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So, I must ask, where are in in helping the people in Joplin? Where is IBM in the helping Detroit to rebuild? Why isn't IBM leading and helping in the communities in the South devastated by tornados and flooding of the Mississippi? Where are the trucks we used to fill with clothing, with canned foods, with shelters?
Sure, its great to help those people in need in foreign countries, but charity begins at home. Lets bring back the lustre! Lets get Randy to stop running the Company and let Sam take the charge. I was very proud to be an IBMer! Come on you guys...get back in the game and win back the hearts of your employees.
Selected comments to this post follow:
With the expansion of the site during he late 70's and 80's, this "Family" feeling slowly decreased. After the '03 down sizing, I was involved with trying to get out side Tenants to occupy our 1.5 million sq. ft. of now empty space. It was all dollar oriented, to stem the flow of expenses for this space. It was odd to walk the halls of empty space that was once bustling with workers.
in talking to current IBMers, there is always a cloud overhead since now every so often there is another "downsizing" in the wind. Granted it's only 300-500 instead of thousands but people are afraid of the consequences especially with the economy the way it is. I remember working nights and/or weekends because I wanted to get the project finished and I liked what I was doing but today when people work longer hours, it's mostly to save their jobs and avoid that potential list of "downsizing" candidates.
My organization is less than thrilled with the service we receive. I had an IBMer call me due to poor service. She was very nice on the phone but I had to tell her I was embarrassed to say I was associated with a company that was less than stellar in their service. I was disappointed that the IBM I knew had deteriorated in such a way.
She agreed with me that it was not the same company that it was years ago. How sad!! We are celebrating our IBM centennial anniversary. Wouldn't it be great if IBM went back to its original roots and returned to their leadership position in the marketplace!! Companies need to remember that customer service is key to their success.
Understand IBM has to do this to supposedly stay competitive in a tough global marketplace since the EPS is not as high as IBM wants it. It makes more bonus money and better stock option exercise money for the IBM executives the only employees in IBM that are not referred to as resources. And, you as a resource, or FTE work widget, should feel good about this: Sam THANKS YOU you for your hard work and understanding on this. This thank you should be enough compensation for not getting a raise.
LIFE IS NOT GOOD for those IBMers that get no raise and are working their "you-know-what" off for IBM. LIFE IS NOT GOOD for most IBM retirees who are just trying to scrape by in their golden years on an IBM retirement plan.
Nothing stops IBM from making it August or September or later.
If you don't simply question why this is happening then this trend and others will just continue. You need to send a message. Why not send an internal e-mail to HR and ask?
Folks YOU ALL NEED A CONTRACT and NOW or remaining in IBM means LIFE IS NOT GOOD.
Cons: Career paths and mentoring that used to exist, have all disappeared in truth, but are still praised and lauded as real (this can be very confusing).
Unless you are one of the extreme performers (aka selling madly for them), you will NOT be praised or rewarded and WILL treated as a cost to be minimized. In a company of excellent people, it is very disconcerting to be called 'OK' when you are in fact world class and perform at that level daily.
Company is now going out of its way to hide where employment is taking place and where it is getting moved from and to (aka no longer publishing employment by country, only overall employment, and NOT commenting on layoff's unless required by outdated local law).
Advice to Senior Management: Be honest and open about the labor sourcing direction you are taking, EVEN to the labor you are using. The fiction of 'mutual commitment' is distressing and hard to swallow. It in fact has a greater impact of quality of product than almost anything else. Your people can't be BOTH world class intellects AND stupid enough to not see their treatment for what it is.
Advice to Senior Management: Lou Gerstner's IBM wasn't the old IBM anymore, but it was a great company to work for. Under the lead of Sam Palmisano, IBM has degraded in nearly all aspects towards a soulless money-making machine - only not for the employees and also not really for the shareholders (dividends are still much lower than they were and could be), but for the executives. This has bred a new type of manager unworthy of the great IBM heritage, evident in characters like Bob Moffat.
After Palmisano took the helm in 2002, at first the changes were slow, although the ill-fated acquisition of PWC Consulting was the first sign of things to come. In the recent years, it seems the senior leadership has lost all shame and drives the company in a direction that will inevitably lead it into another major crisis.
Employee morale is at an all-time low. This is not a subjective impression, it is a fact proven by IBM's own employee surveys. Only that the leadership is not reacting to these surveys at all, proving that they really don't care about the employees' opinion anymore.
Compensation for long-time top performers is a joke, while less qualified professionals hired from the outside are paid well at first. Only they cannot expect raises, a fact they are soon to learn.
While Mr. Palmisano earned 30% more in 2010 - BTW the best year IBM ever had - bonuses for "normal" employees were reduced by up to 30%. And they had been a joke before already.
What makes this and other management decisions so aggravating is the way the company boasts internally and externally about their compensation structure in which "performance pays well". It's as if they *want* employees to become cynical.
IBM has shed all modesty in their marketing and external communication, but has not much to back up the boasting statements. This is in stark contrast to the past, where IBM had world-class service and technology, yet at the same time written and unwritten policies never to talk down a competitor, even internally. Efforts like the Watson supercomputer are the few exceptions which leave at least small room for hope that IBM could again be at the forefront of technology.
In the Services business, however, years of employee neglect and diminishing education budgets have eroded the quality and competence level so much that good performers are leaving in droves now that the economy has recovered. While at the same time pressure on "partners" (the title being another lip-service example) and sellers has been raised to levels that leads to contracts and solutions with pre-programmed failure - which will only lead to more pressure from the current management. The global delivery strategy does not work as advertised, despite extreme pressure to have GD resources in each and every contract.
I predict that IBM will either trick a dim-witted buyer into taking the Services business off their hands or that it will soon start a quickly accelerating downward slide. The strangest thing is that all this could easily be foreseen even by the number-fixated Palmisano gang, yet they don't seem to have any intention to act. However, the Services business must deliver up to 40 % of the 2015 roadmap to EPS growth, so Palmisano can not actually afford to let it crash. Unless he plans to leave well in advance and leave it to his successor to take the bullet.
It is astonishing that this situation which can easily be learned about from nearly any IBMer you know in your private life, has not yet attracted investigative reporters. Even the Moffat scandal did not reflect on IBM, when at least one reporter should have asked the question "if Moffat was only a single black sheep, how could he rise up through the ranks all the way to the crown prince position?". Somehow, Palmisano and IBM manage to keep a lot of bad developments under the carpet. But how much more can they cut in the flesh of the company until it starts to bleed so profusely that the wounds can not be covered up anymore? I fear that once the whole construction starts to crash, it can't be stopped from collapsing anymore.
Sadly the people they target do not care enough to try and protect themselves with a contract. The Executives have one because they want the protection it offers. Why do the workers not want one? The executives can only assume the at will employees are quite happy with things as they are as they are not trying to make things better for themselves.
The Board of Directors , HR and all else who run IBM believe you like being RA'd. After all you just quietly clean out your desks and leave. No one goes on strike. No one forces collective bargaining on them so it must be just fine to keep doing them. When a boxer gets punched in the face repeatedly and makes no effort to block the incoming punches you can only assume either they do not hurt or the boxer is already brain damaged. -Exodus2007-
The reason I got my current job was because this group didn't want to screw around endlessly interviewing dozens of candidates, and wanted to fill the position quickly. The only exit strategy is to start applying elsewhere. This group asked me why I was leaving IBM and listened very closely to my answer, which can be summed up as "I still have a job inside IBM, but I need to work another 15 years. Will IBM be there for me? I don't know. I just know that I don't like the management decisions I see inside the company". So, having a job while your applying for a job is a big, big plus.
Use IBM, don't let IBM use you.
I recently was interviewing candidates for a job I had open and found that each and every IBMer I talked to (these were Band 8-10 programmer types) had paid projects on the side and was actively looking for the opportunity they wanted. Those are the IBMers I want. The ones ready to meet the marketplace if an RA is forced on them and those willing to support the Alliance. -Active Measures Guy-
Health care reforms have already allowed more than 600,000 people up to the age of 26 to remain on their parents' policies, a number that is expected to grow to an estimated 1.7 million by 2013. Starting in 2014, when Medicaid coverage for the poor expands and subsidies are available for middle-income Americans, an estimated 12 million young adults will have government-subsidized coverage.
If neither happens, the GOP plan will fail to reduce overall health spending. The proposal to give those turning 65 in 2022 a subsidy to buy their own insurance would merely shift those costs from government to the elderly. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that either of these strategies would reduce total medical expenses, at least based on what we know about past experiments. ...
By repealing the health law, the House GOP would also eliminate the two key mechanisms seniors would need to buy insurance on the open market—a requirement that insurance companies not discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions (80 percent of those 65 and older have at least one) and exchanges though which buyers can shop for individual coverage. But even if they could somehow fix those problems, the GOP still needs to show how its plan is going to lower overall medical costs which is, after all, the whole point.
What is Medicare? It's single-payer coverage for the elderly. Other countries have single-payer systems that are much cheaper than ours — and also much cheaper than private insurance in America. So there's nothing about the form that makes Medicare unsustainable, unless you think that health care itself is unsustainable.
What is true is that the U.S. Medicare is expensive compared with, say, Canadian Medicare (yes, that's what they call their system) or the French health care system (which is complicated, but largely single-payer in its essentials); that's because Medicare American-style is very open-ended, reluctant to say no to paying for medically dubious procedures, and also fails to make use of its pricing power over drugs and other items.
"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.
Or so it seemed. But two years later, Wall Street is back to earning record profits, and conservatives are triumphant. To understand why this happened, it's not enough to examine polls and tea parties and the makeup of Barack Obama's economic team. You have to understand how we fell so short, and what we rightfully should have expected from Obama's election. And you have to understand two crucial things about American politics.
The first is this: Income inequality has grown dramatically since the mid-'70s—far more in the US than in most advanced countries—and the gap is only partly related to college grads outperforming high-school grads. Rather, the bulk of our growing inequality has been a product of skyrocketing incomes among the richest 1 percent and—even more dramatically—among the top 0.1 percent. It has, in other words, been CEOs and Wall Street traders at the very tippy-top who are hoovering up vast sums of money from everyone, even those who by ordinary standards are pretty well off.
Second, American politicians don't care much about voters with moderate incomes. Princeton political scientist Larry Bartels studied the voting behavior of US senators in the early '90s and discovered that they respond far more to the desires of high-income groups than to anyone else. By itself, that's not a surprise. He also found that Republicans don't respond at all to the desires of voters with modest incomes. Maybe that's not a surprise, either. But this should be: Bartels found that Democratic senators don't respond to the desires of these voters, either. At all. ...
How did we get here? In the past, after all, liberal politicians did make it their business to advocate for the working and middle classes, and they worked that advocacy through the Democratic Party. But they largely stopped doing this in the '70s, leaving the interests of corporations and the wealthy nearly unopposed. The story of how this happened is the key to understanding why the Obama era lasted less than two years. ...
Income volatility, for example, has risen dramatically over the past 30 years. The odds of experiencing a 50 percent drop in family income have more than doubled since 1970, and this volatility has increased for both high school and college grads. At the same time, traditional pensions have almost completely disappeared, replaced by chronically underfunded 401(k) plans in which workers bear all the risk of stock market gains and losses. Home foreclosures are up, Americans are drowning in debt, jobs are less secure, and personal bankruptcies have soared. These developments have been disastrous for workers at all income levels.
This didn't all happen thanks to a sinister 30-year plan hatched in a smoke-filled room, and it can't be reined in merely by exposing it to the light. It's a story about power. It's about the loss of a countervailing power robust enough to stand up to the influence of business interests and the rich on equal terms. With that gone, the response to every new crisis and every new change in the economic landscape has inevitably pointed in the same direction. And after three decades, the cumulative effect of all those individual responses is an economy focused almost exclusively on the demands of business and finance. In theory, that's supposed to produce rapid economic growth that serves us all, and 30 years of free-market evangelism have convinced nearly everyone—even middle-class voters who keep getting the short end of the economic stick—that the policy preferences of the business community are good for everyone. But in practice, the benefits have gone almost entirely to the very wealthy.
Wilmers's report, however, was less about the company's numbers than about the dismal state of his beloved profession. Wilmers, it turns out, is that rarest of birds: a banker willing to tell harsh truths about banking. That, for instance, much of the money the big banks earn comes from trading profits "rather than the prudent extension of credit that furthers commerce." That derivatives had helped bring about the crisis and needed to be regulated. That bank executives were wildly overpaid. That the biggest banks — the Too Big to Fail Banks — were operating, as he put it, an "unsafe business model." ...
In the run-up to the financial crisis, the giant national banks — which he viewed as a distinct species from the typical American bank — had done things that deserved condemnation. And, he added, "They are still doing things that I don't think are very good."
Such as? "It has become a virtual casino," he replied. "To me, banks exist for people to keep their liquid income, and also to finance trade and commerce." Yet the six largest holding companies, which made a combined $75 billion last year, had $56 billion in trading revenues. "If you assume, as I do, that trading revenues go straight to the bottom line, that means that trading, not lending, is how they make most of their money," he said.
This was a problem for several reasons. First, it meant that banks were taking excessive risks that were never really envisioned when the government began insuring deposits — and became, in effect, the backstop for the banking industry. Second, bank C.E.O.'s were being compensated in no small part on their trading profits — which gave them every incentive to keep taking those excessive risks. Indeed, in 2007, the chief executives of the Too Big to Fail Banks made, on average, $26 million, according to Wilmers — more than double the compensation of the top nonbank Fortune 500 executives. (Wilmers made around $2 million last year.)
Finally — and this is what particularly galled him — trading derivatives and other securities really had nothing to do with the underlying purpose of banking. He told me that he thought the Glass-Steagall Act — the Depression-era law that separated commercial and investment banks — should never have been abolished and that derivatives need to be brought under government control. "It doesn't need to be studied for two years," he said. "I would put derivative trading in a subsidiary and tax it at a higher rate. If they fail, they fail."
Rep Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, says his plan would reduce the deficit by $160 billion per year over the next decade, but it actually trims just $15 billion per year over that period – which is next to nothing in the context of budgets that run well over $3 trillion. To put that figure in perspective, it represents less than half of the spending cuts proposed by Barack Obama for next year; the average savings would have reduced this year's deficit by just one measly percent. ...
Make no mistake, however – while the plan's deficit reduction is largely fantasy, the pain it would impose on working America is very real. Almost two-thirds of the $4.5 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years come from programs that help those with lower incomes. Another big chunk of "savings" doesn't save any money at all – according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the GOP's Medicare privatization scheme would increase the cost of the program by upwards of 40 percent, but it would sharply cut the tab the government picks up, instead shifting the burden onto older people themselves. ...
You may be wondering how it's possible that a budget which cuts so much public spending barely touches the deficit. The answer is simple. The GOP's plan would not only make the "Bush tax cuts" permanent – CBO says if they don't expire on schedule those cuts will represent the biggest contributor to the deficit going forward – it goes further still, reducing the top marginal tax rate (paid only by multi-millionaires) to its lowest level since the mid 1930s, before the New Deal was established. It would slash the top rate paid by corporations by almost 30 percent, and it would also repeal a small surcharge high earners pay into the Medicare system. As CPBB notes, the tax proposals "place a top priority on cutting taxes for high-income people, while doing nothing to reduce budget deficits, themselves." It's basically a wash, simply redistributing more of the nation's wealth to those at the top of the economic heap.
Slashing taxes on top earners and corporations can make sense in certain circumstances, but it's nothing short of lunacy in our current situation. That's because, contrary to the popular and long-standing Republican talking-point, we have a revenue problem, not a spending problem. The federal government collected taxes equaling 18.5 percent of our economic activity, on average, ever since World War II. Under Ronald Reagan, it averaged 18.2 percent. But over the past three years, the government took in just under 15 percent, the lowest level since 1950, before Medicare was enacted.
The Mad Men 1960s America — where average families dominated the consumer market — has totally disappeared, this Ad Age New Wave of Affluence study details. And Madison Avenue has moved on — to where the money sits. And that money does not sit in average American pockets. The global economic recession, Ad Age relates, has thrown "a spotlight on the yawning divide between the richest Americans and everyone else."
Taking inflation into account, Ad Age goes on to explain, the "incomes of most American workers have remained more or less static since the 1970s," while "the income of the rich (and the very rich) has grown exponentially."
The top 10 percent of American households, the trade journal adds, now account for nearly half of all consumer spending, and a disproportionate share of that spending comes from the top 10's upper reaches. ...
The story goes on to note that most Americans aren't aware of this growing inequality and still believe in an ideal that remains "egalitarian," a society in which everyone has a shot at attaining a level of luxury and spending power to respond to those ads. But in reality, statistically speaking, we remain very much locked into our stark class divide.
It is against this backdrop that Republicans have decided to play chicken with the nation's credit — insisting on spending cuts while steadfastly resisting tax increases.
This is part of the modern doctrine of a compassion-free conservatism that's using the fog of the fiscal crisis to push a program of perverse wealth inequality as sound economic policy: The only way to jump-start the economy is to slash taxes on the wealthy and on companies; the only way to compensate for the deficits that those tax cuts exacerbate is to slash benefits to the poor and vulnerable. It would be comical if it weren't so callous.
Not only is this faulty logic, it's a false choice. We'll need sensible tax increases and sensible spending cuts to address the deficit, and both can be offset to some degree by stronger economic growth. It's not an either-or proposition.
And the wealthy can absorb a bit of a shock because they appear to be doing just fine. Quarterly earnings at luxury retailers like Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Movado and, yes, Tiffany all beat expectations, signaling that the rich can still splurge on the carats they wear. Meanwhile, working-class people continue to fret over the carrots they eat.
It has among the lowest tax burdens of any major country: fewer than 2 percent of the people pay any taxes. Government is limited, so that burdensome regulations never kill jobs.
This society embraces traditional religious values and a conservative sensibility. Nobody minds school prayer, same-sex marriage isn't imaginable, and criminals are never coddled.
The budget priority is a strong military, the nation's most respected institution. When generals decide on a policy for, say, Afghanistan, politicians defer to them. Citizens are deeply patriotic, and nobody burns flags.
So what is this Republican Eden, this Utopia? Why, it's Pakistan.
Now obviously Sarah Palin and John Boehner don't intend to turn Washington into Islamabad-on-the-Potomac. And they are right that long-term budget issues do need to be addressed. But when many Republicans insist on "starving the beast" of government, cutting taxes, regulations and social services — slashing everything but the military — well, those are steps toward Pakistan. ...
I spend a fair amount of time reporting in developing countries, from Congo to Colombia. They're typically characterized by minimal taxes, high levels of inequality, free-wheeling businesses and high military expenditures. Any of that ring a bell?
In Latin American, African or Asian countries, I sometimes see shiny tanks and fighter aircraft — but schools that have trouble paying teachers. Sound familiar? And the upshot is societies that are quasi-feudal, stratified by social class, held back by a limited sense of common purpose.
Maybe that's why the growing inequality in America pains me so. The wealthiest 1 percent of Americans already have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent, based on Federal Reserve data. Yet two-thirds of the proposed Republican budget cuts would harm low- and moderate-income families, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. ...
In fairness to Pakistan and Congo, wealthy people in such countries manage to live surprisingly comfortably. Instead of financing education with taxes, these feudal elites send their children to elite private schools. Instead of financing a reliable police force, they hire bodyguards. Instead of supporting a modern health care system for their nation, they fly to hospitals in London. ...
I've always made fun of these countries, but now I see echoes of that pattern of privatization of public services in America. Police budgets are being cut, but the wealthy take refuge in gated communities with private security guards. Their children are spared the impact of budget cuts at public schools and state universities because they attend private institutions.
Mass transit is underfinanced; after all, Mercedes-Benzes and private jets are much more practical, no? And maybe the most striking push for reversal of historical trends is the Republican plan to dismantle Medicare as a universal health care program for the elderly. ...
So in this season's political debates, let's remember that we're arguing not only over debt ceilings and budgets, but about larger questions of our vision for our country. Do we really aspire to take a step in the direction of a low-tax laissez-faire Eden ...like Pakistan?
Democrats, meanwhile, don't want to admit the recovery has stalled. They worry such talk will further undermine consumer confidence or spook the bond market. They don't want to head into the election year sounding downbeat. And they don't think they have the votes for anything that will have much effect before Election Day anyway.
But there's a third reason for Washington's inaction. It's not being talked about — which is itself evidence of the problem.
The unemployed are politically invisible. They don't make major campaign donations. They don't lobby Congress. There's no National Association of Unemployed People.
Their ranks are filled with women who had been public employees, single mothers, minorities, young people trying to enter the labor force, and middle-aged men who have been out of work for longer than six months. You couldn't find a collection of people with less political clout. ...
Older workers who have lost their jobs are at the greatest risk of continued unemployment. Employers assume they aren't as qualified or reliable as those who are younger and have been working more recently. According to research by the Urban Institute, once you're laid off, your chance of finding another job within a year is 36% if you're under the age of 34. But your odds drop the older you get. If you're jobless and in your 50s, your chance of landing another job within the year is only 24%. Over 62, you've got only an 18% chance.
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