are complicated. They're hard to win. We don't want to try. And it has repeatedly used an argument that's also been made by the president and Treasury Secretary as well, as they've tried to explain away the inactivity: that bad banking behavior isn't necessarily criminal behavior. That claim's been repeated many times, especially in the context of "ABACUS" and other Goldman Sachs misdeeds contained in the Coburn/Levin report.
et us assume this, because the visuals of not prosecuting are bad for nearly everyone involved. The failure to prosecute enhances the public perception that ordinary people got screwed during the real estate bubble, while savvy Wall Street executives loaded money bags onto private jets and decamped to comfortable islands. ...
The same logic explains more broadly why nearly all of the seamy characters who profited while bludgeoning taxpayers, working people, retirees and homeowners have gotten away scot-free: The prosecutors can't muster cases with a good enough chance at winning.
All of which means there is something seriously amiss with the laws and regulations that allowed the financial crisis to build to such proportions. The fact that Goldman will walk away without incident -- unless you count the piddly settlement with the SEC -- has occasioned predictable hand-wringing about the supposed timidity of the government's cops on the beat. But the problem here is not the prosecutors: It is the rules under which they are working. It is the regulatory abdication that enabled a predatory mindset to capture American finance.
The bad guys have gotten away with bad deeds because the bad deeds were mostly legal, or at least sufficiently ambiguous in the light of the law to embolden institutions wealthy enough to employ empires' worth of lawyers to try their luck. The game was rigged in their favor. It was, 'Heads we win, tails the taxpayer loses -- and if the cops show up to bust the game, we grab the cash and ride free long before they nab us, leaving behind a trail of indecipherable ledger books.'
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