IBM lobbied Congress hard to pass a law letting it share personal data of customers in China and elsewhere with the U.S. National Security Agency in a bid to protect its intellectual property rights, according to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
The plaintiff in the complaint, Louisiana Sheriffs' Pension & Relief Fund, said this threatened IBM hardware sales in China, particularly given a program known as Prism that let the NSA spy on that country through technology companies such as IBM. ...
The lawsuit names IBM, Chief Executive Virginia Rometty and Chief Financial Officer Mark Loughridge as defendants, and says they should be held liable for the company's failure to reveal sooner the risks of its lobbying and its NSA ties.
"These allegations are ludicrous and irresponsible and IBM will vigorously defend itself in court," IBM spokesman Doug Shelton said in an e-mail.
Which analytics and BI products are you using, planning to use, or evaluating? We've put this question to survey respondents every year, so we can track changes over time. The biggest gainer in current or planned use compared to last year's results was Tableau Software while the biggest slides were seen by Actuate, IBM Cognos, and MicroStrategy. ...
The most notable decreases in current and planned use from the 2013 to 2014 survey were tied to Actuate (down 8 points to 6% reporting current or planned use), IBM Cognos (down 7 points to 26% reporting current or planned use), and MicroStrategy (down 5 points to 9% current or planned use).
In my honest opinion, it meant all well and good, but it was too encompassing and ponderous to come to complete fruition. ...
The constant inane cost cutting and RAs certainly couldn't have helped any Blue Harmony for IBM.
Advice to Senior Management:
Cons: Employee morale is as bad as I've seen it. Barring (very) occasional chats with one's immediate supervisor(s), an IBM employee basically stands alone within the organization. There is little or no assistance available to find clients or work placement. There is little or no assistance to meet revenue/utilization targets. There is little or no budget for tools or training. There is little or no 'human element' whatsoever as higher-management has become laser-focused on short-term financial results to the exclusion of all else.
These 'isolated-by-myself' factors have combined with the '400,000 employee size' dynamics to yield some strange cultural behaviors. Bureaucracy, of course, is rampant; IBM boasts an unending series of you-must-go-to-this-webpage and you-must-fill-out-this-form and you-must-get-this-manager's-approval obstacles, all of which are frustrating, some of which are impassable. It is also possible to 'out-of-sight out-of-mind' yourself into unemployment, if you're not careful (must stay visible, must initiate communications and work-placement(s) so others don't forget your name/face).
Thirdly, and worst, a distasteful herd-of-sheep mentality has manifested: a sort of I'll-keep-my-head-down, I'll-do-the-absolute-minimum, I'll-stay-two-steps-up-from-the-bottom reaction, in the hopes that "it's a big company, they'll find someone else to fire" or "I don't have to outrun the bear, I only have to outrun the slowest member of the pack so the bear will eat him/her instead." To follow my Quint-and-the-USS-Indianapolis title above, employees are waiting while the sharks circle, never knowing when the next sailor will be bitten, never knowing if/when they will be rescued (or outsourced), no longer holding their heads up high, no longer daring to hope. I fear THIS will eventually kill IBM as we know it today.
Advice to Senior Management: The current 'vision' seems to be a futuristic, mechanized, globally-distributed IBM, drawing cheapest resources and lowest tax implications from multiple regions simultaneously, with no cumbersome face-to-face overhead and no personal element in any one location. This model needs to be fundamentally re-examined. A "what we wanted" versus "what we actually got" evaluation will probably reveal wide divergence from this goal-state.
You must (MUST) throttle back (even if only slightly) on momentary financial success, and re-invest in the culture/workforce. This action clearly jars against executive/shareholder expectations, but there's simply no way around it. To continue down this (current) path will yield a downward spiral with shrinking revenues (already spanning 7+ fiscal quarters), discontent customer breaches/lawsuits, mass talent attrition, and progressively tarnished brand/reputation. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
Cons: There is a huge difference in the workforce from those companies that IBM has acquired to those who've joined themselves. One group has an idea of how the real world works, the other doesn't.
The place is full of people who don't care about their careers/technology/customers and are just there to count the days until they get their pension.
I would say avoid this company at all costs especially if you're young/graduate as you will develop the wrong attitude to work.
Advice to Senior Management: Listen to your customers and employees. When they tell you something is wrong don't just bury your head in the sand; take some ownership and do something about it. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
Cons: Very senior management more interested in driving stock price up for their own personal gain than growing a company which the staff and clients will admire. Many of their worldwide studies are based on bogus data that they create to convince the world they are the best and on top of the trends. If you compare it to others studies of the same companies, leaders, industries, etc. it does not match or even come close.
Advice to Senior Management: Be honest, be interested in the staff and be competitive. It's hard to make the "riches" you want from your stock options if you drive down the stock price and drive out the employees. You will be sitting in plush offices for a much shorter time with a smaller company, lower revenue and retained earnings, and people to do the work. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
Cons: 1st line management does not care much about employees; senior execs look just at stock valuation; continuous layoff threats (resource action); hardware business uncertain how to continue ---> strategy? New acquisitions don't work well outside of USA. Initiatives at personal level are usually turned down. In European countries, IBM just tries to fulfill minimum legal and tax requirements.
Advice to Senior Management: Look for your talent otherwise you will stick around with the "leftovers". Shareholder value is important, but not the only goal for a prosperous, long term corporation. Live what you talk in marketing (read your Kenexa marketing material and also show that you take it as it is written). No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
Then, there’s also protected leave, which essentially allows new parents to be away from their job to care for their baby, without fear of losing that job. Along with Mexico, the U.S. offers the smallest amount of leave protection related to the birth of a child among these 38 countries—12 weeks. In the U.S., this is a result of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which was enacted in 1993, and guarantees job security for those who have been employed for at least a year, and who work for an organization with 50 or more employees.
The climate is crashing, the NSA is tracking our porn, and the 99% haven’t gotten a raise in decades, but the party organ of America’s ruling class is truly, awfully worried about our imminent STEMlessness. A lot.
“The number of students who want to pursue engineering or computer science jobs is actually falling, precipitously, at just the moment when the need for those workers is soaring,” writes The Editorial Board of The New York Times, which is composed of editors no one has heard of, yet whose opinions we are all supposed to care about. “Within five years, there will be 2.4 million STEM job openings,” write The Editors. ...
STEM employment is sporadic (they say “cyclical”). What’s the point of playing it safe when it’s not, well, safe? The STEM major you pick as a freshman may easily be obsolete by the time you hit the senior year job fair. Even if not, it’s extremely unlikely your chosen scientific field will provide steady employment for years to come. Currently, as the Powers That Be say they need STEMmers, unemployment is sky high among STEM professionals. As of 2009, nearly 9% of electrical engineers were jobless. Oh, and it turns out that STEM majors actually don’t earn more than their liberal arts counterparts.
“Indeed, science and engineering careers in the U.S. appear to be relatively unattractive” compared with other career paths, Michael Teitelbaum of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in New York, which funds basic scientific, economic and civic research, testified to Congress in 2007.
High-school students know what’s up. They hear from older siblings how hard it is to graduate from engineering school. They watch their friends’ parents lose their jobs from supposedly “safe” STEM outfits. They’re not going to change their minds until reality improves. ...
If America wants STEM majors from America, it ought to stop importing them from overseas. “When the companies say they can’t hire anyone [for STEM jobs], they mean that they can’t hire anyone at the wage they want to pay,” Jennifer Hunt, a Rutgers University labor economist, said in 2012. So they outsource STEM jobs overseas and game the work visa program to import cheaper foreign scientists. “Tech companies that import temporary workers, mainly recent graduates from India, commonly discard more expensive, experienced employees in their late 30s or early 40s, often forcing them, as Ron Hira and other labor-force researchers note, to train their replacements as they exit,” reports the Columbia Journalism Review. Until STEM unemployment among Americans is 0%, Congress ought to get rid of the visa program. ...
Math and science aren’t boring. But asking people to dedicate their lives to careers that won’t pay off is dumb.
Mitch McConnell recently derided the notion that Obamacare is a success by characterizing beneficiaries as “people signing up for something that is free.” Reinhard notes that this line “carries an unmistakable undertone of class warfare, a theme easy to exploit in states such as Kentucky, packed with low-income white voters who have a strong distaste for the federal government.” ...
The class warfare attacks on Obamacare will continue. Indeed, as Brian Beutler has spelled out, stoking class warfare and resentment are central to other attacks on the law, too, such as the one pitting the young and healthy versus the old and sick. In Reinhard’s piece, you can see variations of this one in Kentucky, too. ...
Kentucky may prove to be an interesting testing ground for a Democratic balancing act like this. That’s because enrollment has been a success, and many beneficiaries are poor and rural, the very targets for the “class warfare” attacks. Dem governor Steve Beshear is one of the most aggressive advocates for the law in the south, arguing that Dems should run on ”affordable health care” and on the idea that Republicans want to take it away from people.
For policies offered in the federal exchange, as in many states, the annual deductible often tops $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a couple.
Insurers devised the new policies on the assumption that consumers would pick a plan based mainly on price, as reflected in the premium. But insurance plans with lower premiums generally have higher deductibles.
In El Paso, Tex., for example, for a husband and wife both age 35, one of the cheapest plans on the federal exchange, offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield, has a premium less than $300 a month, but the annual deductible is more than $12,000. For a 45-year-old couple seeking insurance on the federal exchange in Saginaw, Mich., a policy with a premium of $515 a month has a deductible of $10,000. ...
By contrast, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average deductible in employer-sponsored health plans is $1,135.
“Deductibles for many plans in the insurance exchanges are pretty high,” said Stan Dorn, a health policy expert at the Urban Institute. “These plans are more generous than what’s prevalent in the current individual insurance market, but significantly less generous than most employer-sponsored insurance.” ...
Those limits provide significant protection, even though those sums are substantial for most consumers. In addition, the federal website, HealthCare.gov, informs people that they may qualify for subsidies to reduce their out-of-pocket costs if their household income is below 250 percent of the federal poverty level, meaning that it is less than $28,725 for an individual or $48,825 for a family of three. ...
At the same time, most policies in the exchanges are more generous than what people have been buying for themselves in the individual insurance market. Mr. Gabel found that 84 percent of policyholders in the individual market had coverage that was less than or equivalent to the bronze level. ...
Higher deductibles are one tool that insurers can use to hold down premiums. Many have also held down premiums on the exchanges by limiting the choices of doctors and hospitals available to consumers in their provider networks. ...
“My deductible is nearly $3,000, which is ridiculously high, in my opinion,” Ms. Norris said. “But as someone with pre-existing conditions, I’m grateful to be able to buy insurance at all.”
But if anything, the fact that Members of Congress are now having an unpleasant brush with the American health care system is a good thing. These Members are experiencing the same American health care system that the uninsured and people with preexisting conditions have been experiencing for many years. They are being forced to face the fact that American health care costs a lot, which, of course, is one of the reasons reform is so hard.
The health care system is already deeply unjust. A good article in the New York Times sheds light on this, and on how Obamacare is changing things for the better:
More than 243,000 have signed up for private coverage through the exchanges…and more than 567,000 have been determined eligible for Medicaid…For many, particularly people with existing medical conditions… the coverage is proving less expensive than what they had. Many others are getting health insurance for the first time in years, giving them alternatives to seeking care through free clinics or emergency rooms — or putting it off indefinitely.
Kevin Drum adds a related note about how hospitals routinely gouge uninsured people for everything they’ve got:
A heart attack that gets billed—profitably!—to Blue Cross at $50,000, can end up costing you $200,000 if you’re unlucky enough to suffer that heart attack while you’re uninsured. Think about that: for decades, the health care industry has deliberately taken ruthless advantage of the very people who are the weakest and most vulnerable—those who are poor or unemployed… It’s shameless and obscene. It’s like kicking a beggar and stealing his coat just because you know the cops will never do anything about it.
Obamacare, by slowing bringing everyone into the insurance system, will eventually stop this. Compare that to Rep. Michael McCaul (who with at least $114 million is the second-richest member of congress) complaining that the new plans on the DC health exchange are expensive.
This sort of experience is unvarnished good news. Finally, wealthy members of congress are getting a tiny, tiny taste of how the healthcare sector actually works. Five decades of skyrocketing health price inflation didn’t inspire so much as a peep when Republicans held all three branches of government. But now that Republicans have derped themselves onto the exchanges, they’re shocked, shocked at how expensive things have gotten.
All of this led him and a new partner, Daniel Yadegar, a cardiologist and specialist in integrative and anti-aging medicine, educated at Harvard and Cornell, to embark on a whole new kind of practice, one in which patients — and there will be no more than 400 — will pay $25,000 a year for unfettered access to the doctors. Patients will be able to call and see and text the doctors whenever they want; they will be able to receive home visits, though those will cost extra (and so will lab work). They will be able to ask their doctors to travel to them should they suspect the onset of illness in June in Umbria. Various young Internet moguls have already expressed interest in becoming patients of the practice, which will start next month, Dr. Goldberg said. ...
In New York it is impossible not to notice that the wealthy will pay dearly for things, and they will pay especially high sums for those things they believe other wealthy people don’t have. Similarly it is hard not to notice the alienation felt by those in the highly educated professional class who have been forced to concede so much of their status to friends and acquaintances who have elected to make 200 times as much money on Wall Street, providing one one-hundredth the social utility. The arrival of a kind of Goldman Sachs of family practices was in some sense inevitable.
Now, a new study shows the health of residents in that one trailblazing state improved measurably, especially among the poor and near-poor, in just the first five years -- compared with the health of residents in neighboring states. So did the use of some preventive care, specifically two tests designed to spot colon and cervical cancers early, and cholesterol tests to gauge heart disease risk. The study was led by a University of Michigan Medical School researcher.
Meanwhile, over those same five years, Massachusetts residents were increasingly likely to say they had health insurance and access to a personal doctor, and less likely to say that costs stood in the way of getting care, than other New Englanders. The changes occurred at similar rates for black, white and Hispanic residents.
Sanders supported the Affordable Care Act, but in an interview with The Daily Beast he called the health care law passed in 2010 “only a modest step forward toward dealing with the dysfunction of the American health-care system.” Even under the new law, Sanders added, insurance companies, drug companies and medical equipment suppliers will be able to rake off billions of dollars in profits rather than devoting those resources to providing health care. ...
"The United States is the only major nation in the industrialized world that does not guarantee health care as a right to its people," Sanders said. "Meanwhile, we spend about twice as much per capita on health care with worse results than other countries that spend far less. It is time that we bring about a fundamental transformation of the American health care system. It is time for us to end private, for-profit participation in delivering basic coverage. It is time for the United States to provide a Medicare-for-all single-payer health coverage program," Sanders said.
Health insurance is not an end in itself. Insurance is meant to help people get needed health care at prices they can afford and, in the event of serious injury or accident, to protect them from catastrophic medical bills. For the past decade, sharply escalating health care costs have posed a substantial burden for Americans. Between 2001 and 2010, the share of working-age adults with medical expenses totaling 10 percent or more of income increased from 21 percent to 32 percent. According to recent RAND research, family incomes would have risen much more over the past decade had employers not faced steeply rising health care costs.
As the new exchanges open for enrollment, data on the cost of coverage have begun to emerge, but we still lack reliable estimates of how the new law will affect spending on health care by those who gain or switch coverage because of the law and of the impact these changes will have on the risk of catastrophic medical spending, a factor that contributes to half of all bankruptcies in the United States. ...
Conclusion: Ultimately, whether the ACA will make health care affordable requires a value judgment. For most lower-income individuals, total spending will fall as a result of the coverage they obtain under the ACA. However, for some higher-income people who become newly insured through the individual market (especially those not eligible for federal subsidies), total spending will increase because they now must pay health insurance premiums for the first time. However, their premiums will buy them the benefits associated with health coverage, such as access to free preventive care and regular wellness visits, and will also better protect them from catastrophic medical costs.
"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.
Now, the G.O.P.’s desire to punish the unemployed doesn’t arise solely from bad economics; it’s part of a general pattern of afflicting the afflicted while comforting the comfortable (no to food stamps, yes to farm subsidies). But ideas do matter — as John Maynard Keynes famously wrote, they are “dangerous for good or evil.” And the case of unemployment benefits is an especially clear example of superficially plausible but wrong economic ideas being dangerous for evil. ...
Correspondingly, the G.O.P. answer to the problem of long-term unemployment is to increase the pain of the long-term unemployed: Cut off their benefits, and they’ll go out and find jobs. How, exactly, will they find jobs when there are three times as many job-seekers as job vacancies? Details, details. ...
The view of most labor economists now is that unemployment benefits have only a modest negative effect on job search — and in today’s economy have no negative effect at all on overall employment. On the contrary, unemployment benefits help create jobs, and cutting those benefits would depress the economy as a whole. ...
The point is that employment in today’s American economy is limited by demand, not supply. Businesses aren’t failing to hire because they can’t find willing workers; they’re failing to hire because they can’t find enough customers. And slashing unemployment benefits — which would have the side effect of reducing incomes and hence consumer spending — would just make the situation worse.
The Bush and Obama administrations loaned the auto industry, including GM and Chrysler, which is now controlled by Italy's Fiat, $80 billion to avoid the collapse of the industry that they felt would result in the loss of millions of U.S. jobs.
Critics of the bailout at the time had argued the companies should be allowed to fail and the industry that resulted from the aftermath would be stronger. Treasury officials have repeatedly said the bailout was not an investment meant to turn a profit, but a move to save U.S. jobs. ...
"This peacetime intervention in the private sector by the U.S. government will be viewed as one of the most successful interventions in U.S. economic history," said McAlinden, who wrote the study along with Debra Maranger Menk. ...
CAR estimated that a complete shutdown of the industry that was bailed out in 2009 would have resulted in the loss of 2.63 million jobs and those losses would still have stood at more than 1.5 million in 2010. If only GM had been shut down, the job losses would have been almost 1.2 million in 2009, shrinking to 675,000 in 2010.
While U.S. Treasury's final loss on the bailout is estimated at $13.7 billion including $11.8 billion related to its investment in GM, it avoided the loss of $105.3 billion in unemployment benefit payments and the loss of personal and social insurance tax collections, according to CAR.
“There are a lot of people on food stamps who shouldn’t be,” Mr. Bond said in a recent interview at the Yazoo Country Club. “They could be working, but don’t.”
Attitudes like that anger Monica Stokes, who works as a clerk at a local check-cashing store and has been cut off from $167 a month in food stamps because her income rose slightly. ...
Since 1995, farms in Humphreys County have received about $250 million in subsidies, which puts Humphreys close to the middle in a list of counties that get the payments. At the same time, nearly half of the county’s 9,100 residents receive food stamps, one of the highest rates in the nation.
As a result, Humphreys has one of the greatest disparities between the poor, who face food stamp cuts under proposals in the new farm bill, and farmers, who stand to gain more in subsidies.
But if Republicans arguably lost this round, the unemployed lost even more: Extended benefits weren’t renewed, so 1.3 million workers will be cut off at the end of this month, and many more will see their benefits run out in the months that follow. And if you take a longer perspective — if you look at what has happened since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in 2010 — what you see is a triumph of anti-government ideology that has had enormously destructive effects on American workers.
One of the truly remarkable things about American political discourse at the end of 2013 is the fixed conviction among many conservatives that the Obama era has been one of enormous growth in government. Where do they think this surge in government spending has taken place? ...
Meanwhile, the actual numbers show that over the past three years we’ve been living through an era of unprecedented government downsizing. Government employment is down sharply; so is total government spending (including state and local governments) adjusted for inflation, which has fallen almost 3 percent since 2010 and around 5 percent per capita.
And when I say unprecedented, I mean just that. We haven’t seen anything like the recent government cutbacks since the 1950s, and probably since the demobilization that followed World War II.
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