IBM said it learned of the investigation, being conducted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in May. The company made the disclosure in its quarterly report filed with the SEC. It gave no details on the probe. ...
IBM said it was cooperating with the SEC and repeated a disclosure made on April 30 that the Department of Justice is investigating allegations of illegal activity by a former IBM employee in Poland, as well as transactions in Argentina, Bangladesh and Ukraine.
While IBM doesn’t disclose its revenue from cloud services, it said the sales rose 70 percent in the first half of 2013 from a year earlier. In its filing today, the company didn’t provide details on what information the SEC was seeking.
“IBM has robust systems and controls to identify and validate what products and services count as cloud revenue,” Barbini said. “IBM accounts for cloud transactions exactly the same way as it would account for those transactions if they were not cloud -- in accordance with GAAP.” ...
The disclosure of the probe comes days after IBM won court approval for a $10 million settlement with the SEC for accusations of bribery in China and South Korea. IBM said earlier this year it’s the subject of a U.S. Justice Department bribery investigation related to contracts in Poland, Argentina, Bangladesh and Ukraine.
The study was conducted by Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute.
As of July, the modernization program is 42 months behind schedule and more than $60 million over the original contract price of $106.9 million, according to the study. ...
The problems we've identified cannot be solved and the state will not renew its contract with IBM, Ms. Hearthway added.
Problems outlined in the study include: the department's and contractor's plans "were not well implemented," instability in the contractor's work force, the contractor's project manager and executive both leaving in early 2009 during a critical time and "no one in DLI [Department of Labor & Industry] was accountable and responsible for the administration of the program" leading to ineffective oversight. ...
An IBM spokesman said the company was surprised by the announcement.
"This decision is based on a third-party report that we have not seen, despite repeated requests to the Department of Labor and Industry to review it together in the normal course of a working relationship, that always has had the best interests of the citizens of Pennsylvania as its primary objective."
This decision announced at a news conference on Wednesday followed a $800,000 study by Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute that found the problems with the IBM Corp.-developed system to be unsolvable.
Spending any more money on trying to make the system, originally slated to cost $106.9 million, would have been a waste, Hearthway said. ...
Scott Cook, a spokesman for IBM in its Chicago office, said the company is surprised by today’s announcement. He said it had asked repeatedly to review the Carnegie Mellon study with Labor and Industry officials but had been denied that opportunity.
“In complex information technology implementations, there is accountability on both sides for system performance and service delivery. IBM is fully prepared to continue to invest to bring the benefits of a contemporary unemployment benefits system to the State and its citizens, and we stand ready to work with the State to resolve this matter,” Cook said in a prepared statement. ...
Department spokeswoman Sara Goulet was baffled by Cook's comment about this action coming as a surprise.
"We've been meeting weekly with them and they know full well all the problems. That's ridiculous that they say they're surprised. They must be in denial," Goulet said. ...
Rep. William Keller, D-Philadelphia, has been complaining to the department since about a year ago after his constituents said their calls to the Unemployment Compensation call centers resulted in a constant busy signal or did not go through. He said department officials told him the computer system was to blame. “I was screaming about this,” Keller said.
The incident has put the spotlight on how senior executives are increasingly under pressure to demonstrate growth in challenging times, pushing them sometimes to resort to unethical accounting practices. ...
In IBM's case, it looks to have been an instance of dressing up financial statements to make it look good, and not an attempt at misappropriating funds. When TOI contacted IBM, the company's spokesperson declined to get into the specific issue, but said in a statement, "It's fundamental to IBM's culture and business model that we act with integrity wherever and whenever we do business, and the company has demonstrated that commitment to integrity over our long history. We have a robust compliance program that reaches into every country in which we do business. When we receive an allegation of wrongdoing, the company investigates it and takes appropriate action."
Selected reader comments follow:
Much of the incentive package from the state is doled out as employees are hired. The Missouri Quality Jobs program, for instance, calculates a certain benefit based on the type of business and its payroll and size. Then, it lets an employer like IBM keep the withholding taxes that are usually taken out of its employees’ paychecks and sent to the state of Missouri. Anything above that is given to the company as a state income tax credit.
Missouri Department of Economic Development spokeswoman Amy Susan said just more than $2 million has been given to IBM in tax credits thus far. She did not know how much of its employees’ taxes IBM had retained. ...
At the local level, Boone County provided a 50 percent property tax abatement on IBM equipment and a sales tax exemption for that property. The Missouri DED, in documents for the BUILD program, estimated local property tax abatement at $1.5 million.
The city, with the help of local banks, purchased and remodeled IBM’s building at 2810 LeMone Industrial Blvd. IBM’s lease agreement with the city is set up so the company pays down the $10 million loan for the building construction over 10 years, according to Columbia City Council meeting minutes. Even if IBM were to leave, it would still be responsible for the lease payments, and the city would still own the building.
Missouri has also provided at least $2.8 million in job training payments, according to the Missouri Accountability Portal, which reports some of the state’s incentive program’s outlays.
A reader comment follows:
I am sick and tired of two faced crony capitalism. Far too many federal administrations of both parties, as well as state and local governments have practiced it. Profitable and successful companies get taxpayer dollars and manipulate idiot politicians who want to show voters they are creating jobs in their states or cities.
There is nothing wrong with providing some tax breaks for entrepreneurs or start up companies, but it should not ever happen with a multi-billion dollar company. They threaten to ship jobs to India or China or Paducah, KY if you don't pay up! Then when receiving taxpayer dollars, they cannot even give some basic information so the one footing the bill (taxpayer) can see if they are getting what was promised? W T F?
The city buys the damn building for IBM and then leases it to them for $1 a year? Come one! Then the multi-billion dollar company claims they need state tax money to provide training for a few hundred employees? Oh yes, I have witnessed that swindle before, and am sick of it.
These companies have laid millions off over the last 15 years and then they bitch about the higher unemployment insurance rates and taxes they have to pay. They have a legitimate gripe about regulations, rates, and taxes for sure. But they are part of the problem because they are the first ones in line with their pig snouts in the trough when it comes to them being offered taxpayer dollars.
IBM is a big company that needs to get its start-upness back. A decade after its former CEO, Lou Gerstner — author of Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? — left in 2003, that elephant has lost its rhythm.
Big Blue is a $105 billion (2012 revenues) company but its top line is shrinking at a 3% rate while demand for its products and services – as measured by corporate IT budgets – is rising at 4.1% in 2013 to $3.8 trillion.
The reasons why IBM is shrinking in a growing market are complex. One is that IBM focuses on maintaining bragging rights to its 20 year streak as the world’s leading corporate producer of patents – that IBM’s Mike Fay said generate $1 billion in annual licensing fees – rather than turning those ideas into products that gain market share. ...
Scott Cook, Executive Chairman of Intuit, the personal finance software provider, created mechanisms and a methodology to make innovation part of everyone’s job. As I wrote in February 2012, Intuit created an “idea collaboration portal,” that allows employees to come up with new ideas, post them, get feedback from others at Intuit, revise the ideas, and get staffing—all without intervention from managers.
In this way, Intuit developed a debit card for people without bank accounts. An Intuit finance employee—not a “product person”—noticed that the people who need tax refund checks the most are often ones who don’t even have bank accounts.
She came up with the idea of giving those people debit cards and having Intuit accept the tax refunds in its accounts and transfer the funds to the debit card.
She expected 100 takers but got 1,000. And the surprise was that half the ones that wanted the debit card already had bank accounts.
IBM could learn from these examples — but thanks to its EPS Roadmap 2015 – a set of rigid goals designed to deliver $20 a share in earnings by 2015 — I am not expecting Big Blue to get back its dance moves.
It comes just a few months after the Seattle, Wash.-based retail turned cloud giant was reportedly (at the time) awarded a $600 million contract by the U.S. government. IBM, as the main rival in the cloud space, objected and filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which ultimately confirmed the bid was going ahead.
According to the latest from Federal Computer Weekly, the GAO was not entirely happy with the intelligence agency's deciding factors, and agreed that the CIA should take another look at the procurement process, which would give Big Blue another shot at winning the contract.
The contemporary, rectangular office building located at 7100 Highlands Parkway in suburban Smyrna, is 100% leased to IBM through December, 2017. Constructed in 1997, it is deemed an architectural landmark in the Northwest Atlanta submarket. The steel and glass structure has 26-foot domed sky-lit ceilings, a see-through reception lobby, vast open office space plan and the familiar blue and white IBM corporate color scheme.
"IBM Romania will receive 21 million euros to develop an information technology consultancy project in Bucharest and Brasov," the finance ministry said. Under Romanian law, state aid is given for large investments that create new jobs.
Cons: Bungee cord management, obvious use of "3" rankings to push out those with the most experience, due to their higher salaries and age. This became routine over the years, when we witnessed star performers get shoved out the door and we grappled with covering their responsibilities. Those of us left to pick up the pieces knew their performance was NOT weak.
Advice to Senior Management: Rather than treat your senior staff like chattel in order to meet your EPS, why not be honest, and give them an opportunity to take a reduction in pay for a period? Many would have opted to continue their career through the tough times, and you could have maintained the skills - IF you really wanted to maintain the skills. I'm beginning to think that is not really the plan, based on crowd sourcing, etc.
No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
Cons: -IBM is a big organization that makes you feel sometimes (very often...) like you are working for public services not an IT company. -Very slow and useless processes, with many teams involved, which can make the work very frustrating. If you want a job that makes a difference, where you can see effective results of your hard work, this is not a company for you! -IBM is very political, on all levels, so be ready to spend more time on networking, meetings and PowerPoint presentations, than doing your job. -Commissions: payment of commissions is very obscure and complicated process...it's made in way, that you never know how much you will get! It's like the lottery; you can get 100 Euros one quarter and 5000 Euros the next quarter, even if you have the same achievement! - Salary, they can at any time change the terms of your contract. Many people started with 70% base and 30% commission and ended up with new salary condition of 55% base salary and 45% commissions.
Cons: The processes are second to none in that you give up on trying to do anything because you can't figure out how and no one will tell you—because they've never been able to figure it out either. Seriously, it's easier to go buy your own office supplies/books/training because trying to order something through BOND (buy on demand) is a crusade.
Everything, and I mean everything is only done for "the business." Promotions are solely based on business need, not performance.
You can be (and I was) a top performer each year that you are employed there, but it gets you nothing, aside from a small "profit sharing" bonus. I got three raises in 2012, but they didn't add up to one half of one of the raises I received at my former company.
The more a company preaches work-life balance, the more out of whack the company is. And IBM preaches it. A lot. 40 hour work weeks are not the norm, at least within the Industry Solutions division. My three year experience was 50-hour standard work weeks (working through lunch on a daily basis) and upwards of 80-90 hour weeks several months of the year for special projects.
IBMs strategy of acquiring companies to broaden their portfolio of offerings is riddled with integration issues and their picking and choosing of who is retained and who is RA'd is seemingly random with no regard for level of skill.
The "it is what it is" attitude and getting texted by your boss at 11pm at night to get back online and work because their boss is online and expecting things to be done at 11pm is completely ridiculous.
Advice to Senior Management: None. It's all about the shareholder. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend.
There are numerous reasons — older workers have been hit both by the recession and globalization. They’re more likely to have been laid off from industries that are downsizing, and since their salaries tend to be higher than those of younger workers, they’re attractive targets if layoffs are needed. ...
Susan Sipprelle, producer of the Web site overfiftyandoutofwork.com and the documentary “Set for Life” about the older jobless, said she stopped posting articles like “Five Easy Steps to get a New Job.”
“People are so frustrated,” she said. “They don’t want to hear, ‘Get a new wardrobe, get on LinkedIn.’ ”
As one commenter on the Facebook page for Over Fifty and Out of Work said, “I’ve been told to redo my résumé twice now. The first ‘expert’ tells me to do it one way, the next ‘expert’ tells me to put it back the way I had it.” ...
But the reality is that the problem of the older unemployed “was acute during the Great Recession, and is now chronic,” Ms. Sipprelle said. “People’s lives have been upended by the great forces of history in a way that’s never happened before, and there’s no other example for older workers to look at. Some can’t recoup, though not through their own fault. They’re the wrong age at the wrong time. It’s cold comfort, but better than suggesting that if you just dye your hair, you’ll get that job.”
This is patently false, and spreading this falsehood has dangerous consequences.
Not only are the financial adjustments necessary to fix Social Security far easier to implement than what it’s going to take to rescue public sector pensions, but the sheer size of the public sector pension liability is actually bigger than the total liability for the entire Social Security fund. It is imperative that American voters understand this fact. ...
You can tweak the numbers all you like. Use medians instead of averages. Assume the public sector worker actually keeps working, on average, to age 60. Take into account disability payments, which are drawn from the Social Security fund. Assume people collect Social Security benefits before age 68. The stark fact remains: Our government pays more money to its own retirees – who represent 20% of the active workforce – than it pays in Social Security retirement benefits to everybody else put together. Financing Social Security, forever, can be accomplished with relatively minor incremental adjustments to withholding and benefits. ...
Dorfman’s final insult is to suggest 401K funds provide a more secure retirement than defined benefits. Sure, if you are a fund manager collecting commissions on individual 401K accounts, regardless of their volatility. ...
The reality is that defined benefits are always preferable to 401K accounts because they greatly reduce market risk and they virtually eliminate mortality risk – i.e., in a pooled fund you don’t have to hope you die before your money runs out.
One of the largest barriers to early retirement is health coverage. Indeed, before ACA, purchasing individual coverage could be very expensive and significantly limit coverage for any preexisting conditions. Under ACA, the coverage is less expensive because of the inclusion of a large pool of younger workers and the requirement that the highest premium in an exchange plan cannot be greater than three times the lowest premium.
Workforce planning may be more critical than ever under ACA:
The Republicans want it killed, period, and are willing to sabotage everything to get that. They want this because it will help people and therefore will be popular. They offer no alternative plan and do not care about all of these people who will be helped. In fact, they complain that so many new people will have access to health care that it could cause a shortage of doctors!
They want the health care act killed because it helps people, which they fear could lead people to support Democrats and government in general.
This is why the wary proponents of health care reform get optimistic when they see a state like New York, California and Maryland release rates for its health insurance exchange that are lower than experts expected. These already discounted rates don't even factor in the subsidies that, in Maryland, for instance, an estimated 75 percent of state residents will get.
In order to stomp on this good news before it begins to spread, conservatives are actually arguing that middle- class Americans should reject these tax breaks.
FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, a conservative issue group financed by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, known for funding conservative causes, are planning separate media and grassroots campaigns aimed at adults in their 20s and 30s - the very people Obama needs to have sign up for healthcare coverage in new online insurance exchanges if his reforms are to succeed.
"We're trying to make it socially acceptable to skip the exchange," said Dean Clancy, vice president for public policy at FreedomWorks, which boasts 6 million supporters. The group is designing a symbolic "Obamacare card" that college students can burn during campus protests. ...
"On Jan. 1, the exchanges kick in and the subsidies kick in," Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said Saturday at the Western Conservative Summit. "Once those kick in, it's going to prove almost impossible to undo Obamacare. The administration's plan is very simple: Get everyone addicted to the sugar so that Obamacare remains a permanent feature of our society." ...
Republican promises to "Lower your tax burden!" and "Increase your take-home pay!" suddenly become "Get everyone addicted to the sugar!" when tax breaks help middle-class Americans pay for health insurance.
This is why today's Republicans can't admit the real reason why they oppose Obamacare: The middle-class tax breaks in Obamacare are paid for almost entirely by taxes on the richest 2 percent of Americans and corporations.
Obamacare's subsidies are like another government program that subsidizes working families, which Republicans conceived and used to support: the earned income tax credit. But today's GOP is funded by billionaires who are jealous of the people on food stamps, and millionaires who get massive tax breaks and rant against the 47 percent of Americans who "don't pay income taxes."
The Bush tax cuts were sold as a tax cut for all Americans. But while a middle-class family could take their tax break and buy a new hood for their car at a salvage yard, the richest Americans could buy a new factory with their breaks. And the worst part is they didn't buy or build a factory, they kept their money or sent it overseas.
Friedman says his analysis shows that a nonprofit single-payer system based on the principles of the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, H.R. 676 (PDF), introduced by Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., and co-sponsored by 45 other lawmakers, would save an estimated $592 billion in 2014. That would be more than enough to cover all 44 million people the government estimates will be uninsured in that year and to upgrade benefits for everyone else. ...
Friedman said the savings would come from slashing the administrative waste associated with today’s private health insurance industry ($476 billion) and using the new, public system’s bargaining muscle to negotiate pharmaceutical drug prices down to European levels ($116 billion).
“These savings would be more than enough to fund $343 billion in improvements to our health system, including the achievement of truly universal coverage, improved benefits, and the elimination of premiums, co-payments and deductibles, which are major barriers to people seeking care,” he said. ...
Friedman said the plan would be funded by maintaining current federal revenues for health care and imposing new, modest tax increases on very high income earners. It would also be funded by a small increase in payroll taxes on employers, who would no longer pay health insurance premiums, and a new, very small tax on stock and bond transactions.
“Such a financing scheme would vastly simplify how the nation pays for care, restore free choice of physician, guarantee all necessary medical care, improve patient health and, because it would be financed by a program of progressive taxation, result in 95 percent of all U.S. households saving money,” Friedman said.
Chief among them: Some patients may have a difficult time seeing their current doctors under the new plans.
Consumer advocates have anticipated that the ACA will be a big help to boomers who are looking to retire early or set out their own shingle, since they’ll no longer be tethered to their job for the health benefits. Between 500,000 and 900,000 Americans could choose to stop working or retire early, based on their new options for insurance outside their job, according to a new study by researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Another report, released this spring by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, estimated that the number of self-employed Americans will grow by 1.5 million in 2014 because access to high-quality, subsidized health insurance coverage will no longer be exclusively tied to employment.
Yet prospective early retirees or freelancers shouldn’t assume that plans on the state-level marketplaces will offer them the same doctor choices that their employer-provided insurance does. “You really need to pay attention to the network,” said Sara Rosenbaum, law professor at the George Washington University who has closely tracked the health-care law’s rollout. Economic forces behind the new insurance exchanges are putting pressure on insurers to keep prices low, and one of their main ways to accomplish that, given the law’s requirements, is to offer fewer doctor options. And while healthy 20-somethings might be happy to accept limited choice in exchange for lower premiums, that trade-off might not look as attractive to boomers who’d rather not, say, find another cardiologist. ...
Many of the health care law’s new requirements could prove a boon to boomers on the individual market. Starting next year, insurers will no longer be able to deny sick people coverage or charge ill consumers more. Today, this practice, known as medical underwriting, is allowed in all but a handful of states. It’s the main reason behind the phenomenon known as “job lock,” whereby workers stay in unsatisfying jobs because they’d be unable to secure affordable coverage—or any coverage at all—on the individual market. What’s more, under the Affordable Care Act, all plans everywhere on the insurance market must offer a host of essential health benefits, from emergency care to hospitalization to mental health care. ...
For now, consumers must prepare to do their homework and look beyond premium prices when making their plan selection. Within each of the four metallic coverage tiers—platinum, gold, silver and bronze—the least expensive plans will likely have the narrowest networks, Rosenbaum said. Consumers looking for the broadest networks will likely find them in the two highest tiers, gold and platinum, which will cover more of consumers’ out-of-pocket costs in exchange for higher premiums, she noted. It’s important to look not just for your own doctors, but also for specialists available in the event of a devastating diagnosis, experts say. For example, if there’s a history of cancer in your family, it would be good to know that your network includes top oncologists in your area.
“We’re still hearing from patients who were in the program and were unable to locate a provider or schedule services in a timely manner,” she said. The exclusion of Planned Parenthood requires many women to travel farther to find an available provider, she said, and to make "tough decisions about paying out of pocket for care or simply putting off vital care that could potentially save lives."
Consumers are understandably confused after weeks of conflicting pronouncements about the expected cost of plans, for individuals and small groups, to be sold in new online insurance marketplaces under the federal health law beginning Oct. 1.
New York regulators said average premiums on those plans will be half of what they cost now, while Indiana warned of an average 72 percent increase. Florida’s insurance officials projected 30 to 40 rate increases, while the White House trumpeted a report saying that rates in 10 states and the District of Columbia will average 18 percent less than forecast.
How is a consumer to make sense of this? For starters, state rates vary considerably because state regulations differ, although that is expected to lessen under the health law. But a bigger factor is that state officials who have opposed the health law are inclined to compare measures that show a big increase, while those in favor are inclined to do the opposite. ...
Most policy analysts concur that average premiums will go up for younger, healthier people – and that they will get better benefits than they do now – but that rates may fall for older or sicker Americans, as new rules go into effect Jan. 1. Increases may be offset for many of those buying coverage through tax credits available to people with low and moderate incomes.
And although people in some counties will have limited choices, as they do now, in most counties the 31 new plans available from four companies will offer a wide range of premiums and cost-sharing options. ...
Not all companies that applied to sell new individual insurance plans inside Washington’s online exchange marketplace will be able to do so, Kreidler said. Five of the nine companies that applied were turned down because they weren’t able to guarantee access to doctors and hospitals, the insurance office said. ...
For many people, the premium is what counts, and coverage limits aren’t always apparent — at least while they’re healthy. Many people who have bought individual plans in the past don’t realize the extent of coverage gaps, Kreidler said. “Your financial exposure could be huge,” he said. “None of us is immune to bad luck, cancer or being in a major accident.” ...
The insurance office estimates that about 477,400 people in Washington will qualify for subsidies, and the state’s target for enrollment is about 130,000 people by Jan. 1.
"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.
"Too-big-to-fail" always came with genuine incentives to cheat, lie and steal. Once you reached that size those in charge also became too-big-to-jail.
Have you ever wondered how your behavior would change if you knew you were pretty much untouchable? It's gotta be a real rush once it sinks in, especially so if you spend most of your waking hours up to your gonads wading through billions upon billions upon billions of dollars of other folks' money. ...
It's the Ground Hog Day of economics. It happens and happens and will keep happening... until we get over our queasiness about sending folks in business suits to the slammer -- a real slammer.
I've been writing it and saying it for two decades now; the fastest, cheapest and most effective way to stem the ever-rising tide of banking and securities fraud is to jail the guys and gals at the top. ...
But they don't do it. Those business world guys and gals look just way too much like them. They wear suits, not hoodies. They trim their hair, no dreads. They drive nice cars, or have people who drive for them -- no low-riders, no rifle racks. Their children go to private schools, not failing inner-city public schools.
In short, banking and Wall St. crooks just don't fit the prison profile. And hey, they have standards. Even on the rare occasions when one of them actually gets convicted, they are not sent to Sing Sing, but to some minimum security (minimum inconveniences) prison "camp." There they can catch up on some reading and sleep unworried they will awake in the middle of the night to a hulking cellmate climbing in their bunk for a non-concentual "snuggle."
Five years after inflated credit ratings helped touch off the financial crisis, the nation’s largest ratings agency, Standard & Poor’s, is winning business again by offering more favorable ratings.
S.& P. has been giving higher grades than its big rivals to certain mortgage-backed securities just as Wall Street is eagerly trying to revive the market for these investments, according to an analysis conducted for The New York Times by Commercial Mortgage Alert, which collects data on the industry. S.& P.’s chase for business is notable because it is fighting a government lawsuit accusing it of similar action before the financial crisis.
As the company battles those accusations, industry participants say it has once again been moving to capture business by offering Wall Street underwriters higher ratings than other agencies will offer. And it has apparently worked. Banks have shown a new willingness to hire S.& P. to rate their bonds, tripling its market share in the first half of 2013. Its biggest rivals have been much less likely to give higher ratings. ...
Along with its chief rivals — Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch — S.& P. was criticized for offering top-flight ratings to subprime mortgage securities, which made those bonds appear more attractive to investors before the crisis. The agencies had an incentive to offer higher ratings because banks choose which ratings agency grades each bond. The flaws in the system became apparent when many bonds with the highest ratings ended up plunging in value, inflicting enormous damage on the economy.
The Associated Press published e-mails this week suggesting Mr. Bennett tweaked a new A-F grading system in Indiana to favor a charter school run by a major Republican donor – giving it an A instead of the initial C. Bennett said in a press conference that the accusation was “malicious and unfounded” and that he hoped there would be an investigation, but that he was resigning to avoid distraction to Gov. Rick Scott’s education reform efforts in Florida. ...
In one of Bennett’s e-mails last fall that was revealed this week, he wrote to his chief of staff after learning about Christel House charter school being likely to receive a bad grade: “This will be a HUGE problem for us…. They need to understand that anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work.”
Yet there are not one but two sexist campaigns under way against Ms. Yellen. One is a whisper campaign whose sexism is implicit, while the other involves raw misogyny. And both campaigns manage to combine sexism with very bad economic analysis.
Let’s start with the more extreme, open campaign. Last week, The New York Sun published an editorial attacking Ms. Yellen titled “The Female Dollar.” The editorial took it for granted that the Fed has been following disastrously inflationary monetary policies for years, even though actual inflation is at a 50-year low. And it warned that things would get even worse if the dollar were to become merely “gender-backed.” I am not making this up. ...
The other campaign against Ms. Yellen has been subtler, involving repeated suggestions — almost always off the record — that she lacks the “gravitas” to lead the Fed. What does that mean? Well, suppose we were talking about a man with Ms. Yellen’s credentials: distinguished academic work, leader of the Council of Economic Advisers, six years as president of the San Francisco Fed, a record of working effectively with colleagues at the Board of Governors. Would anyone suggest that a man with those credentials was somehow unqualified for office?
Sorry, but it’s hard to escape the conclusion that gravitas, in this context, mainly means possessing a Y chromosome. ...
This has been obviously true in the case of budget policy, where the Serious People hijacked the national conversation, shifting it away from job creation to deficits, on the grounds that we were facing an imminent fiscal crisis — which somehow keeps not coming.
But it has also been true for monetary policy. The Wall Street Journal (news department, not editorial) recently surveyed the forecasting records of top policy makers at the Fed, whom it divided into “hawks” (officials who keep warning that the Fed is doing too much to fight unemployment) and “doves” (who warn that it’s doing too little). It found that the doves made consistently better forecasts, with the best forecaster of all being the most prominent of the doves — Janet Yellen.
Corporate and academic economists say that Washington’s fiscal fights have produced budget policies that amount to a self-inflicted drag on the economy’s recovery.
Joseph J. Minarik, director of research at the corporate-supported Committee for Economic Development and a former government economist, said he could not remember in postwar times when fiscal policy was so at odds with the needs of the economy.
“The macroeconomic situation is highly unusual,” he said, adding: “We have to be concerned about our debt getting totally out of hand, so we are concerned about the federal budget. But the concern has got to be tempered by the fact that we have got to get some economic growth going as well.” ...
“The disjunction between textbook economics and the choices being made in Washington is larger than any I’ve seen in my lifetime,” said Justin Wolfers, an economics professor at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. “At a time of mass unemployment, it’s clear, the economics textbooks tell us, that this is not the right time for fiscal retrenchment.”
Even worse. As of yesterday, the House and Senate had passed just 26 bills for President Obama to sign into law. Once again, most of the legislation is small potatoes. There are a couple of tweaks to existing laws, and a handful of bills that merely renew existing laws. A Coast Guard building got renamed, as did a Missouri bridge and a New Hampshire air-traffic control facility. Also, by law the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., can print special coins for its 75th anniversary. Whew, exhausting. No wonder they need five weeks off.
When they return in the fall it looks like they will try to divert attention from their failure to come up with specific cuts by passing something that Democrats cannot accept and the President will veto, then shut the government down and try to blame Democrats. Senate Republicans moved that ball down the road by filibustering the Senate version of the THUD bill. The country is left without a budget and the Congress goes home.
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.