The new tool, called IBM Security Intelligence with Big Data, is designed to crunch decades worth of emails, financial transactions and website traffic, to detect patterns of security threats and fraud. Beyond its more conventional threat prevention applications, the new platform, based on Hadoop, a framework that processes data-intensive queries across clusters of computers, will allow CIOs to conduct sentiment analysis on employee emails to determine which employees are likely to leak company data, Mr. Bird said. That capability will look at the difference between how an employee talks about work with a colleague and how that employee discusses work on public social media platforms, flagging workers who may be nursing grudges and are more likely to divulge company information. “By analyzing email you can say this guy is a disgruntled employee and the chance that he would be leaking data would be greater,” Mr. Bird said of IBM’s new tool.
Selected reader comments follow:
You have the option of signing and adding comments. It doesn't matter whether you sign or do not sign. You are not giving your consent/assent to your rating by finishing the last step of the PBC process. I believe they are autosigned anyway if you don't sign them. Look, a handful of people control this vast corporation. Without an employees union, we are powerless against the greed, arrogance and hubris, and poor decision making of our Executive board and VPs.
Anyway, besides losing what would be half the severance, what else might I lose by walking out? Sounds stupid as I know I should just do my minimum hours and just get let go as I look for a real job, but I'm not built that way. Would I lose the FHA? I'm on the old plan (made it by age), 31 years coming up. I am going to ask about looking for another job in the company and being allowed to take it but they actually need me there (right now).
Good news is as I look around at the level of competence in the contracting world, I can still run rings around them.
I doubt highly that you will be allowed to take another job in IBM.
I don't think that's the best choice if you only have a few weeks left to work and will get 3 months pay for nothing though. If it was me I would spend the next couple weeks turning things over - making good networking contacts by asking around. Get personal email account info from people that may be able to help you. Let your customer know you are leaving and available. Thank the people that were good to you.
Good luck in what you find to do, may it be rewarding and satisfying.
I thank you for your 30 years of service.
If you just walk out you essentially resign. Usually that means no unemployment insurance and in your case they might even consider you as retiring based on your age.
Getting a contracting job is a possibility but it is generally not a stable job, it is essentially term temp work. IBM has furloughed it's contractors at whim lately. Especially if you are a 1099 contractor. You usually get little, if any, benefits.
Why walk out? Join the Alliance and fight IBM. What do you have to lose? If they want to get rid of you IBM will. You should at least then get the minimized separation. Then plan your tomorrows.
Walking away sounds satisfying but my take is that its better to sweep any crumbs off the table on the way out. And since you indicate that you aren't "built that way" and appear to have reached a mutual regard with your customer how do you think it will feel to leave them hanging ? When I was RAed I made sure my work was properly transitioned on the way out, cause I have to live with myself.
That said, where again are you?
You're not under the golden 'old' plan, correct? You weren't retirement eligible in 1999, I take it, and had the FHA shoved down your throat, correct? Right there, you are operating with a liability. Trust me, I am 4 years not using the FHA because my SO has a better plan (happily, I finally found a top notch doctor for him in his plan, sorry LIG) and I know what a crock of **** is the FHA.
So, back to you. You've got two 3's. Forget about trying to get them reversed, the GS managers are scum, as are their team leader lackeys. They gave you two 3's no doubt because you weren't political enough to you know what their you know whats, and they want you out.
So, can you go out? Are you retirement eligible? If yes, point in your favor. You said you get the FHA, right? Another point in your favor. Are you financially capable of living without your salary, because the pension is diddly squat if you weren't management or a brown noser.
So, here's my advice. Wait it out. MAKE them FIRE you, as they did me. The evil that is IBM gave me severance and all the other bells and whistles, but I was old enough to give them pause about the age discrimination lawsuits until they fired THOUSANDS in May 2009. Are you? If you are, yet another point in your favor.
The downside? Waiting to get fired will be hell. GS (i.e., your manager and your team leader, gee I hope mine are reading here) will try all KINDS of intimidation and threats and mind games on you, and make your life a living hell. TRUST me, been there, done that, have the t-shirt to prove it. Remind me to tell you about the t-shirt I made with one of those home software programs when IBM was stealing my pension in 1999 and wore it in public, much to the chagrin of a peer who still works in Corporate.
Where was I? Oh yes, the other downside will be that waiting it will possibly affect your health. At ALL costs, you want to outlive the time line that IBM has scheduled for your pension check - they would LIKE for you to die, but you have to screw them as badly as they screwed all the Second and No Choicers in 1999.
So, to sum up:
Good luck to you, whatever you decide, and most of all, don't listen to LIG and the other IBM apologists here, they do NOT have your best interests at heart, and make sure you understand also that IBM does not have your best interests at heart either. Above all, trust Kathi.
After 2015, you probably won't need to worry about help from IBM for Insurance.
Meanwhile, I can't do anything until enrollment at the end of the year, so I'll be letting you all know how the calls go at that time - because I can't shut up, that's why!
When I was hired, I was TOLD and PROMISED (BUT NOT IN WRITING LIKE THE EXECUTIVES!) by IBM and by the old timers who were there before me that the RETIREE MEDICAL PLAN (NOT FREE, I KNOW IT ISN'T FREE) was wonderful, glorious 'additional compensation' and therefore, being a grunt and not a LIG manager because I couldn't kiss ***, that my salary would never be commensurate with my job title outside of the company.
Okay, so I listened to this rash of horse**** every year from good managers and scum managers and nodded my head and went back to doing my job.
Fast forward to 1999, when Socks Bouchard went before the Senate and tried to steal both my pension AND my PROMISED retiree medical, and succeeded in only the latter because I was ONE YEAR short of being able to be grandfathered, like the Too Bad, I Got Miners. If not for Janet et al, my pension also would have been stolen by the evil that is IBM. So I didn't have the CB shoved down my throat, but I did have the FHA shoved down my throat.
Fast forward some more 30+ years later, and come that lovely day in May 2009, and I was FIRED along with FIVE THOUSAND others and had to choose a medical. I was not on IBM medical at the time, for reasons that are too amusing to relate, but was on Mr. WBF's plan. Pretty well understanding how horrific the FHA was, thanks to good people like fhawontcutit, I decided to stay on Mr. WBF's plan and defer the paltry scrip in the FHA to when I became eligible for Medicare and use the paltry scrip in the BS FHA for something they list as a Medicare supplement, which demands very low premiums, if I remember correctly.
Fast forward to this year, when I thought I could get on the FHA after enrollment had ended, due to what I considered a major reason, but IBM, ever the beneficent and caring only for the welfare of their retirees and employees, said go jump. Okay, so I've worked that out.
SO, now my question is, in X number of years, when I am Medicare eligible, CAN I ENROLL IN THE FHA and BE ON MEDICARE and ALSO BE IN MR. WBF'S MEDICAL PLAN?
My guess is no. Why I will not leave Mr. WBF's plan to use only Medicare and the FHA: because once the paltry pennies in the FHA are used up, there is a good chance that I will NOT be able to get BACK into Mr. WBF's 'given as promised when he was hired and because his plan wasn't stolen from him like mine was in 1999' plan due to who knows what kind of per-existing real or insurance manufactured condition at the time.
SO, once again, since I will no doubt have to be in Medicare AND stay in Mr. WBF's plan AND not be able to use the FHA, that:
THE EVIL THAT IS IBM WILL ONCE MORE WIN.
I hope that is clearer for those who care or are in the same boat and the LIG's know what they can do.
P.S. fstephens, IBM's FHA and the premiums they deduct from the paltry BS that is the fake scrip they shoved down the throats of unsuspecting stupid because they didn't demand a contract Second and No Choicers in 1999 is NOT FREE INSURANCE.
I PAID FOR THAT INSURANCE WITH MY BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS and the scum-sucking evil that is IBM stole my promised retiree health care from me. The BS paltry amount in the FHA is nothing (although some think otherwise) compared to the healthcare coverage all the grandfathered retirees get, whether they have to pay for it or not. We Second and No Choicers who got the FHA shoved down our throats have no idea what IBM did to us. Well, fhawontcutit and I do, the rest will know how much IBM sodomized them soon enough.
It's called Veterans Affairs. They also have proactive programs to help me lose weight.
Yes, I have a partial military service-connected disability.
I hid my disability from IBM managers and the insurance companies it uses to manage their money for healthcare benefits--for fear of getting fired or put on some dreaded "list."
It was a hellish war. We were told to get out of uniforms asap and run through airports upon returning, to avoid hassles.
Oh, I still sign up for annual Medicare supplement, so my wife has the coverage. I never use my Medicare card.
I just feel bad I waited 42 years to tell anyone about PTSD.
I love our free country. Freedom isn't free.
I am watching Obama's initiatives on Health Care Reforms and how it evolved in present state. I agree that we need simple and basic primary health care system under one umbrella like medicare and let users select on more extensive premium base system. Or just put the US health care system under the open global health care system like current business globalization and let consumers decide what is better for themselves. At present we have AMA & Pharmaceutical industries controlled Health Care system without any cost controls, operating in capitalist structure. Here our wages are controlled by the Global competitions and health care industries are protected from the global completions pressure so that the same capitalists can charge us whatever they want!!!
A McKinsey and Co. report from 2008 found that between 60,000 to 85,000 medical tourists were traveling to the United States for the purpose of receiving in-patient medical care. The same McKinsey study estimated that 750,000 American medical tourists traveled from the United States to other countries in 2007 (up from 500,000 in 2006). The availability of advanced medical technology and sophisticated training of physicians are cited as driving motivators for growth in foreigners traveling to the U.S. for medical care, whereas the low costs for hospital stays and major/complex procedures at Western-accredited medical facilities abroad are cited as major motivators for American travelers.
Nobody has said that the US does not have great doctors and medical facilities FOR THOSE WHO CAN AFFORD THEM. Those people get great medical care. But that is not the point of this thread (goes back to the PPACA). As a nation, we DO NOT have great medical care for everyone, just those who have generous employers or those covered by Medicare, Tricare, Medicaid, Veterans Administration, or IHS. That leaves a few tens of millions of people, those you consider lazy bums, without health care coverage. An embarrassment to the world for this truly "exceptional" country.
Cons: Limited growth opportunity. Inadequate product funding. Dwindling local workforce. Lack of innovation opportunity. Products are in continuing maintenance mode. IBM prefers to buy companies with new technology rather develop it themselves. Heavy on process rather than innovation and improvement. Large families can pay more than $13,000 in premiums for health insurance. Constant reduction in employee benefits. Constant downsizing. Responsibilities pile up due to attrition with no backfill. Employees are inefficient due to their broad scope of responsibilities.
Advice to Senior Management: Show the same passion in your products as your developers do. Invest in the future of your products or make the hard decisions to discontinue them. Forcing products to limp along for years without any innovation creates a dead-end environment. Invest in the skill growth of your employees. Support meaningful adoption of new technologies into your product lines rather than doing the minimum effort. Have ownership and vision for the future of every product in the portfolio rather than putting it all on developers to create a bucket of ideas and then trimming until the result adds very little in customer value. Focus on long-term strength rather than crippling product teams and demoralizing employees to artificially bolster today's stock price.
To understand why, you need to go back to 1997, when Boeing merged with McDonnell Douglas. Technically, Boeing bought McDonnell Douglas. But, as Richard Aboulafia, a noted industry analyst with the Teal Group, told me, “McDonnell Douglas in effect acquired Boeing with Boeing’s money.” McDonnell Douglas executives became key players in the new company, and the McDonnell Douglas culture, averse to risk and obsessed with cost-cutting, weakened Boeing’s historical commitment to making big investments in new products. Aboulafia says, “After the merger, there was a real battle over the future of the company, between the engineers and the finance and sales guys.” The nerds may have been running the show in Silicon Valley, but at Boeing they were increasingly marginalized by the bean counters.
Under these conditions, getting the company to commit to a major project like the Dreamliner took some doing. “Some of the board of directors would rather have spent money on a walk-in humidor for shareholders than on a new plane,” Aboulafia says. So the Dreamliner’s advocates came up with a development strategy that was supposed to be cheaper and quicker than the traditional approach: outsourcing. And Boeing didn’t outsource just the manufacturing of parts; it turned over the design, the engineering, and the manufacture of entire sections of the plane to some fifty “strategic partners.” Boeing itself ended up building less than forty per cent of the plane.
Led by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, five Republicans and five Democrats rolled out the Immigration Innovation Act on Tuesday to lift the annual quota of H-1B visas for those workers from 65,000 to 115,000. That new cap would grow each year if demand outstrips supply, potentially up to 300,000 visas annually. ...
Microsoft has ratcheted up lobbying on the visa issue in recent years. Immigration now ranks as one of the top issues for Microsoft and its lobbyists, accounting for more visits to members of Congress than all but tax matters, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics.
Microsoft is one of the nation’s heaviest users of H-1B visas, and foreign workers make up about 10 percent of the company’s U.S. workforce.
The pending legislation — which likely will get rolled into the broad immigration debate under way in Congress — is sure to exacerbate the tension between high-tech companies and unemployed Americans who fear they’re being displaced by younger, lower-paid foreigners.
Groups representing engineers and programmers, as well as individual workers, reacted with dismay and disbelief to the bill. Kim Berry, president of the Programmers Guild, denounced the bill as a product of “backdoor negotiations with industry lobbyists.” Berry said the new quotas are so generous that “effectively, there is no cap.”
Employer contributions to employee pension plans are exempt from payroll and personal income taxes at the time that they are made, because the employer contributions are not officially considered part of the employee’s wages or salary (employer health insurance contributions are treated much the same way). The contributions are taxed when withdrawn (typically when the worker has retired), at a rate determined by the retiree’s personal income tax situation.
Employees are sometimes advised to save for retirement in this way in part because the interest, dividends and capital gains accrue without repeated taxation. In addition, people sometimes expect their tax brackets to be lower when retired than they are when they are working.
These well-understood tax benefits of pension plans will change a year from now if the act is implemented as planned. Under the act, wages and salaries of people receiving health insurance in the law’s new “insurance exchanges” will be subject to an additional implicit tax, because wages and salaries will determine how much a person has to pay for health insurance.
However, the actual experience of retirees suggests that may be wishful thinking: Less than 1 in 5 (19 percent) retirees say they were able to work longer to continue receiving health insurance through their jobs, the EBRI report says. ...
The HCS also found a growing proportion of older American workers who would retire earlier if they were assured of health coverage: In 2003, 15 percent of workers reported that they would retire earlier than planned if they were guaranteed access to health insurance, but by 2012, that percentage had nearly doubled (27 percent). ...
The HCS notes that health care expenses are a key component of spending in retirement: In 2009, health care accounted for 18 percent of expenses for people 85 and older, 15 percent of expenses for people ages 75–84, and 12 percent of expenses for people ages 65–74. Medicare beneficiaries ages 65 and older paid an average of 13 percent of the cost of their health care services in 2009 (Medicare covered 59 percent, while private insurance covered 14 percent). The Medicare program (the federal/state program for the elderly) was never designed to cover health care expenses in full, Fronstin explained.
"It wasn't that I expected anything, mind you, but I knew I'd been paying for something called Social Security and I wanted to ask the people in Rutland about it," Fuller said of her trip to the nearby Social Security office a few months earlier, according to the Social Security Administration.
On Jan. 31, 1940, the office issued Fuller a check for $22.54.
To commemorate the anniversary of that first check, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), flanked by a coalition of social insurance advocates, denounced Social Security's haters during a Thursday press conference at the Capitol.
"They told us that Social Security would go broke, that it could not possibly succeed," Sanders said. "These critics were wrong 73 years ago, and they are wrong today."
Since its creation, Social Security has vastly reduced poverty among the elderly. But with the program facing a funding shortfall in 2033, many Republicans and Democrats agree that benefits should be reduced now to avoid steeper cuts later.
Talk of such a revision faded with the recession.
More recently, Republicans have been recommending Medicare be turned into a voucher system that would provide seniors with a stipend and let them find their own coverage. ...
The Business Roundtable noted the last trustees report warned the Social Security Trust Fund would be exhausted by 2033; Medicare by 2024.
The roundtable, an association of chief executive officers representing companies with more than $7.3 trillion in annual revenues and 16 million employees, recommends increasing the retirement age and Medicare eligibility to 70 and making benefit formulas progressive -- the wealthy would see their benefits reduced.
The roundtable also says people should save more on their own so they're not so dependent on Social Security, and state and local workers should be brought into the system.
For Medicare, the roundtable says, the answer is more competition. ...
The recommendations, however, conveniently ignore the reasons Social Security and Medicare were set up in the first place: Lower income workers don't have the wherewithal to set aside enough for retirement on their own as daily expenses keep rising and private coverage for the elderly, largely because of the infirmities that come with age, is just too costly. They also make no mention of proposals to lift the cap on contributions, which currently end once a salary hits $110,100 for the year. ...
"The facts and figures on what the plight of the nation's seniors was prior to Social Security are well known. The insecurity that seniors face or would face if Medicare were voucherized and the cost were shifted to them, if they had a limited amount of money to spend on healthcare and the rest was up to them, I think would not be good for the country. The president doesn't believe it's good for the country." ...
FactCheck.org notes the federal income tax accounted for 41.5 percent of all federal revenues in 2010, down from 49.6 percent before the Bush tax cuts. At the same time, the United States borrowed 36 cents for every $1 spent in 2011, down from 40 cents in 2009.
The increase was driven by the financial losses, layoffs and income stagnation sustained during the last few years of recession and recovery, said Gad Levanon, director of macroeconomic research at the organization and a co-author of the report, which is based on a 2012 survey of 15,000 individuals.
The furious pace of oil exploration that has made North Dakota one of the healthiest economies in the country has had the opposite effect on the region’s health care providers. Swamped by uninsured laborers flocking to dangerous jobs, medical facilities in the area are sinking under skyrocketing debt, a flood of gruesome injuries and bloated business costs from the inflated economy.
The problems have been acute at McKenzie County Hospital here. Largely because of unpaid bills, the hospital’s debt has climbed more than 2,000 percent over the past four years to $1.2 million, according to Daniel Kelly, the hospital’s chief executive. Just three years ago, Mr. Kelly added, the hospital averaged 100 emergency room visits per month; last year, that average shot up to 400. ...
Many of the new patients are transient men without health insurance or a permanent address in the area. In one of the biggest drivers of the hospital debt, patients give inaccurate contact information; when the time comes to collect payment, the patients cannot be found. McKenzie County Hospital has invested in new software that will help verify the information patients give on the spot.
One tried-and-true tactic is to recruit third parties to help deliver your talking points -- hopefully, individuals and organizations that are held in higher regard by the public than your own company or industry.
This is a staple of the insurance industry's playbook --my former colleagues know that they're not especially popular. In fact, internal polls I was privy to as an industry executive showed consistently that health insurers were beloved by the public just slightly more than tobacco companies.
True to form, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the industry's big PR and lobbying group, has rolled out a slick campaign aimed at getting Congress to gut some of ObamaCare's most important consumer protections. ...
What AHIP and SHOUTAmerica don't say is that most young people will actually be able to get affordable coverage for the first time when ObamaCare is fully implemented on Jan. 1, 2014, either through the expansion of Medicaid or the subsidies that will be available for people making up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($43,560 for an individual and $89,400 for a family of four in 2011, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation). This will enable millions of people, young and old alike, to leave the ranks of the uninsured.
Yes, a few relatively well-paid young people will see their premiums go up, but many of their parents, who helped put them through school to get decent-paying jobs, will see them go down.
The status quo that AHIP and friends are trying to preserve works best for a few people, especially insurance company executives whose companies make huge profits by selling junk insurance and gouging older people. It does not work at all for most of the rest of us, and certainly not for most of those young people that SHOUTAmerica claims to represent.
The PCIP, which was created under the health reform law and opened for enrollment in July 2010, is a temporary insurance program for people with preexisting conditions, many of whom are turned down when they seek private coverage or are offered unaffordable premiums. The PCIP is meant to serve as a “bridge”—helping provide coverage for sick people until 2014, when they will be able to find insurance through the marketplaces, which are required to offer coverage to all. (Starting in 2014, insurers operating both inside and outside of the marketplaces will be banned from restricting coverage or basing premiums on health status or gender.) As of October 2012, nearly 95,000 people were covered through the PCIP.
As with the insurance marketplaces, states had the option to administer a PCIP or have the federal government do so for them. Currently 27 states administer their own PCIP, while the federal government administers it for 23 states and the District of Columbia. States running their own programs had broad latitude in designing them. Given this variability in administration, enrollment levels and costs vary considerably from state to state, with enrollment ranging from one person in Vermont to more than 14,000 people in California. ...
The PCIP experience suggests that while costs in the marketplaces may be high early on, they should decline over time. The elimination of coverage exclusions on the basis of preexisting conditions and the availability of affordable, continuous coverage should help, as should spreading costs across the marketplaces’ broader risk pool. Finally, marketplace administrators in each state may wish to consult their PCIP administrators to learn more about specific issues encountered in outreach, enrollment, and early claims patterns.
“In our country today we are spending almost twice as much per capita on health care as any other major country yet our health outcomes in terms of life expectancy, infant mortality and disease prevention are not particularly good,” Sanders said. “One of the reasons for that is that we have a major crisis regarding primary health care access which results in lower quality health care for our people and greater expenditures.”
According to a report released at the hearing, as many as 45,000 people die each year because they do not have health insurance and do not get to a doctor on time. A significant reason for the lack of access to care is that less than one-third of all doctors in America today practice primary care, down for half of all physicians 50 years ago. The problem is likely to get worse because many primary care doctors are nearing retirement and fewer and fewer medical students are interested in becoming family practitioners.
Under the federal health law, low- and moderate-income workers with job-based coverage that is deemed unaffordable can opt out of it and turn to new marketplaces, called exchanges, to buy subsidized insurance.
But the rule defines the standard for affordability more narrowly than most consumer groups had hoped. The threshold is defined as less than 9.5 percent of household income to cover the employee's share of premium costs — not on what he or she must pay to cover the entire family, which is generally more expensive.
Consumer groups had hoped to sway the IRS to base the affordability threshold on the cost of a family plan, saying the rules could prevent some children and spouses from getting coverage. A July report from the Government Accountability Office estimated that a small percentage of uninsured children — 6.6 percent of the total, or at least 460,000 — may be shut out because of how the government proposed to define affordable coverage.
As part of its universal coverage plan, Massachusetts launched the Connector: An online portal where consumers could compare and purchase health insurance plans. The idea was to create something like an Expedia for health coverage, where an array of options would show up on one screen.
Purchasing health coverage turned out to be more complex than a plane ticket.
New research shows that more than 40 percent of shoppers found the information difficult to understand. One in five were overwhelmed with choices, and wished someone would help narrow their options. ...
Next year, 8 million Americans will turn on their computers and attempt to buy health insurance from a Web site like the one Massachusetts built. That prospect has health policy experts and behavioral economists rushing to figure out: How do they make a confusing, overwhelming process really, really easy? ...
One of the biggest challenges grows out of the fact that buying health insurance is totally unlike most other purchases. A plane ticket or hotel room on Expedia comes with a price tag; the buyer knows it will cost $400, or however much, to fly to their final destination.
Health insurance is completely different. There are certainly the monthly premiums that a consumer will pay. But there are also deductibles and cost-sharing, which can significantly alter an insurance plan’s out-of-pocket cost.
What exactly the costumer is purchasing is also a bit uncertain. Different plans have different networks of doctors and will cover various treatments and prescriptions at different levels.
Though he was living on $18,000 a year as a graduate student, Mr. Gonzalez had good insurance and the hospital, St. Charles in Port Jefferson, N.Y., was in his network. But the surgeon who came in to remove Mr. Gonzalez’s gallbladder that Sunday night was not.
He billed Mr. Gonzalez $30,000, and an assistant billed an additional $30,000. Mr. Gonzalez’s policy covered out-of-network providers, but at a rate it considered appropriate: $2,000. “I was on the hook for more than I made in a year,” Mr. Gonzalez said.
A health insurance industry report to be released on Friday highlights the exorbitant fees charged by some doctors to out-of-network patients like Mr. Gonzalez. The report, by America’s Health Insurance Plans, or AHIP, contrasts some of the highest bills charged by non-network providers in 30 states with Medicare rates for the same services. Some of the charges, the insurers assert, are 30, 40 or nearly 100 times greater than Medicare rates.
Insurers hope to spotlight a vexing problem that they say the Affordable Care Act does little to address. “When you’re out of network, it’s a blank check,” said Karen Ignagni, president and chief executive of AHIP. “The consumer is vulnerable to ‘anything goes.’ ” ...
Among the fees on the report’s list are a $6,205 outpatient office visit to a doctor in Massachusetts for which Medicare would have paid $152; a $12,000 bill for examining a tissue specimen in New York for which Medicare would have paid $128; and a $48,983 surgeon’s fee for a total hip replacement in New Jersey that Medicare would have reimbursed at $1,543. Many of the highest billers were in New York, Texas, Florida and New Jersey.
Agreements to delay the introduction of generic drugs have come under heightened scrutiny in both Europe and the United States in recent years, with regulators on both sides of the Atlantic concluding that such deals are anticompetitive. In the United States, the Supreme Court is scheduled to take up the issue in March. Typically, such arrangements are a result of patent disputes between brand-name and generic drug makers, although no such dispute was mentioned in the most recent case involving Johnson & Johnson and Novartis. ...
A preliminary investigation by Mr. Almunia’s office found that the Johnson & Johnson unit in the Netherlands, Janssen-Cilag, made the payments to stop Novartis from selling generic fentanyl skin patches in the Netherlands for more than a year, from July 2005 until December 2006. That kept prices artificially high, according to the European Commission, the European Union’s administrative body that enforces antitrust law. Mr. Almunia’s office would not disclose the amount of money that Janssen-Cilag paid to Sandoz, nor would officials indicate whether the investigation would go beyond the Netherlands.
Despite finding that few states have acted to implement the 2014 health insurance market reforms, the authors expect additional state action in 2013. A prior analysis of state action taken to implement the Affordable Care Act’s 2010 health insurance market reforms found that nearly all states ultimately required or encouraged compliance with those reforms, which included bans on lifetime limits on benefits and dependent coverage for young adults up to age 26. The authors note that uncertainty around the law due to last year’s Supreme Court challenge and the recent presidential and congressional elections could have caused states to delay taking action on the 2014 market reforms.
"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.
As a result, prominent Republicans have begun acknowledging that their party needs to improve its image. But here’s the thing: Their proposals for a makeover all involve changing the sales pitch rather than the product. When it comes to substance, the G.O.P. is more committed than ever to policies that take from most Americans and give to a wealthy handful. ...
Meanwhile, back in Louisiana Mr. Jindal is pushing a plan to eliminate the state’s income tax, which falls most heavily on the affluent, and make up for the lost revenue by raising sales taxes, which fall much more heavily on the poor and the middle class. The result would be big gains for the top 1 percent, substantial losses for the bottom 60 percent. Similar plans are being pushed by a number of other Republican governors as well.
Now the SEC is poised to get his attorney — and Morgan Stanley's too — as its new chairman.
The critical question is whether Mary Jo White can be as zealous in protecting the investing public's interests as she was in defending her Wall Street clients as a litigator at the white-shoe law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. The transition in mindset back to government service doesn't always come naturally for white-collar defense lawyers.
The SEC's penny-ante justice for Wall Street crooks, combined with the Justice Department's willful inability to find top executives who committed crimes at major banks, has left many Americans understandably cynical about the way law enforcement works in the United States.
A quarter of jobs in America pay below the federal poverty line for a family of four ($23,050). Not only are many jobs low-wage, they are also temporary and insecure. Over the last three years, the temp industry added more jobs in the United States than any other, according to the American Staffing Association, the trade group representing temp recruitment agencies, outsourcing specialists and the like.
Low-wage, temporary jobs have become so widespread that they threaten to become the norm. But for some reason this isn’t causing a scandal. At least in the business press, we are more likely to hear plaudits for “lean and mean” companies than angst about the changing nature of work for ordinary Americans.
How did we arrive at this state of affairs? Many argue that it was the inevitable result of macroeconomic forces — globalization, deindustrialization and technological change — beyond our political control. Yet employers had (and have) choices. Rather than squeezing workers, they could have invested in workers and boosted product quality, taking what economists call the high road toward more advanced manufacturing and skilled service work. But this hasn’t happened. Instead, American employers have generally taken the low road: lowering wages and cutting benefits, converting permanent employees into part-time and contingent workers, busting unions and subcontracting and outsourcing jobs. They have done so, in part, because of the extraordinary evangelizing of the temp industry, which rose from humble origins to become a global behemoth.
As Jared Bernstein points out, there’s a factual problem here: a large part of the rise in the disability rolls reflects simple demographics, because aging baby boomers are a lot more likely to have real ailments than those same workers did when they were in their 20s and 30s. The Social Security Administration does a formal adjustment for this reality, and as Jared says, it looks like this...
It looks a lot less dramatic, doesn’t it? ...
I mean, when Reagan ranted about welfare queens driving Cadillacs, he was inventing a fake problem — but his rant resonated with angry white voters, who understood perfectly well who Reagan was targeting. But Americans on disability as moochers? That isn’t, as far as I can tell, an especially nonwhite group — and it’s a group that is surely as likely to elicit sympathy as disdain. There’s just no way it can serve the kind of political purpose the old welfare-kicking rhetoric used to perform. ...
The same goes, more broadly, for the whole nation of takers thing. First of all, a lot of the “taking” involves Social Security and Medicare. And even the growth in means-tested programs is largely accounted for by the Earned Income Tax Credit — which requires and rewards work — and the expansion of Medicaid/CHIP to cover more children. Again, not the greatest of political targets.
The Treasury's pay czar, or "special master," was tasked with limiting "excessive" pay at companies the government bailed out using taxpayer money during the financial crisis.
But the Office of the Special Master did not follow the rules it had set for compensation, instead letting companies define pay themselves, according to a report by the inspector general for the government's bailout program.
In 2012, the pay czar acceded to company requests in approving multi-million dollar pay packages and pay hikes for top executives at General Motors, AIG and Ally Financial.
The pay czar approved all 18 pay raises requested by the companies, for a total of $6.2 million, and approved pay packages of at least $1 million for 68 of the 69 employees at the companies it was overseeing, the report found.
"While taxpayers struggle to overcome the recent financial crisis and look to the U.S. government to put a lid on compensation for executives of firms whose missteps nearly crippled the U.S. financial system, the U.S. Department of the Treasury continues to allow excessive executive pay," the report said.
It's the President and the Attorney General who call the shots, and who will ultimately be judged by their actions -- or lack thereof. Change can only come from the top. What are the prospects?
Judge for yourselves: Last week the Obama/Holder Justice Department told producers of Frontline's hard-hitting report that "they thought (the bank crime episode) was a hit piece" and that "they will never cooperate" with the program again.
Ask not for whom the revolving door turns, Wall Street. As of this writing, it still turns for thee.
The Times story described how Amgen got a huge hidden gift from unnamed members of Congress and their staffers. They slipped an eleventh hour loophole into the New Year’s Eve deal that kept the government from going over the fiscal cliff. And when the sun rose in the morning there it was, a richly embroidered loophole for Amgen that will cost taxpayers -- that's you and me -- a cool half a billion dollars. Yes -- half a billion dollars.
Amgen is the world’s largest biotechnology firm, a drug manufacturer that sells a variety of medications. The little clause secretly sneaked into the fiscal cliff bill gives the company two more years of relief from Medicare cost controls for certain drugs used by patients on kidney dialysis.
The provision didn’t mention Amgen by name, but according to reporters Lipton and Sack, the news that it had been tucked into the fiscal cliff deal "was so welcome that the company’s chief executive quickly relayed it to investment analysts.” Tipping them off, it would seem, to a jackpot in the making.
Amgen has 74 lobbyists on its team in Washington and lobbied hard for that loophole, currying favor with friends at the White House and on Capitol Hill. The Times reporters traced its “deep financial and political ties” to Baucus, McConnell and Hatch, “who hold heavy sway over Medicare payment policy.”
As it is, the economy has already lost more than $7 trillion in output ($20,000 per person) compared with what the Congressional Budget Office projected in January of 2008. We will probably lose at least another $4 trillion before the economy gets back to anything resembling full employment. And, millions of people have seen their lives turned upside down by their inability to get jobs, being thrown out of their homes, or their parents' inability to get a job. And this is all because of the folks in Washington's inability to manage the economy.
But the Wall Street banks are bigger and fatter than ever. As a result of the crisis, many mergers were rushed through that might have otherwise been subject to serious regulatory scrutiny. For example, J.P. Morgan was allowed to take over Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual, two huge banks that both faced collapse in the crisis. Bank of America took over Merrill Lynch and Countrywide. By contrast, there can be little doubt that without the helping hand of Timothy Geithner, most or all of the Wall Street banks would have been sunk by their own recklessness.
It's about a fellow named Jamie. He lives in New York City, and he has recently had a very rough go with a large financial institution. Such behemoths can be heartless, so as you can imagine, it's tough to stand up to them. The giant in this case is JPMorgan Chase, Wall Street's biggest bank, and it went after poor Jamie Dimon hard. In the end, the bank took more than half his income.
It was a bitterly painful experience, but thanks to the indomitable human spirit, Jamie's story has turned from sad to uplifting! Yes, he was down, but not out. Luckily, he had something big going for him in this fight: JPMorgan is his bank. I don't mean he banks there; he's the CEO.
On Jan. 16, it was announced that JPMorgan's board of directors had docked his pay, awarding him some $12 million less this year than he was given a year ago. Ouch! But there's no need to cry for Jamie. He still is hauling home $11.5 million.
Yet Wall Streeters are all atwitter about the haughty CEO getting his comeuppance (though I guess getting his pay cut in half would more properly be termed a "come-downance").
He certainly did have a very bad year in 2012. He presided over a stunning $6.2 billion loss by the bank's chief investment office, due to finagling or incompetence, or both — federal authorities are still investigating. But the high-rolling denizens of Wall Street were shocked by the level of punishment meted out by the bank's board, widely condemning it as harsh. However, Dimon himself merely said of the board's action: "I respect their decision."
Of course he does! He walked away with his job intact, an $11.5-million wad in his pocket and a sly grin on his face. Many investors and bank regulators (not to mention us commoners) don't consider that level of "punishment" to be much of a deterrent to the kind of executive narcissism and too-big-too-fail carelessness that characterizes today's Wall Street elite.
The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) released the study Thursday, titled "Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States.” The study shows that the bottom 20 percent pay an 8.9 percent tax rate in Colorado, compared to the state's top one percent who only pay a 4.6 percent tax rate.
“Asking the poorest Coloradans to pay more of their income in taxes than the richest, those making half a million dollars or more, violates our sense of fairness,” said Ali Mickelson, Tax Policy Attorney at Colorado Fiscal Institute in a press release. “Colorado needs to change the tax structure so that the richest among us are taking on their fair share of tax responsibility.”
Colorado income tax uses a flat rate structure across all income levels, along with six other states. ...
The state ranks 5th lowest in state and local taxes per $1000 of income, but low-income taxpayers pay almost twice as much of their earning in taxes as rich taxpayers do.
If you are a member of Washington's political class or a corporate chieftain, you probably favor the benefit cuts. People are living longer, you might reason, so we should raise Social Security's retirement age, reduce inflation increases or cut benefits for the wealthy through means testing.
But the public has a very different answer, according to a survey released on Thursday.
The survey finds a strong majority of us favor paying higher taxes to restore Social Security's long-term solvency.
We do not want benefits cut. If anything, we would like to see them strengthened. That's the view across all lines of political party, income level and age, according to the survey of a representative sample of more than 2,000 Americans.
It was all a lie – one of the biggest and most elaborate falsehoods ever sold to the American people. We were told that the taxpayer was stepping in – only temporarily, mind you – to prop up the economy and save the world from financial catastrophe. What we actually ended up doing was the exact opposite: committing American taxpayers to permanent, blind support of an ungovernable, unregulatable, hyperconcentrated new financial system that exacerbates the greed and inequality that caused the crash, and forces Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to increase risk rather than reduce it. The result is one of those deals where one wrong decision early on blossoms into a lush nightmare of unintended consequences. We thought we were just letting a friend crash at the house for a few days; we ended up with a family of hillbillies who moved in forever, sleeping nine to a bed and building a meth lab on the front lawn.
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