Now, though, employers are finding ways to cut costs on their 401(k) plans at the expense of their workers while still maintaining the incentive for workers to stay at their jobs. During the recession, some companies actually cut the percentage of their matching contributions, say, to 25 percent from 50 percent. Some have since restored their percentage. Others have not.
But a more subtle move was taken late last year by IBM, which announced it would make its matching contributions annually at year's end instead of placing the contributions in the employees' selected investment accounts with each paycheck.
If a small company had made this change, few would have cared. But when IBM did so, it was news. Many companies will notice, and some will follow suit.
IBM mainly will save money by making once-a-year contributions because employees who leave during the year will not receive the match that accrues during the year if they leave the company before the end of the year, Alfred explained. The amounts departing employees could lose could be in the thousands of dollars.
The screener was really great. You could specify lots of criteria, including Morningstar rating. Is this s hint that IBM wants out of the 401k business. If anyone know of a way to screen the our 401k funds, please advise.
Some corporate leaders are clearly worried about a perception that the jobs being created in Poland represent the loss of higher-paying jobs back in home countries. Some refuse to say how many employees they have in Poland, while some companies that use the services produced in Poland ask that their contracts be kept secret.
To the guy who got R/A'd with no-medical benefits and wants to stay on his current health plan, the $18,000 a year cost for COBRA coverage for a family of 4 would take my statement seriously. It's not at all absurd to him.
If our whole world-view consists of "well I got mine, phew!", then we fail at life's main purpose, IMHO. But that's a subject for another blog!
McKinsey took note of this development in the early 2000s, when a study they commissioned from Yankelovich determined that new college graduates could expect to have 11 jobs by the age of 38. How can you plan any spending, much the less sensibly commit to buying a house or raising a family, with that much income uncertainty? Multiply that across most of the economy and no wonder this “expansion” is so sluggish.
"Once you leave the job market, trying to get back in it is a monster," said Mary Matthews, 57, who has teetered between bouts of unemployment and short temp jobs for the last five years. She applies for jobs every week, but most of the time, her applications hit a brick wall. ...
Employers rarely get back to her, and when they do she's often told she is "overqualified" for the position. Sometimes she wonders: Is that just a euphemism for too old? ...
Nearly two-thirds of unemployed workers age 55 and older say they have been actively searching for a job for more than one year, compared to just one-third of younger workers, a recent survey by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University found. ...
Proving discrimination is next to impossible, though, unless it's blatant. "It's very difficult to prove hiring discrimination, because unless somebody says, 'you're too old for this job,' you don't know why you weren't hired," said Michael Harper, a law professor at Boston University.
Lynn Parramore: Why does America need a book on the personal finance industry? We're messed up about money, right? Don't we need help?
Helaine Olen: We need help, but not the way we think. In a society where salaries have stagnated and fallen, net worth has plunged, even as the costs of things like healthcare, housing and education have gone up at rates well beyond that of inflation, it’s not surprising most of us have financial problems. But most of us still don’t see that we have a societal problem. Instead, we listen to people and organizations that insist our problem is an individual one. As a result, we gobble up books and television programs that offer us the promise of the magical tip that will allow us to fix all our financial woes. Of course, that’s not really possible. So … enter Pound Foolish. You can think of it as the anti-personal finance advice personal finance advice book.
LP: What are the biggest factors that have contributed to our current retirement crisis?
HO: There are so many factors contributing to the retirement crisis it is hard to succinctly list them all. But once upon a time, a majority of us at least had the possibility of receiving a pension when we retired. That’s no longer the case. We’re now expected to do this on our own. And, frankly, most of us aren’t capable of this task, and we have 30 years of evidence – that is, the lifespan of the 401(k) – to prove this fact. We do everything wrong we possibly can. We are unable to save enough money and we don’t invest it well. At the same time, we lack the crucial ability to see the future. We don’t really know when we will retire and why that will occur. We don’t know if our investments will pan out. We don’t know how the greater economic environment will either play out or interact with our lives.
I was reporting on this stuff 15 years ago and I can tell you just about no one said anything like “oh, by the way, you’ll need more than $200,000 just for medical expenses in retirement.” It’s just unfair to expect people – who are not financial experts – to be able to pull this off. The fact is Social Security and other such schemes were created for a reason. There was no imagined past where people saved up for their old age. As the family farm gave way to urbanization and industrialization, old people had this distressing tendency to end up in workhouses – which were as Dickensian as they sound – if they couldn’t convince a relative to take them in. And many couldn’t. Yes, the rates of intergenerational living were higher than they are now, but it wasn’t all The Walton’s.
The decision comes after one bargaining unit last week narrowly accepted Boeing's contract offer without the pension for new hires. The other unit narrowly rejected the contract, sending them back to the bargaining table.
"The pension is dead," said Tom McCarty, president of the executive board of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), in an interview with Reuters. "We're not going to try to breathe new life into it." ...
In February, as the crisis with the 787 deepened, SPEEA offered to extend the current contract, which includes 5 percent annual raises, for four more years. Boeing agreed, but insisted on its proposal to eliminate the pension for employees hired or re-hired starting March 1.
SPEEA members already have a 401(k) plan that pays a match up to 6 percent of their annual salary. Boeing's offer would enhance that plan, while cutting out the pension.
The union said this change would reduce the value of a worker's compensation by about 40 percent over the span of a career. "It's a lot less than the existing pension and 401(k)," union executive director Ray Goforth said in an interview. ...
Current employees would keep their pension, and it would grow by 10 percent over the four-year life of the contract, he said.
The 401(k) started out as a tax loop hole to supplement workers' savings and has grown to become Americans’ main retirement savings tool. But many baby boomers are finding their retirement in tatters and aren’t able to leave the workforce due to grossly inadequate savings.
“These accounts were never meant to serve as the primary retirement savings tool,” says Robert Hiltonsmith, policy analyst Demos. “They were created as a vehicle for high earners to supplement their other retirement benefits. But through lobbying, shifts in the labor market and job trends they became the primary savings vehicle without a national conversation.” ...
“We are finding 401(k)s are not an adequate way for people to save for retirement because most working families find they don’t have the resources to funnel money into these accounts, “ says Diane Oakley, executive director of the National Institute on Retirement. “With wages remaining stagnate they’re having a hard time just making ends meet.” ...
401(k) plans were originally knows as salary-reduction plans and were created as an executive perk for high-paid workers. “This idea was invented for a specific group, but was sold by consultants who helped package the idea for a broad set of companies. But it wasn’t supposed to become the main tool,” says Ghilarducci. ...
Now, many boomers can’t afford to leave the work force, which is bad news for the Millennials just entering the labor market. “That’s the important thing about a retirement plan--it is designed to encourage people to leave the workforce when it’s time for them to leave, but now people are working longer, which disrupts the labor market by not opening up positions to be filled with the younger generations,” says Oakley. ...
She also says Congress needs to take a closer look at tax breaks. “The tax break on 401(k)s are the largest write offs… 80% of the 401(k) deductions goes to the top 20% of earners, the people that don’t really need the help” she says. ...
To improve the current 401(k) system, Hiltonsmith says the risk needs to be spread out better. “Right now the risk is totally on the back of savers -- businesses, employers, and managers don’t have any risk.” He says a state-level guaranteed retirement account would do the trick to provide lifetime income for people that shields from market risk.
The poll, to be released by the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) at a conference on Tuesday, found that 55 percent of Americans are “very concerned” that the current economic conditions are harming their retirement prospects. An additional 30 percent reported being “somewhat concerned” about their ability to retire. ...
As aging Americans are increasingly burdened by debt, spiraling health-care costs and diminishing pension coverage, an increasing number of researchers argue that a long era of improved living standards for the elderly is now in jeopardy.
The Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee says the nation faces a $6.6 trillion retirement-savings deficit. Meanwhile, a retirement security index developed by Boston College’s Center on Retirement Research as well as economists at the New School have found that a majority of Americans are at risk of being financially worse off than their parents in retirement. ...
The high anxiety Americans feel about retirement has them clamoring for the protections that used to be common for workers, the survey found. More than four in five Americans, for example, have favorable views of traditional pensions, which pay a guaranteed amount to retirees for life.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, wages for computer programmers have stagnated. In fact, between 2001 and 2011, the mean hourly wage didn't even keep up with inflation. It's still less than $40. Microsoft says there have been some healthy increases recently, not reflected in the government numbers. But for critics of the system, it's apparent that the H1-B visas work as a kind of pressure-release valve on pay. Matloff also thinks the visas let companies avoid hiring older programmers.
You can be an exact fit but if you're 35, you're probably not going to even get a phone call. And meanwhile, the company is going to tell the press that there's just not any qualified people. ...
You hire the alien first, and then you manipulate the regulatory system to prove that you can't find an American.
Selected reader comments follow:
So the corporations devalue the profession, then whine about a mythical shortage of workers so they can continue devaluing the profession.
Gotta better idea: Put some scholarship money out there, and offer jobs to Americans. Provide an incentive to go into STEM fields. American kids would love to rise to those professions, but not if companies are just going to crap on them for their efforts.
Many of the people we are bringing in are fakers. Anyone can buy a PhD in Punjab for $300 USD.
Many Americans were let go, some were hired back as contractors with less pay, no pension or benefits.
For employers, this is all about wage depression.
For the universities, it is about increasing enrollment and getting paid the foreign student rate. They can charge more if the government will staple a green card to their product.
And once again, the American workers draws the short straw as planned.
That means that our industries, including your business, were deprived of 35,000 chances to get a visa.
Those visas were taken by companies, whose primary business model is to remove jobs from the United States, and relocate them overseas.
H-1b is a lose-lose proposition, between engineers and local businesses.
Engineers are expensive, hey so are doctors, lawyers, even certain public servants. (Rookie police officer pay in San Francisco is 90,000/year, plus great benefits, and a pensions plan).
So what if you have to pay the real cost of an native engineer, competition means competition at all levels, not just the ones that you select to compete in.
Where I worked, they were leasing Indian software folks from Indian "body shops". These leased employees were no better than their American counterparts, but they were much cheaper, and they worked outrageous hours. One of them told me that he was paid $20k/yr. (Of course I have no means to verify this.) He was putting in 70 hours a week!
Of course, that was used to pressure American workers to "step up" our work hours. Salary became slavery. I was actually told that if I didn't want to work weekends, they'd find an Indian who would!
During this time, many Americans were laid off, a fate that the H1B holders were immune from.
The H1B system is rife with abuse and is a tool of wage depression. These employers are merely using the H1B to suppress wages and demand ungodly work hours.
We do not need more foreign workers, we need to motivate Americans to go into technical fields, H1B visas give a clear message that an engineering or computer career may not be such a great choice.
This is another tactic to enhance the Annual Bonuses and Platinum Parachutes of C-level management (or mismanagement as the case maybe).
Many of the so-called "open" jobs are offering an Income sufficient only for a recent grad living at Mom & Dad's or TATA-imported Indian workers living 4 or 5 to an apartment - with their passports and return airline tickets confiscated. Georgia all over again! (Indentured Servitude)
I'm now 58, I've worked for a total of less than a year in the past 11. I haven't worked at all in nearly five years. No one will hire me now in spite of my 29 years of experience and my PhD. and I know this. So yes tech companies are begging for employees. They are just not begging for employees over 40, or employees with disabilities, or anyone else they might have the slightest reservation about because they can always get those H1-B people.
This costs American society, and taxpayers money. Instead of paying hefty taxes on our big salaries we are getting public assistance of some form. Lets do ourselves a favor and not bring ANY H1-B visa people here until all our existing scientists and engineers are fully employed.
As to your "Is there any pattern of folks who are close or in the IBM Quarter Century Club (the "long term survivors club") getting RAed in higher numbers?" question. . . I expect there is. In my case, I was told by my manager that she was told by her manager (a Director) to let the two highest paid people on her team go. With that said, I was marked to go because with nearly 25 years I was at a band / level of pay that made me one of the "top 2" earners on the team. Although that type of "cut the highest paid" directive isn't necessarily "age discrimination" it certainly is "wage discrimination"--which in the end (in my view) leads to the same thing. -RAed in '09-
My mgr mailed me my last check, read this ST conversation, and, I quote " Rich, I didn't get your last check yet...believe it or not, there was a mix-up in the phillipines...they are processing 'exits' now...all fixed though and I should receive it any day now"...how is that for ironic..they even mess up my last paycheck! I did just get it on the 28th though...I will have to say, I had a great 1st line mgr my last few years..she is probably the only thing I will miss from that place :-) Very happy not to be there now!! -Rich-
Corporate America has long been shifting the burden of medical costs onto workers. Cost-sharing negotiated with unions or, more commonly, imposed unilaterally by non-union firms has raised labor’s share of health insurance premiums to an average of 18 percent for individual coverage and nearly 30 percent for families. Workers or their dependents also face escalating deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance, which can add hundreds or thousands of dollars to their annual healthcare spending.
Now, under the banner of health promotion, management is also making some workers pay more for their insurance based on individual differences in their medical condition or lack of adherence to “wellness” standards. This new, more individualized form of cost-shifting threatens to stigmatize and penalize the chronic health conditions of millions of workers, expose some to job discrimination and undermine labor solidarity in the process. In addition, workplace privacy advocates are warning about the invasiveness of so-called “health risk assessments”—now commonly required in corporate wellness programs—because these surveys probe off-duty behavior related to sex, drugs and alcohol.
I remember all of those special plans of tracking your health and getting some token reduction. It was all a method to gather your data which at some future time will be used to maybe tailor your plan costs. There is a cost reason for everything.
As the exchanges start to develop we'll see how the plan cost will increase to all and and slowly force business' to change the way the insure their employee's. My sources in Armonk tells me they are running comparison models on various plans in all of the states to see how they compare with the government mandated minimal plan. You will see some changes in this years plan offerings but major ones in 2014-2015. Plan ahead as it's coming.
“It’s like ‘Waiting for Godot,’ ” said Dr. Richard D. Krugman, the dean of the University of Colorado Medical School and a member of the commission. “We are sitting on a park bench, waiting for Godot. We’ll see if he shows up.”
With an aging population and 30 million people expected to gain coverage under Mr. Obama’s health care law, the demand for medical care is expected to increase. But Dr. Sheldon M. Retchin, the vice chairman of the panel, the National Health Care Workforce Commission, said, “We are prohibited from meeting and discussing these issues.” ...
The commission was created by the 2010 health care law, the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Obama has requested $3 million for the panel in each of the last two years, and some Democrats, like Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee on health, have supported the request.
But Republicans in Congress have been reluctant to provide money for anything connected with the law, which they opposed. “Anything authorized in the Affordable Care Act has a tough road with the Republicans,” said Dr. Atul Grover, the chief lobbyist for the Association of American Medical Colleges.
For more than a decade before the Affordable Care Act health insurance premiums had risen rapidly, straining the pocketbooks of American families and businesses. Oftentimes, insurance companies were able to raise rates without explanation to consumers or public justification of their actions.
Rate Review in Action. The Affordable Care Act brought an unprecedented level of scrutiny and transparency to health insurance rate increases by requiring insurance companies in every state to publicly justify their actions if they want to raise rates by 10% or more. Insurance companies are required to provide easy to understand information to their customers about their reasons for significant rate increases, and any unreasonable rate increases are posted online.
And it’s working. A new report released today shows that the health care law is helping to moderate premium hikes. Since this rule was implemented, the number of requests for insurance premium increases of 10% or more has dropped dramatically, from 75% to 14%. The average premium increase for all rates in 2012 was 30% below what it was in 2010. And available data suggest that this slowdown in rate increases has continued into 2013.
It’s easy to see why a health care provider is almost uniquely well-positioned to bilk you. If you don’t get treatment, you or someone you love might die. It’s a high-pressure emotional situation that makes it extremely difficult to bargain, comparison shop, or just decide to cut back. Most of us, fortunately, get to outsource most of that bargaining to our insurance companies. Cold-blooded executives, not stressed-out patients, cut the deals that determine how much actually gets paid. This means that the real price of health care services is driven largely by the purchasing clout of the buyer. An uninsured individual gets totally screwed. A big insurance company can drive a harder bargain and get a better deal. But as Brill shows, the best deal of all goes to the biggest insurer around: the federal government, whose Medicare program for senior citizens is such a large purchaser that it and it alone can drive a truly hard bargain and squeeze provider profit margins to the bone.
The policy upshot of this seems clear enough. Rather than cutting Medicare as is currently all the rage in deficit-hawk circles, we ought to be expanding it and enlarging the cheapest and most cost-effective part of the American health care system.
But of course only left-wing crazies think that, so though Brill concedes that this is precisely the reason that more-statist foreign health care systems have much lower costs than ours, he rejects the idea out of hand. ...
The last time the OECD looked at this (PDF), they found that, adjusted for local purchasing power, America has the highest-paid general practitioners in the world. And our specialists make more than specialists in every other country except the Netherlands. What’s even more striking, as the Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff observed last week, these highly paid doctors don’t buy us more doctors’ visits. Canada has about 25 percent more doctors’ consultations per capita than we do, and the average rich country has 50 percent more. This doctor compensation gap is hardly the only issue in overpriced American health care—overpriced medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, prescription drugs, and administrative overhead are all problems—but it’s a huge deal.
Rather, commercial insurers cannot contain costs because the pricing mechanism for medical services is broken. When it comes to health care, competition simply isn’t working.
Prices in the private sector are out of control. On average, private insurers pay 25 percent more than Medicare for physician services and 30 percent more for hospital care. What’s more, both public and private sector payment rates for doctors in America are far and away the highest in the world, and research suggests that these high rates are among the principal reasons health care is so much more expensive in this country than elsewhere.
These international gaps are much wider in the private sector. For instance, private payments for an office visit in the United States cost 70 percent more than those abroad, while public payments are 27 percent higher. ...
Rather than being influenced by competition, health care prices are largely set by insurers and providers with monopoly power to maximize profits. Big hospital chains and provider groups dominate most local markets and extract extremely high rates from dominant insurers, which are motivated by fear of losing market share if they fail to attract these providers to their networks. Research indicates that hospitals can change their business practices and control their costs effectively when faced with competitive pressure, but health care markets have concentrated in the last few decades. Providers simply haven’t had to compete to offer high-value care. ...
Congress has three options to rein in runaway prices: It can use Medicare-style techniques to set rates or rate ceilings in the commercial marketplace, including in the new health insurance exchanges, just as every other developed nation does. It can give people under 65 the choice of a public health insurance plan that works like Medicare, competes against the private health plans, and brings down costs. Or it can do both.
"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 rise in income inequality is due more to changes at the top of the income distribution than at the bottom. While income for all Americans grew 25 percent from 1996 to 2006, it grew 74 percent for the top 1 percent and 96 percent for the top 0.1 percent. A large part of this was again driven by continuous cuts to income and capital gains taxes.
In short, the affluent have been keeping more and more of their income while ordinary Americans have faced stagnant wages and disappearing benefits.
The company’s meteoric rise in the past decade parallels the relative decline of internet service in the US. In the late 1990s the US had the fastest speeds and widest penetration of almost anywhere – unsurprisingly given that it invented the platform. Today the US comes 16th, according to the OECD, with an average of 27 megabits per second, compared with up to quadruple that in countries such as Japan and the Netherlands.
The contrast on price is just as unflattering. The average US cost for 1 Mbps is $1.10 compared with $0.42 in the UK, $0.34 in France and $0.21 in South Korea. It is not only places such as Hong Kong that put the US into the shade. Countries such as Estonia, Portugal and Hungary offer a significantly better internet service. South Koreans joke that when they visit the US they are taking an internet vacation. Yet bringing the US up to speed appears to be low on Mr Obama’s list of priorities (it did not even get a mention in his State of the Union address last month). ...
Countries such as Japan and France have embraced competition to push the rapid adoption of high-speed internet. The US is happy to tolerate duopoly (Comcast is one of two fixed-wire internet providers in 22 of America’s largest 25 cities). As a result, only 7 per cent of American homes are served by fibreoptic wire compared with more than half in South Korea and Japan. It is the difference between a steam train and a bullet train. Yet there is little outcry in Washington.
There are few busier revolving doors than the one between Comcast and Capitol Hill. Of Comcast’s 121 lobbyists, 85 are former government employees, according to Open Secrets, which monitors money and politics. “Comcast employs the royalty of K Street [lobbyists],” says Sheila Krumholz, head of Open Secrets. In 2011, the year the FCC approved Comcast’s merger with NBCU, the company spent more than $14m on lobbying – the ninth-highest of any US company (it ranks 49th on the Fortune 100 list).
In or out of exactly what, one may ask? What, exactly, is reform? Growing up in Germany in the 1960s and 1970s, I recall Willy Brandt, West Germany’s chancellor during some of those years, talking endlessly about reforms. For him, the word meant more workers’ rights and an increase in welfare payments. This has always been the meaning I first think of when I hear it.
A decade later, in the UK under Margaret (now Lady) Thatcher, reform became synonymous with privatisation and deregulation, and a reduction in the rights of trade unions. This is closer to the meaning that it holds for most people today.
About 3.8m Americans who have been unemployed for more than six months receive emergency federal jobless benefits worth on average about $300 per week.
Under budget sequestration – agreed as part of a 2011 budget deal to apply pressure for a long-term deficit reduction agreement – that assistance would be cut by a little less than $30 per week. Though some states, which administer the programme, may delay the reductions for a week or two for processing reasons, these cuts could do the most tangible early damage to the economy.
“You’re pulling money out of the economy from people who spend,” says Judy Conti, a lobbyist for the National Employment Law Project in Washington. “These are people who have already dipped into their savings, they don’t have a lot of wiggle room to absorb this.” ...
In the absence of such a fix – let alone a deal to replace sequestration with more targeted cuts, which has so far been elusive – US government agencies are scrambling to prepare for the worst. The Treasury department has warned that tax return processing at the Internal Revenue Service would be affected, as would its support for counter-terrorism and anti-money laundering investigations. Meanwhile, it would be forced to curtain small business-lending programmes to distressed communities, as well as support for state and local municipal bonds.
President Obama recently suggested that he would ask Congress to close this loophole. Eliminating the carried-interest tax rate should be an easy sell. It should play to Republicans’ supposed hatred of government handouts and to Democrats’ commitment to social justice.
But because of the financial lobby’s clout, the loophole most likely won’t be closed. If it isn’t, shame on both parties for giving us another reason to distrust our democracy and our capitalist system.
While the tax legislation passed on Jan. 1 increased the top individual-income tax rate to 39.6 percent from 35 percent for couples making more than $450,000 and individuals making more than $400,000, it left carried-interest income taxed at just 20 percent. ...
This special tax treatment for carried interest protects the general partners of private equity, venture capital, real estate, hedge funds and other investment vehicles organized as limited partnerships. (The investment-holding company I run does not receive carried-interest income.)
Millions of general partners in investment funds receive carried-interest income when they earn profits for their clients. Since these partners do not have to risk any of their own capital, carried interest is really a taxpayer-subsidized fee for managing their clients’ money — often 20 percent of the profits generated in the fund, and sometimes significantly more than that.
No other affluent Americans enjoy this benefit. A brain surgeon, stockbroker, corporate lawyer or actor will have to pay the new top marginal rate percent, while a general partner who manages other people’s money pays, on carried-interest income, only the 20 percent rate on long-term capital gains.
Already mired in a depression comparable to that of the 1930s, Spain, Greece and Portugal are going to see things grow worse this year, according to an annual economic forecast released by the European Commission on Friday. Unemployment rates in both Spain and Greece — where a quarter of the populations are unemployed and the share of jobless young people exceeds 50 percent — will rise to 27 percent.
At least the leaders in power in 1930 had an excuse when the economy began to collapse. Then, there was genuine bewilderment among economists and governmental chieftains across the political spectrum about how to induce a recovery. From British Laborite Ramsay MacDonald to the German centrist Heinrich Bruning to American conservative Herbert Hoover, leaders cut spending to bring their budgets into balance.
These austerity policies proved an unmitigated disaster. By reducing government spending while business and consumer spending were tanking, these heads of government constricted all economic activity. In turn, unemployment continued to soar. Frustrated with the inability of mainstream political parties to stop the collapse, voters in some nations turned to extremes — most notably, of course, in Germany.
Unlike their predecessors, today’s leaders have models on how to revive depressed economies. The example of Franklin Roosevelt, whose public investments in jobs and defense turned the U.S. economy around, and the writings of John Maynard Keynes, who demonstrated that the solution to depression is boosting demand, are plain for all to see. Seeing isn’t believing, however, when ideology dims the eye. ...
The United States isn’t immune to Europe’s madness. The sequester slated to begin taking effect Friday is a particularly mindless form of an already stupid policy, poised to inflict a kind of blindfolded austerity at a time when unemployment remains high. Republican opponents of government spending, not to mention tea party activists, like to think of themselves as true-blue Americans while disparaging the Democrats as Euro-socialists. But it’s the Republicans who are embracing Europe’s failed economics while Democrats attempt to adhere to the American success story of the New Deal. Republicans might want to bone up on American history; it contains all kinds of valuable lessons.
We have a political system that is the equivalent of a drunk driver. The primary culprits are the House Republicans. They are so intoxicated with their own ideology that they are ready to drive the nation’s car off the road. I don’t know if the sequestration that’s set to begin Friday will produce a little crisis or a big one; the sad fact is that the Republicans don’t know, either, yet they’re still willing to put the country at risk to make a political point. ...
Obama has chosen to be co-dependent, as psychologists describe those who foster the destructive behavior of others. He double-dared the reckless Republicans by proposing the sequester back in 2011. And rather than stepping up to leadership since being reelected, he has triple-dared the GOP hotheads with a partisan inaugural address and weeks of what the Republicans rightly have called a “road show” of blame-game politics. Doesn’t the president see that the GOP is addicted to this showdown at Thunder Road? This is all the power the GOP has these days, really — the ability to scare the heck out of everybody and run the car into the ditch.
Much as I would criticize Obama, it’s wrong to say that both sides are equally to blame for what’s about to hit us. This isn’t a one-off case of Republicans using Obama’s sequestration legislation to force reckless budget cuts. It’s a pattern of behavior: First the Republicans were prepared to shut down the government and damage the national credit rating with their showdown over the debt ceiling; then they were careening toward the “fiscal cliff.” This isn’t a legislative tactic anymore; it’s an addiction.
This site is designed to allow IBM Employees to communicate and share methods of protecting their rights through the establishment of an IBM Employees Labor Union. Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act states it is a violation for Employers to spy on union gatherings, or pretend to spy. For the purpose of the National Labor Relations Act, notice is given that this site and all of its content, messages, communications, or other content is considered to be a union gathering.