In a five-page letter sent to IBM CEO Virginia Rometty on December 13 and made public by the governor's office on Friday, Dayton detailed 21 specific problems tied to IBM's Curam software. "Your product has not delivered promised functionality and has seriously hindered Minnesotans' abilities to purchase health insurance or apply for public health care programs through MNsure," Dayton wrote. "I request that you immediately deploy whatever people or resources are needed to correct the defects in your product that are preventing Minnesotans from obtaining health insurance through MNsure." ...
"IBM is just one of several subcontractors working on this project," said IBM spokesperson Mary Welder in a statement. "The prime contractor, Maximus, Inc., has overall responsibility for the MNsure system including integration and testing of all the components prior to October 1." ...
IBM has been involved in a number of troubled government projects in recent years, including a welfare administration system overhaul that failed in Indiana in 2009, a health department payroll system project gone bad in Queensland, Australia, in 2010, and an unemployment compensation system abandoned by Pennsylvania in 2013.
"The (two) consortia are very bullish," a senior industry executive said. They have accepted the terms of support outlined by the government of India, and they will now work on detailed project reports, which could take as much as six months to be ready for submission, the executive said. ...
Typically, setting up a chip foundry costs around $4-5 billion (Rs 24,800-31,000 crore). "The idea was, with the incentives firmed up, could we push the fence-sitters off the fence, but that didn't happen," the industry executive said. The deadline to submit initial plans in the fab under a separate call for expressions of interest ran out in November, and there have been no new viable plans submitted other than the two the government had already approved in-principle.
Pros: broad technological background; lots of opportunities along various permeable career paths; company has been in business as a reliable partner for a long time, hence a lot of bigger deals are only in existence due to the company's ability to perform and to living up to the expectations of a trusted long-term client relationship; it is easy to be involved and contribute to as well as personally grow with huge deals, that other companies never would be able to execute.
Cons: strategically moving away from a technology company to a 'high margin service' (aka consulting) company in favor of shareholder value, despite not being able to cope with the change culturally and not providing a clear vision; laying off highly skilled technological specialists to substitute with lower skill, high margin consulting jobs; at the same time not consequently aiming for top consulting personalities for new hires (the company is literally bleeding out on skilled workers); work-life balance with a strong tendency to working overtime where the salary is not at all high enough to compensate for this lifestyle and no alternative compensation is in place.
Advice to Senior Management: focus on core competencies; develop a clear strategic vision, communicate and act upon it; be consequent regarding the strategic vision across all hierarchical levels No, I would not recommend this company to a friend.
Pros: The people at IBM are far and away the best attribute of the company. Knowledgeable and friendly, there is always someone willing to help you which is especially important during your first 6 months with the organisation. The products are solid if not spectacular and, of course, the company has a reputation which is the envy of the industry.
Cons: The on-boarding process is appalling. IBM is populated with people who have been here for so long that they are unaware of how hard the company is to engage with as a new recruit. Internal systems are not good. The worst example is the customer record management. For a company that has been trading as long as IBM the view of the customer base is almost non existent. This means that a new representative does not have a single place to go to for analysis of his/her customer base. Customer code alignment is a lottery and this plays havoc with getting paid for closed deals. There is very little by way of team meetings and socialisation so it can feel like a very lonely place if you are not based at the head office in the UK.
Advice to Senior Management: Provide the local management with the tools to do a better job of onboarding new employees. This means focussing on each territory to determine the brand statistics, contact points etc. Encourage team building among the brands and cross brand sales people. Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
Pros: I worked for 8+ years in IBM's outsourcing business, and I marvel at the fact that the company even makes money at all. Management is so far removed from day-to-day operations that they cannot direct the outcomes the business needs. It is the worst possible choice for young people to develop a career. It is best for the old, out-of-touch people that remain...at least until they retire. It is a disaster for investors.
Cons: They cut costs at every turn without regard for the consequences. They do not invest in opportunities, but rather convince clients to pay for First Of A Kind (FOAK) products and services; then are surprised when it doesn't work and the clients are not happy. What a joke.
Advice to Senior Management: Do fewer things better. And stop screwing your top performers—incent them. They might actually stay then. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
Pros: Doesn't get more cutting edge than this. Very deep technical depth to the team. Very large network of opportunities across a large corporate employee base. Good support for staying connected while mobile/out of the office. Very good opportunities to work with non-IBM business partners in technology development collaboration.
Cons: You better have a thick skin, arrogance and type A personalities are frequently encountered. Crowded middle/exec management levels make progression to these levels difficult.
Advice to Senior Management: Need to 'thin the herd' some more at middle management and first level execs to make more opportunities for those stuck just below this 'glass ceiling' level. Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend.
Pros: Quality of their people and willingness to assist new starters navigate their way around IBM restrictions.
Cons: They have the worst internal processes of all global companies I have come across. They believe the IBM way is the best way and their procurement, recruitment and other back office functions are woeful. IBM "lifers" and ex-PWC execs play the game of survival and management by cost reductions. They have no concept of how to vary strategy according to local market conditions, and their cost overheads render themselves uncompetitive in all but the largest global deals.
Advice to Senior Management: Allow professional hires to influence your go-to-market strategies in local markets. Delegate much more responsibility to your front-line management. Adopt Jack Welch's business values. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
Cons: It is not the place to end a career. IBM has made several sacrifices to its North American workforce for profitability. It's a short term solution to a long term issue the company will have to deal with eventually.
Advice to Senior Management: It's time to refocus on innovation and reinvest in employee growth in North America. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend.
Pros: Ability to work from home, good vacation plan, average benefit package.
Cons: No respect for individuals, extremely long hours required to meet requirements, lack of recognition, excessive layers of management, poor morale, ineffective management.
Advice to Senior Management: Eliminate three quarters of all executives. Each VP should have 1,000 employees in their span of control. Today many Directors and VPs have no direct reports, and own no mission. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
Cons: There is a lot of paperwork. You must collect for instance twelve approvals to do one simple job. Weird structure in team—some people are doing only specific sub jobs. You must do your best because of your personal rating. Even if your rating is top you will get only small bonus or even nothing because of missing money.
Advice to Senior Management: Do you think that working conditions are the same for each delivery center across the world? I don't think so. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend.
Pros: There are many career path opportunities coupled with the ability to build and develop expertise and skills through internal and client facing activities worldwide. The silo structure offers many career path options and cross silo mobility. That works well if you have the skills and track record of deploying them. Senior management will listen to good ideas but not always responsive. Good place to get the industry tick mark on your CV.
Cons: An extremely complex client facing sales and division structure with many product and strategy overlaps resulting in conflicts of who does/builds/sells what/when and with whom. This can often leave both the clients and employees confused as minions churn about like piranha circling a goat in the Amazon, all chasing the same dollar.
The sales compensation structure is too complex. It is overlapping often paying out just for coding a record into someone's domain without ever actually selling anything or even leaving the office. Up to 10 sales people can be paid on the same order. Insane but good money for surfing the order logs.
Senior management has lost it's sense of what the corporate mission is. They are struggling to redefine the company witness the latest 'cloud' mantra. Much of that is 'me too' versus thought leading. Cloud, mobile and you name it as a service were not invented at IBM. The potential is there to grow but the current hierarchy and competing silo businesses do not promote best practices for optimal corporate development. The cloud business diminishes hardware opportunity; services divisions don't care whose platform they work on; clients are relegated to opportunistic business partners who in turn transfer risk back to IBM whilst taking payment for doing so.
There are organizational pieces that clearly don't fit. Notably the Finance Company should be spun off thereby helping relieving the balance sheet of debt while in one fell swoop making the insane 2015 profit target which is a piece of financial engineering having nothing to do with sales growth. It's really just a bank and in fact competes with banks directly.
HR practices have reverted to archaic impersonal controls, meaningless reviews, mandatory poor performer rankings and a cheapskate clipping of costs/benefits all the while exporting jobs to low-wage and low-skill markets. IBM long ago stopped being a people company. It has fallen off the best companies to work for league table. IBM suffers from poor morale and needless productivity loss generated by the constant fear of job loss through 'rebalancing'.
I pray for them every night. You should too.
Advice to Senior Management: Lead from the board room not the press room. Forget the marketing hype. Grow organic revenue. Provide job security. Return to a client-centric sales model. Knock down the silos no matter how difficult. Quit buying companies. Build organically with the pieces in place. Take the short term hit required for long-term success. Stop financial engineering. Sell Sell Sell. Get back to Mr. Watson's playbook. No, I would not recommend this company to a friend. I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.
But far too many 50-somethings leave their familiar place of work only to find that they are unemployable at any comparable position. I have one friend working for minimum wage at the checkout counter at the supermarket. Another friend takes tee times at our public golf course for – you guessed it – minimum wage. Still another friend, who thought he could afford to retire, is now trying to sell real estate, which is no easy job in this economy.
Nevertheless, part of the American dream is taking early retirement and moving to the beach or the mountains, or buying a boat and drifting off to someplace warm and wonderful. It does work for some people. But if you're thinking about taking early retirement sometime in 2014, pause to consider these three reasons you might want to put it off until 2015 or beyond...
But rather than just assuring the future of the shrunken number of traditional pension plans that make retirees guaranteed payments for life, the improved funding levels also make it more feasible for more firms to shed pension obligations altogether. Firms can do that either by offering lump sums to workers or to transfer the future liabilities — and the money set aside to meet them — to insurance companies that convert them into annuities. ...
The percentage of private-sector employees who are covered by traditional pensions has decreased by about half since the early 1990s, to just 18 percent last year, according to the Labor Department.
In recent years, some firms — worried about the long-term financial responsibility of paying for pensions — have moved to get the liabilities off their books. In recent years, Verizon Communications transferred $7.5 billion in pension obligations to Prudential Financial. The move came after General Motors paid Prudential to assume $25 billion of its pension risks. ...
This year “is looking to be a big year for risk transfer strategies such as annuity buyouts and voluntary cashouts to former employees, as improving conditions make these options much more feasible than before,” said Richard McEvoy, head of the Financial Strategy Group for Mercer Investment Consulting.
To have enough money for when you are no longer working, you have to know your “number.” That is a calculation based on factors such as the rate of inflation, how much you are expecting from Social Security, an estimate of how much your investments might earn and how long you think you might live. The calculation also estimates the percentage of pre-retirement income you’ll need to replace. That percentage is called your “replacement rate.”
Retirees used to estimate they could make do on 40 percent to 50 percent of what they used to earn a year because they wouldn’t have the same costs they did while working. Their children are grown and on their own. They probably wouldn’t have a mortgage or all the expenses associated with working, such as commuting costs.
But many of today’s retirees want to live life more abundantly. Their children and grandchildren may not be close by, so they need to budget to travel to see them. And many won’t pay off their mortgages before they retire. Their retirement calculations may suggest they need to replace 70 percent to 80 percent of their yearly pre-retirement income, because their expenses won’t greatly be reduced in retirement.
Still, the higher assumptions so common now might be too high, leading people to overestimate how much money they will need to fund their retirement, according to David Blanchett, head of retirement research for Morningstar Investment Management, a unit of Morningstar.
“While a replacement rate between 70 percent and 80 percent may be a reasonable starting place for many households, when we modeled actual spending patterns over a couple’s life expectancy, rather than a fixed 30-year period, the data shows that many retirees may need approximately 20 percent less in savings than the common assumptions would indicate,” Blanchett writes in his research paper.
According to a report from Reuters, the latest round of layoffs, announced on New Year’s Eve, will bring the total percentage of the company’s workforce that has been trimmed to 11 percent.
Occupation: Computer Programmers; Rank: 1
Any change(s) to ERISA or your IBM pension will not be to your benefit!
A must read is Ellen Schultz's excellent book "Retirement Heist". If you don't find it's contents even mildly disturbing I don't know what you are reading to the contrary.
LIFE@IBM IS NOT GOOD (and not getting any better UNLESS you try to actively participate in securing your retirement benefits any way you can! Gee, wouldn't a contract with IBM be nice?!) -trexibmer-
That is the dirty little secret many liberals have avoided saying out loud for fear of aiding the president’s enemies, at a time when the ideal of universal health care needed all the support it could get. Unfortunately, this meant that instead of blaming companies like Novartis, which charges leukemia patients $90,000 annually for the drug Gleevec, or health insurance chief executives like Stephen Hemsley of UnitedHealth Group, who made nearly $102 million in 2009, for the sky-high price of American health care, the president’s Democratic supporters bought into the myth that it was all those people going to get free colonoscopies and chemotherapy for the fun of it.
I believe Obamacare’s rocky start — clueless planning, a lousy website, insurance companies raising rates, and the president’s telling people they could keep their coverage when, in fact, not all could — is a result of one fatal flaw: The Affordable Care Act is a pro-insurance-industry plan implemented by a president who knew in his heart that a single-payer, Medicare-for-all model was the true way to go. When right-wing critics “expose” the fact that President Obama endorsed a single-payer system before 2004, they’re actually telling the truth.
What we now call Obamacare was conceived at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, and birthed in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney, then the governor. The president took Romneycare, a program designed to keep the private insurance industry intact, and just improved some of its provisions. In effect, the president was simply trying to put lipstick on the dog in the carrier on top of Mitt Romney’s car. And we knew it.
By 2017, we will be funneling over $100 billion annually to private insurance companies. You can be sure they’ll use some of that to try to privatize Medicare. ...
And yet — I would be remiss if I didn’t say this — Obamacare is a godsend. My friend Donna Smith, who was forced to move into her daughter’s spare room at age 52 because health problems bankrupted her and her husband, Larry, now has cancer again. As she undergoes treatment, at least she won’t be in terror of losing coverage and becoming uninsurable. Under Obamacare, her premium has been cut in half, to $456 per month.
Let’s not take a victory lap yet, but build on what there is to get what we deserve: universal quality health care. ...
All eyes are on Vermont’s plan for a single-payer system, starting in 2017. If it flies, it will change everything, with many states sure to follow suit by setting up their own versions. That’s why corporate money will soon flood into Vermont to crush it. The legislators who’ll go to the mat for this will need all the support they can get: If you live east of the Mississippi, look up the bus schedule to Montpelier.
So let’s get started. Obamacare can’t be fixed by its namesake. It’s up to us to make it happen.
Now, a new report from the minority staff of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce has destroyed the foundation of that particular GOP claim. It projects that only 10,000 people will lose coverage because of the ACA and be unable to regain it — or in other words, 0.2 percent of the oft-cited 5 million cancellations statistic. ...
Of course, there’s no doubt that for those 10,000 people, the health-care law left them worse off than before. And by no means is the rocky political ride over for Democrats — back-end problems still present a serious threat to implementation. But as is sadly too often the case, the arguments made by Republicans simply lack a firm factual basis — and deserve much more scrutiny that they’ve received in many sectors of the mainstream press.
Ed Kilgore has been calling this the “wingnut hole,” and many have been speculating about its size. How many Americans will go without health insurance simply because the GOP dislikes the president? Well, happy 2014, dear readers: initial estimates are in, and we have 5 million lucky winners!
About 5 million people will be without health care next year that they would have gotten simply if they lived somewhere else in America. The court effectively left it up to states to decide whether to open Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor and disabled, to more people, primarily poor working adults without children.
Twenty-five states declined. That leaves 4.8 million people in those states without the health care coverage that their peers elsewhere are getting through the expansion of Medicaid, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation estimate. More than one-fifth of them live in Texas alone, Kaiser’s analysis found. ...
It’s worth remembering that the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of the Medicaid expansion through 2016 and 90 percent of the cost afterward. It could very well work out that refusenik states will not even save money because of additional spending on the uninsured in emergency rooms and elsewhere.
But regardless of the pitiful sums involved, make no mistake: This action is utterly gratuitous. Combined with the probable coming Republican refusal to extend unemployment benefits that George wrote about this morning, this is a particularly stiff kick in the teeth to the United States’ most vulnerable citizens to usher in the new year.
Governor Peter Shumlin signed a revolutionary single-payer plan, Green Mountain Healthcare—the culmination of decades of work by progressive politicians in the state—into law in May 2011. The new system aims to guarantee universal insurance coverage, improve benefits for those who are currently underinsured, include universal dental care and vision care, and increase the Medicaid reimbursement rate to doctors in order to avoid cost-shifting.
In some ways, the system resembles the ACA, but the the most consequential difference is that Vermont’s law will end employer-provided insurance. "God didn’t create the fact that employers are responsible for healthcare for their employees," says Bernie Sanders, the state’s stalwart socialist senator. ...
Meanwhile, there are still major question marks about how Vermont will pay for the plan, whether it can achieve the projected savings, and what might happen when an American state tries to import a European-style insurance program. If the ambitious Green Mountain Healthcare is a success, its backers say it will serve as a model for the rest of the nation—especially if the ACA doesn’t achieve full coverage and help bring costs down. Then, they say, statehouses around the nation will look to Montpelier for guidance. But first Vermont has to figure out how the plan is going to work.
The program was designed by Harvard economist William Hsiao, who detailed the plain in a 2011 Health Affairs article. Hsiao projected the state would save 25.3 percent annually in total healthcare spending, lower household and employer healthcare spending, job growth, and higher economic output for the state. The savings would come from lower administrative expenses, reduced fraud and abuse, eliminating middlemen, malpractice reform, and governance improvements. These savings, about $4.6 billion over the first five years, would be plowed back into paying to cover the uninsured and expanding benefits and services leaving $2.3 billion in residual savings. The law also created the Green Mountain Care Board, an independent group charged with overseeing the law and ensuring quality. What the plan didn’t do is lay out how the state government would pay for its increased spending. ...
For the plan’s defenders, the best counterexample is to the north. “Canada’s healthcare system began as province-by-province initiative as well,” Lunge notes. “It started at Saskatchewan before becoming a national initiative.”
And just as the Saskatchewan plan became a model for Canada, many in Vermont, including Sanders, hope the state’s plan will eventually become an example for other states. “Americans want to see a model that works,” the senator says. “If Vermont can be that model it will have a profound impact on discourse in this country.” ...
A 2012 Institute of Medicine report finds that the U.S. healthcare system wastes $750 billion each year. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found, “Among 34 OECD countries between 1990 and 2010, the U.S. rank for the age-standardized death rate changed from 18th to 27th, for the age-standardized YLL [Years of Potential Life Lost] rate from 23rd to 28th, for the age-standardized years lived with disability rate from 5th to 6th, for life expectancy at birth from 20th to 27th, and for healthy life expectancy from 14th to 26th.” OECD countries pay half of what the U.S. does, in per capita terms, for better outcomes and universal coverage.
These plans are possible, says Peterson, who turned 50 this year and co-manages a financial services firm in Champaign, Ill., because of a piece of plastic the size of a credit card that arrived in the mail the other day: a health insurance card.
Peterson is among the millions of uninsured Americans who are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 law that launched far-reaching changes to the U.S. health-care system and is President Obama’s premier domestic achievement.
These beneficiaries have not been oblivious to the problems of the new insurance exchanges, including a rollout so botched that Obama called it his biggest mistake of the year. Many, including Peterson, had firsthand encounters with the error-prone federal Web site, HealthCare.gov, that tested their patience and resolve. Some called help lines that couldn’t help them. Others drove long distances to meet with trained enrollment workers who couldn’t get them enrolled. Yet they persisted.
And as New Year’s Day approaches, and with it, health insurance, their frustration is trumped by gratitude. “I get these messages from acquaintances on Facebook saying, ‘Let me keep my doctor,’ ’’ Peterson said. “Well, what about those of us who didn’t have health insurance before? . . . I have been walking a tightrope and have had some twists and falls off of it. To not have to worry about this anymore is a tremendous relief.”
The drug sofosbuvir (brand name Sovaldi) will cost $1,000 per pill. A typical course of treatment will last 12 weeks and run $84,000, plus the cost of necessary companion drugs. Some patients may need treatment for twice as long.
Hepatitis researchers call the drug a landmark in the treatment of this deadly infection. More than 90 percent of patients who get the new drug can expect to be cured of their hepatitis C infection, with few side effects. ...
The drug company Gilead Sciences Inc. of Foster City, Calif., manufactures sofosbuvir. And some activists are beginning to complain about the company's decision to charge so much for the drug. "For Gilead, we have outrage, pure and simple," Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation told Business Wire.
But Gregg Alton, a vice president at Gilead, says the high price is fully justified. "We didn't really say, 'We want to charge $1,000 a pill,' " Alton says. "We're just looking at what we think was a fair price for the value that we're bringing into the health care system and to the patients."
The fight is history, you realize. Done. Finito. Yesterday’s news.
Any existential threat to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ended with the popping of champagne corks as the new year arrived. That was when an estimated 6 million uninsured Americans received coverage through expanded Medicaid eligibility or the federal and state health insurance exchanges. Obamacare is now a fait accompli; nobody is going to take this coverage away. ...
Now, officials in states that refused to participate in Medicaid expansion will have to explain why so many of their constituents — about 5 million nationwide — remain uninsured when they could have qualified for coverage. More than 1 million of these needlessly uninsured Americans live in Texas, which is targeted by Democrats as ripe for inroads because of its rapidly changing demographics. Will Gov. Rick Perry (R) be forced to reconsider his Obamacare rejectionism? Or will he ultimately be remembered for speeding the state’s transition from red to blue? ...
Opponents of the law can hardly advocate going back to a system in which those who really need insurance can’t get it. What they can do, and surely will, is make lots of noise by pretending that any problem with anyone’s health insurance is due to the Affordable Care Act. Before Obamacare, millions of Americans had their policies canceled by the insurance companies every year. Millions more had their premiums raised, their coverage reduced or both. Now when these things happen, critics will try to blame the new law.
Increasingly, though, the GOP will sound foolish and irrelevant if it continues to put all of its eggs in the “repeal and replace” basket. The problem is that the Affordable Care Act is a set of free-market reforms based on ideas developed in conservative think tanks. Republicans who want to repeal Obamacare would have to replace it with something suspiciously similar. ...
The real problem with the ACA, and let’s be honest, is that it doesn’t go far enough. The decision to work within the existing framework of private, for-profit insurance companies meant building a tremendously complicated new system that still doesn’t quite get the job done: Even if all the states were fully participating, only about 30 million of the 48 million uninsured would be covered.
"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.
“I look at it as, I don’t have a boat,” Mr. Hlavin said. “I feel confident about the economy and about my business.”
A legion of buyers like Mr. Hlavin, buoyed by a growing economy and a soaring stock market, are shedding whatever reluctance, or self-imposed restraint, they had during the recession by entering showrooms and leaving with trophy cars.
“Luxury is not a dirty word anymore,” said Robert Ross, an automotive consultant with Robb Report, a lifestyle magazine for wealthy readers. “In 2008, luxury was a dirty word.”
Maserati is opening dealerships around the United States, Rolls-Royce just finished its most profitable year ever and even mainstream luxury automakers like Mercedes and Jaguar are finding an eager market for their most expensive models, which push past $100,000.
The sales gains at the highest end of the market are far outstripping those in the auto industry as a whole, which, because of easier credit and pent-up demand, have risen 8.4 percent from January through November. ...
Among the hungriest consumers for luxury automobiles are entrepreneurs amassing new wealth in industries like technology and energy, and executives in Fortune 500 companies whose stocks have soared along with the broader market, analysts and industry executives say. ...
Buyers at the top end of the market say the time feels right for a big-ticket purchase. And dealers across the country say that a majority of these purchases, especially for those above $150,000, are made in cash. ...
Rolls-Royce, which is owned by BMW, has bounced back since 2008, recovering in 2009 with the introduction of the Ghost, a smaller sedan with an average price above $300,000. The Ghost gave those interested in owning a Rolls-Royce an alternative to the Phantom, which has a base price of $402,940 and is designed for use with a chauffeur. ...
Eric Shepherd, Rolls-Royce’s president for North America, said that for many potential buyers in the six-figure market, the barrier to buying wasn’t an issue of dollars but of cultural sentiment. “Our customers never lost the ability to buy,” he said. “They may have lost the appropriateness to buy.”
Expanded benefits for the jobless likewise started as a temporary program launched in 2008 and extended regularly as the recession continued. Last week Bloomberg Businessweek’s Josh Green made a case for seeing these extensions purely as an effective macroeconomic stimulus. Morality aside, money given to someone who is unemployed is what we used to call “shovel ready.” It gets spent. ...
It’s awfully hard to take morality out of the question of whether to extend unemployment insurance again. It is a transfer of probable $26 billion this year from all of America’s future taxpayers. A sharp, immediate exit such as the one we’re about to take will be destructive in the way that suddenly ending any subsidy is destructive. Leaving the human cost out of it, sharp changes in fiscal policy have higher multipliers: They cost more, ultimately, than slower, drawn out changes.
If you’re inclined to moral thinking, though, it’s even harder to understand why—if this subsidy, too, must end—we’re not bothering to extend the same tapering courtesy to the long-term unemployed that we’re offering the financial markets.
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