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Highlights—February 2, 2013

  • Wall Street Journal: IBM Security Tool Can Flag ‘Disgruntled Employees’. By Joel Schectman. Excerpt: A new International Business Machines Corp. security tool uses Big Data to help CIOs detect internal and external security threats in new ways—and can even scan email and social media to flag apparently “disgruntled” employees who might be inclined to reveal company secrets, according to Sandy Bird, chief technology officer of IBM’s security systems division.

    The new tool, called IBM Security Intelligence with Big Data, is designed to crunch decades worth of emails, financial transactions and website traffic, to detect patterns of security threats and fraud. Beyond its more conventional threat prevention applications, the new platform, based on Hadoop, a framework that processes data-intensive queries across clusters of computers, will allow CIOs to conduct sentiment analysis on employee emails to determine which employees are likely to leak company data, Mr. Bird said. That capability will look at the difference between how an employee talks about work with a colleague and how that employee discusses work on public social media platforms, flagging workers who may be nursing grudges and are more likely to divulge company information. “By analyzing email you can say this guy is a disgruntled employee and the chance that he would be leaking data would be greater,” Mr. Bird said of IBM’s new tool.

    Selected reader comments follow:

    • I’m sure IBM has done plenty of in house testing with the product prior to it’s release.
    • IBM will use this tool to build their next resource action (layoff) list.
    • Define “disgruntled”. Is a worker angry at benefits being cut disgruntled? Is a worker angry at training their offshore replacement disgruntled? Is a worker who sees their work moved to India disgruntled? Is a worker whose PBC gets dropped because of IBM politics disgruntled. Is an IBM worker who is sick and tired of being dis-respected disgruntled? Absolutely!
    • Things like this is the number one reason, I carry my own laptop and cellular modem.
    • IBM employees are indeed disrespected. No pay raises in 6 years, cuts to pension, no pay for standby shifts, 401k match now kept by IBM, all the while the company has record profits and stock is at all times high. IBM uses it employees as tools. Top management receives compensation in stock, so as to keep stock prices artificially high, – by taking from its employees- it boost profits. IBM is no longer a preeminent company. It’s just a greedy conglomerate willing to sacrifice its inner body to reap exterior rewards. It’s only a matter of time before the body dies from lack of care.
    • An electronic S.S. Hitler must be salivating in his grave.
    • I just quit this god forsaken company. It’s a total shut company to work for or do business with. Ibm: idiots become managers. It’s a true acronym. IBM can indeed go to hell
    • I’m glad I’m no longer an IBM employe, gruntled or otherwise
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "PBC - do I have to sign?" by "forcedtofight000". Full excerpt: Do I have to sign PBC, what will happen if I refuse to sign my PBC evaluation & rating? thanks
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: PBC - do I have to sign?" by Sam Cay. Full excerpt: You do not have to sign. The manager will note you did not want to sign and submit it into the system. I used to tell employee's who did not want to sign to put in a statement on what they disagree with on the PBC other then the rating. Be specific. Depending on your manager they will either let it go or hold a grudge.
  • Yahoo! IBM Employee Issues message board: "Re: PBC - do I have to sign?" by "pvsutera". Full excerpt: You have the option of signing and adding comments. It doesn't matter whether you sign or do not sign. You are not giving your consent/assent to your rating by finishing the last step of the PBC process. I believe they are autosigned anyway if you don't sign them. Look, a handful of people control this vast corporation. Without an employees union, we are powerless against the greed, arrogance and hubris, and poor decision making of our Executive board and VPs.

    You have the option of signing and adding comments. It doesn't matter whether you sign or do not sign. You are not giving your consent/assent to your rating by finishing the last step of the PBC process. I believe they are autosigned anyway if you don't sign them. Look, a handful of people control this vast corporation. Without an employees union, we are powerless against the greed, arrogance and hubris, and poor decision making of our Executive board and VPs.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Ramifications of just walking out..." by "homerrulesall". Full excerpt: Received my second 3. Last year it was due to a month an a half on the bench so results were based on low utilization. Got a contract where I was on loan to other division, worked that until last October then found another job. Old manager (who was new to me) gave a 3 and current management saying that weighs too much, nothing they can do. Current job is a body shop, in the beginning I was without any management or help and really hammered by the client (who actually like me). Many times I was just going to walk as the stress was tremendous. Now its less but the the bodies we ended up getting don't work, listen or learn and the management that finally came in doesn't seem to care.

    Anyway, besides losing what would be half the severance, what else might I lose by walking out? Sounds stupid as I know I should just do my minimum hours and just get let go as I look for a real job, but I'm not built that way. Would I lose the FHA? I'm on the old plan (made it by age), 31 years coming up. I am going to ask about looking for another job in the company and being allowed to take it but they actually need me there (right now).

    Good news is as I look around at the level of competence in the contracting world, I can still run rings around them.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: Ramifications of just walking out..." by "foxhunt4u2". Full excerpt: If you are retirement eligible and FHA eligible you should lose nothing but your severance and training allowance and whatever else is in the separation package they offered you if you just give notice and resign.

    I doubt highly that you will be allowed to take another job in IBM.

    I don't think that's the best choice if you only have a few weeks left to work and will get 3 months pay for nothing though. If it was me I would spend the next couple weeks turning things over - making good networking contacts by asking around. Get personal email account info from people that may be able to help you. Let your customer know you are leaving and available. Thank the people that were good to you.

    Good luck in what you find to do, may it be rewarding and satisfying.

    I thank you for your 30 years of service.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: Ramifications of just walking out..." by "madinpok". Full excerpt: If you walk out, you would also lose any transition medical benefits that would have been part of a severance package as part of an RA. I'm not sure whether that would be part of an individual separation package, however. The TMP would make medical insurance cheaper for a while and help extend how far your FHA dollars will go. You would still be eligible for COBRA, even if you walk out. COBRA is also less expensive than the FHA, although you have to pay out of your own pocket since you can't use FHA dollars for that.
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: Ramifications of just walking out..." by "trexibmer". Full excerpt: If you have 31 years in IBM and are older than 55 years you get the FHA.

    If you just walk out you essentially resign. Usually that means no unemployment insurance and in your case they might even consider you as retiring based on your age.

    Getting a contracting job is a possibility but it is generally not a stable job, it is essentially term temp work. IBM has furloughed it's contractors at whim lately. Especially if you are a 1099 contractor. You usually get little, if any, benefits.

    Why walk out? Join the Alliance and fight IBM. What do you have to lose? If they want to get rid of you IBM will. You should at least then get the minimized separation. Then plan your tomorrows.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: Ramifications of just walking out..." by "ambassadoralvin". Full excerpt: You could string it out by challenging the appraisal (ask your customer to speak up for you) and if they do RAs early this year (as they did last year) perhaps you could get the full severance and TMP instead of the reduced package. Also that would position you better for unemployment benefits while you are looking for a contracting job.

    Walking away sounds satisfying but my take is that its better to sweep any crumbs off the table on the way out. And since you indicate that you aren't "built that way" and appear to have reached a mutual regard with your customer how do you think it will feel to leave them hanging ? When I was RAed I made sure my work was properly transitioned on the way out, cause I have to live with myself.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: Ramifications of just walking out..." by "willbefree25". Full excerpt: homefrulesall, I'm not clear on where you are in the scheme of things. I take it you're in Global Services, which is the hell of IBM, due to the backstabbing nature of your peers and team leaders and management due to the fact that the customer has your life in their hands and you can be put on the death sentence that is the bench at any moment and if your peers and team leaders and managers can throw you under the train to save their own hides, they will.

    That said, where again are you?

    You're not under the golden 'old' plan, correct? You weren't retirement eligible in 1999, I take it, and had the FHA shoved down your throat, correct? Right there, you are operating with a liability. Trust me, I am 4 years not using the FHA because my SO has a better plan (happily, I finally found a top notch doctor for him in his plan, sorry LIG) and I know what a crock of **** is the FHA.

    So, back to you. You've got two 3's. Forget about trying to get them reversed, the GS managers are scum, as are their team leader lackeys. They gave you two 3's no doubt because you weren't political enough to you know what their you know whats, and they want you out.

    So, can you go out? Are you retirement eligible? If yes, point in your favor. You said you get the FHA, right? Another point in your favor. Are you financially capable of living without your salary, because the pension is diddly squat if you weren't management or a brown noser.

    So, here's my advice. Wait it out. MAKE them FIRE you, as they did me. The evil that is IBM gave me severance and all the other bells and whistles, but I was old enough to give them pause about the age discrimination lawsuits until they fired THOUSANDS in May 2009. Are you? If you are, yet another point in your favor.

    The downside? Waiting to get fired will be hell. GS (i.e., your manager and your team leader, gee I hope mine are reading here) will try all KINDS of intimidation and threats and mind games on you, and make your life a living hell. TRUST me, been there, done that, have the t-shirt to prove it. Remind me to tell you about the t-shirt I made with one of those home software programs when IBM was stealing my pension in 1999 and wore it in public, much to the chagrin of a peer who still works in Corporate.

    Where was I? Oh yes, the other downside will be that waiting it will possibly affect your health. At ALL costs, you want to outlive the time line that IBM has scheduled for your pension check - they would LIKE for you to die, but you have to screw them as badly as they screwed all the Second and No Choicers in 1999.

    So, to sum up:

    • where are you in terms of service and years?
    • can you wait it out, both health wise and job wise? how evil are your manager and team leader and peers, who will stab you in the back when you're not looking?
    • does anger and rage drive you, or are you a nice guy/gal? nice guys/gals finish less than last in IBM, trust me, my peers in 2009 were saints compared to yours truly, and they wouldn't believe IBM would do that to them, not until the last minute!
    • are you healthy enough to take what they will dish out? -are you financially able to wait it out and live without IBM?

    Good luck to you, whatever you decide, and most of all, don't listen to LIG and the other IBM apologists here, they do NOT have your best interests at heart, and make sure you understand also that IBM does not have your best interests at heart either. Above all, trust Kathi.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: Ramifications of just walking out..." by "fstephens". Full excerpt: USE your FHA balance, in the beginning, leaving only a pittance in it to allow you future access if you ever needed it. That FREE insurance for around 4 years; be sure and get the best coverage option available, not the cheapest, and use it. Then if you don't have another option continue to use the IBM insurance available via the FHA using your own dime, not cheap. You can deduct the adjusted amount as a deduction. (INSURANCE PAYMENT REFUND). If you have other qualified insurance that is cheaper, get it.

    After 2015, you probably won't need to worry about help from IBM for Insurance.

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: Ramifications of just walking out..." by "teamb562". Full excerpt: Why take the most expensive FHA option? Why not make it last as long as possible(depending on your age of course?
  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: Ramifications of just walking out..." by "willbefree25". Full excerpt: Thanks, fstephens. I was actually trying to hold out until Medicare eligible and use the FHA for the Medicare supplement or whatever it's called, but in the meantime life happened. I'm still not sure, since I haven't bothered to call Mr. WBF's medical people, if I can use Medicare 'and' his plan 'and' the FHA. I'm guessing not, and I don't want to be unable to get back in his plan once the FHA runs out. So as they have been doing since they fired me, the evil that is IBM wins by holding onto my scrip.

    Meanwhile, I can't do anything until enrollment at the end of the year, so I'll be letting you all know how the calls go at that time - because I can't shut up, that's why!

  • Yahoo! IBM Pension and Retirement Issues message board: "Re: Ramifications of just walking out..." by "willbefree25". Full excerpt: I think I'm confusing everyone, well anyone who cares or is in the same boat. And I apologize for co-opting the original question by homefrulesall.

    When I was hired, I was TOLD and PROMISED (BUT NOT IN WRITING LIKE THE EXECUTIVES!) by IBM and by the old timers who were there before me that the RETIREE MEDICAL PLAN (NOT FREE, I KNOW IT ISN'T FREE) was wonderful, glorious 'additional compensation' and therefore, being a grunt and not a LIG manager because I couldn't kiss ***, that my salary would never be commensurate with my job title outside of the company.

    Okay, so I listened to this rash of horse**** every year from good managers and scum managers and nodded my head and went back to doing my job.

    Fast forward to 1999, when Socks Bouchard went before the Senate and tried to steal both my pension AND my PROMISED retiree medical, and succeeded in only the latter because I was ONE YEAR short of being able to be grandfathered, like the Too Bad, I Got Miners. If not for Janet et al, my pension also would have been stolen by the evil that is IBM. So I didn't have the CB shoved down my throat, but I did have the FHA shoved down my throat.

    Fast forward some more 30+ years later, and come that lovely day in May 2009, and I was FIRED along with FIVE THOUSAND others and had to choose a medical. I was not on IBM medical at the time, for reasons that are too amusing to relate, but was on Mr. WBF's plan. Pretty well understanding how horrific the FHA was, thanks to good people like fhawontcutit, I decided to stay on Mr. WBF's plan and defer the paltry scrip in the FHA to when I became eligible for Medicare and use the paltry scrip in the BS FHA for something they list as a Medicare supplement, which demands very low premiums, if I remember correctly.

    Fast forward to this year, when I thought I could get on the FHA after enrollment had ended, due to what I considered a major reason, but IBM, ever the beneficent and caring only for the welfare of their retirees and employees, said go jump. Okay, so I've worked that out.

    SO, now my question is, in X number of years, when I am Medicare eligible, CAN I ENROLL IN THE FHA and BE ON MEDICARE and ALSO BE IN MR. WBF'S MEDICAL PLAN?

    My guess is no. Why I will not leave Mr. WBF's plan to use only Medicare and the FHA: because once the paltry pennies in the FHA are used up, there is a good chance that I will NOT be able to get BACK into Mr. WBF's 'given as promised when he was hired and because his plan wasn't stolen from him like mine was in 1999' plan due to who knows what kind of per-existing real or insurance manufactured condition at the time.

    SO, once again, since I will no doubt have to be in Medicare AND stay in Mr. WBF's plan AND not be able to use the FHA, that:


    I hope that is clearer for those who care or are in the same boat and the LIG's know what they can do.

    P.S. fstephens, IBM's FHA and the premiums they deduct from the paltry BS that is the fake scrip they shoved down the throats of unsuspecting stupid because they didn't demand a contract Second and No Choicers in 1999 is NOT FREE INSURANCE.

    I PAID FOR THAT INSURANCE WITH MY BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS and the scum-sucking evil that is IBM stole my promised retiree health care from me. The BS paltry amount in the FHA is nothing (although some think otherwise) compared to the healthcare coverage all the grandfathered retirees get, whether they have to pay for it or not. We Second and No Choicers who got the FHA shoved down our throats have no idea what IBM did to us. Well, fhawontcutit and I do, the rest will know how much IBM sodomized them soon enough.

  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree Information Exchange message board: "Re: IRS: Cheapest Obamacare Plan Will Be $20,000 Per Family" by "namremf". Full excerpt: I have had FREE healthcare for the past year from the U.S. Government. Free meds, when needed. No bills, co-pays, ever for ANYTHING. I just swipe my card at any of 150 hospitals, nationwide. No clipboards or charts on paper. Their equipment is more up to date than any private doctor's I have ever seen. Everything concerning me is in a computer. Yes, I have long waits for non-emergency things like hearing tests or sleep studies.

    It's called Veterans Affairs. They also have proactive programs to help me lose weight.

    Yes, I have a partial military service-connected disability.

    I hid my disability from IBM managers and the insurance companies it uses to manage their money for healthcare benefits--for fear of getting fired or put on some dreaded "list."

    It was a hellish war. We were told to get out of uniforms asap and run through airports upon returning, to avoid hassles.

    Oh, I still sign up for annual Medicare supplement, so my wife has the coverage. I never use my Medicare card.

    I just feel bad I waited 42 years to tell anyone about PTSD.

    I love our free country. Freedom isn't free.

  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree Information Exchange message board: "Re: IRS: Cheapest Obamacare Plan Will Be $20,000 Per Family" by "bk2006pc". Full excerpt: Some how in USA, the group of capitalists has managed to establish a fear of socialism and love for the corporations rules in common citizens mind. Even after majority working Americans believe that they can not survive without the social security and medicare, they hate these organizations. The Capitalists know that these organizations are the part of the socialism which reduce their grip on common citizens.

    I am watching Obama's initiatives on Health Care Reforms and how it evolved in present state. I agree that we need simple and basic primary health care system under one umbrella like medicare and let users select on more extensive premium base system. Or just put the US health care system under the open global health care system like current business globalization and let consumers decide what is better for themselves. At present we have AMA & Pharmaceutical industries controlled Health Care system without any cost controls, operating in capitalist structure. Here our wages are controlled by the Global competitions and health care industries are protected from the global completions pressure so that the same capitalists can charge us whatever they want!!!

  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree Information Exchange message board: "Re: IRS: Cheapest Obamacare Plan Will Be $20,000 Per Family" by "lastdino1". Full excerpt: I always found those stats interesting. I wonder why everyone in the world who has a major medical problem wants to come here to get it fixed. Maybe we should just shut the door to them. Healthcare is a business and if you can afford it then you get it. Looking at all of the other government run departments it is comical to believe they could run an efficient healthcare system. Life is Great.
  • Yahoo! IBM Retiree Information Exchange message board: "Re: IRS: Cheapest Obamacare Plan Will Be $20,000 Per Family" by "orsonbear". Full excerpt: Dino says "I wonder why everyone in the world who has a major medical problem wants to come here to get it fixed." Do you have a reference for that? "EVERYONE in the world ..."? This is what you call "medical tourism". According to the Wikipedia article on this, it seems like most of the travel is in the other direction:
    A McKinsey and Co. report from 2008 found that between 60,000 to 85,000 medical tourists were traveling to the United States for the purpose of receiving in-patient medical care. The same McKinsey study estimated that 750,000 American medical tourists traveled from the United States to other countries in 2007 (up from 500,000 in 2006). The availability of advanced medical technology and sophisticated training of physicians are cited as driving motivators for growth in foreigners traveling to the U.S. for medical care, whereas the low costs for hospital stays and major/complex procedures at Western-accredited medical facilities abroad are cited as major motivators for American travelers.

    Nobody has said that the US does not have great doctors and medical facilities FOR THOSE WHO CAN AFFORD THEM. Those people get great medical care. But that is not the point of this thread (goes back to the PPACA). As a nation, we DO NOT have great medical care for everyone, just those who have generous employers or those covered by Medicare, Tricare, Medicaid, Veterans Administration, or IHS. That leaves a few tens of millions of people, those you consider lazy bums, without health care coverage. An embarrassment to the world for this truly "exceptional" country.

  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • Get out now!!!!” Current Systems Administrator in Corona, CA. Pros: It's a paycheck until something else pops up. Nothing more. Cons: There is no stability at all. Jobs are slowly sent to India or one of the regional centers created in the States. Layoffs are all too common. There is zero training provided and management has no idea what their people do because everybody is remote. Advice to Senior Management: Middle management needs to value their employees more. Sr Management is a lost cause. Totally clueless. SDM's that think they know what they are doing but have no idea how to manage an account.
    • I've been moved or at least my job has” Current Employee. Pros: Learn a lot. Large companies make you think on your feet. Cons: They don't treat their employees well. New 401K policy is a slap in the face. Advice to Senior Management: Remember the little guys.
    • An okay place” Current Employee. Pros: Lots of great products and a wide variety of positions. You have the opportunity to travel and even work in countries all around the world. Cons: Company has changed a lot in 20 years. It used to be a great, fun place to work. Now, however, the entire company is run by accountants. Not nearly the creative freedom that use to be there. The Wild Duck is extinct. Advice to Senior Management: Trust the employees to do the right thing. Fire 80% of the accountants. Even the lawyers are better to work with than the accountants now.
    • Well Compensated Machine” Current Systems Analyst in Poughkeepsie, NY. Pros: Very competitive pay. Remote/WFH capabilities a definite plus. Great intern bonus opportunities like lunches, tours, and dinners. Cons: You are treated like a piece of hardware. Using your ID# you are even referred to as hardware. Very impersonal. All meetings were teleconferences so I never met 95% of the people that I worked with on a day to day basis. Outsourced employees are integrated into every level of the business process, even if the language capabilities are not 100% on par for efficient work streams. Advice to Senior Management: Insert some shreds of personality into the monotony of day to day work. The company went out of their way to make the experience around work more personable like adding a mini golf course, yet the overall environment still felt like I was a Business Machine.
    • Dead-end job” Current Product Architect in Tucson, AZ . Pros: Work from home options. Good vacation and sick time policies. Good medical for single employees. Coworkers are very capable and willing to help.

      Cons: Limited growth opportunity. Inadequate product funding. Dwindling local workforce. Lack of innovation opportunity. Products are in continuing maintenance mode. IBM prefers to buy companies with new technology rather develop it themselves. Heavy on process rather than innovation and improvement. Large families can pay more than $13,000 in premiums for health insurance. Constant reduction in employee benefits. Constant downsizing. Responsibilities pile up due to attrition with no backfill. Employees are inefficient due to their broad scope of responsibilities.

      Advice to Senior Management: Show the same passion in your products as your developers do. Invest in the future of your products or make the hard decisions to discontinue them. Forcing products to limp along for years without any innovation creates a dead-end environment. Invest in the skill growth of your employees. Support meaningful adoption of new technologies into your product lines rather than doing the minimum effort. Have ownership and vision for the future of every product in the portfolio rather than putting it all on developers to create a bucket of ideas and then trimming until the result adds very little in customer value. Focus on long-term strength rather than crippling product teams and demoralizing employees to artificially bolster today's stock price.

    • A once great company, now not so much” Current Marketing Executive. Pros: You will work with very smart people. Cons: The compensation and incentive programs don't encourage collaboration or staying around. There is little reward for great people managers and no disincentive for poor ones. Decision making is held at the very top of the hierarchy which discourages risk taking or even straight talk. Advice to Senior Management: Change the compensation and incentive programs. Push decision making lower down in the organization. Drive more transparency. Everyone I work with is afraid to speak the truth.
    • Who is posting the positive reviews? HR?” Current Employee. Pros: Great colleagues; interesting work when it's not yanked from you and sent overseas. Cons: Company has sunk to the lowest of lows. Employee benefits keep getting chopped. Good people are 'managed out' of the business with trumped up reviews. Blatant age discrimination. Anyone over fifty walking around with a target on their back. Soaring profits are pocketed by execs, doesn't trickle down to employees; instead they get chopped. Can't get decent equipment to do your job. Customers are getting a lot of smoke and mirrors. Would give the rating 0 star if possible. Wanna know what's going on internally, look at the comments section on allianceibm.org. Advice to Senior Management: Stand up to the execs.
    • I hope it gets better” Former Employee. Pros: Generally good benefits. Coworkers are outstanding to work with. Cons: Benefits are consistently declining for the past 15 years. No real improvement in benefits for past 15 years except for soft benefits that add little value for the employee. Company has progressed from very caring company to an employee beat-down environment. Respect for the individual has disappeared. Aggressive layoffs yearly; unannounced to the public dismissing older employees. Morale low. Advice to Senior Management: Wake up to the way you are treating employees.
    • Top-heavy bureaucracy, often highly frustrating” Current Managing Consultant. Pros: Great work/life balance. Pretty much allowed to be yourself—good autonomy. Reasonably varied work (sometimes). Can be interesting if all your ducks fall into line and you have a good team working on a good project. Cons: Huge administrative overhead. Lots of incompetent people. Perverse incentives created by poorly thought out performance metrics. Feel like an employee ID number, not like a person. Too much bidding for work that we want to win, not that we can do. Advice to Senior Management: Looking up there is little to inspire me.
    • Software Engineer Intern” Current Software Engineer Intern in Ottawa, ON (Canada). Pros: Pay was really high compared to what I'm supposed to get for being so junior. Nice office, really cool building, and really great people. A flexible schedule, yoga lessons, and gym. The company is really large and you feel like you belong. Cons: No catered food and other things you can expect from a place like Google I guess. Also lots of bureaucratic tape I find. I didn't really get affected by that too much but I know my co-workers did. Advice to Senior Management: Less tape. More food.
    • Unappreciative” Current Employee. Pros: Flexible work hours depending on the job. Cons: Horrible people management. Performance reviews are based on politics and not the individual. If you like to kiss butt, this is the place for you. Advice to Senior Management: Less gossip, and get the facts from the employees themselves, and not what everyone else is saying.
    • Awesome” Current Senior F&A Executive in Bangalore (India). Pros: Always helpful to employee satisfaction. Always Company will support to the employee safety. Good growth is there compare to other companies. Cons: It needs to improve the Transport facility in Bangalore. Advice to Senior Management: They are doing great job.
  • Alliance for Retired Americans: Friday Alert. This week's articles include:
    • Americans Willing to Pay More in Taxes if it means Keeping Social Security Benefits
    • 58% of those Surveyed Don’t Want Medicare Cuts, Either
    • January 30 Day of Action Includes Rallies, 4400 Letters to Congress
    • All Eyes on Virginia as State Attorney General Cuccinelli Mimics Mitt Romney
    • Social Security Commissioner to Leave this Month
    • Changes in the Senate: Harkin & Chambliss Retiring, Kerry to State Department
  • The New Yorker: Requiem for a Dreamliner? By James Surowiecki. Excerpts: The Dreamliner was supposed to become famous for its revolutionary design. Instead, it’s become an object lesson in how not to build an airplane.

    To understand why, you need to go back to 1997, when Boeing merged with McDonnell Douglas. Technically, Boeing bought McDonnell Douglas. But, as Richard Aboulafia, a noted industry analyst with the Teal Group, told me, “McDonnell Douglas in effect acquired Boeing with Boeing’s money.” McDonnell Douglas executives became key players in the new company, and the McDonnell Douglas culture, averse to risk and obsessed with cost-cutting, weakened Boeing’s historical commitment to making big investments in new products. Aboulafia says, “After the merger, there was a real battle over the future of the company, between the engineers and the finance and sales guys.” The nerds may have been running the show in Silicon Valley, but at Boeing they were increasingly marginalized by the bean counters.

    Under these conditions, getting the company to commit to a major project like the Dreamliner took some doing. “Some of the board of directors would rather have spent money on a walk-in humidor for shareholders than on a new plane,” Aboulafia says. So the Dreamliner’s advocates came up with a development strategy that was supposed to be cheaper and quicker than the traditional approach: outsourcing. And Boeing didn’t outsource just the manufacturing of parts; it turned over the design, the engineering, and the manufacture of entire sections of the plane to some fifty “strategic partners.” Boeing itself ended up building less than forty per cent of the plane.

  • The Seattle Times: Senate’s H-1B visa proposal goes far beyond Microsoft’s. A bipartisan Senate plan to dramatically expand a visa program for highly skilled foreign workers resembles a proposal unveiled by Microsoft last fall, but well exceeds the company’s own goals. By Kyung M. Song. Excerpts: A bipartisan Senate plan to dramatically expand a visa program for highly skilled foreign workers resembles a proposal unveiled by Microsoft last fall, but well exceeds the company’s own goals.

    Led by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, five Republicans and five Democrats rolled out the Immigration Innovation Act on Tuesday to lift the annual quota of H-1B visas for those workers from 65,000 to 115,000. That new cap would grow each year if demand outstrips supply, potentially up to 300,000 visas annually. ...

    Microsoft has ratcheted up lobbying on the visa issue in recent years. Immigration now ranks as one of the top issues for Microsoft and its lobbyists, accounting for more visits to members of Congress than all but tax matters, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics.

    Microsoft is one of the nation’s heaviest users of H-1B visas, and foreign workers make up about 10 percent of the company’s U.S. workforce.

    The pending legislation — which likely will get rolled into the broad immigration debate under way in Congress — is sure to exacerbate the tension between high-tech companies and unemployed Americans who fear they’re being displaced by younger, lower-paid foreigners.

    Groups representing engineers and programmers, as well as individual workers, reacted with dismay and disbelief to the bill. Kim Berry, president of the Programmers Guild, denounced the bill as a product of “backdoor negotiations with industry lobbyists.” Berry said the new quotas are so generous that “effectively, there is no cap.”

  • New York Times: The Health Care Law and Retirement Savings. By Casey B. Mulligan. Excerpts: Because of its definition of affordability, beginning next year the Affordable Care Act may affect retirement savings.

    Employer contributions to employee pension plans are exempt from payroll and personal income taxes at the time that they are made, because the employer contributions are not officially considered part of the employee’s wages or salary (employer health insurance contributions are treated much the same way). The contributions are taxed when withdrawn (typically when the worker has retired), at a rate determined by the retiree’s personal income tax situation.

    Employees are sometimes advised to save for retirement in this way in part because the interest, dividends and capital gains accrue without repeated taxation. In addition, people sometimes expect their tax brackets to be lower when retired than they are when they are working.

    These well-understood tax benefits of pension plans will change a year from now if the act is implemented as planned. Under the act, wages and salaries of people receiving health insurance in the law’s new “insurance exchanges” will be subject to an additional implicit tax, because wages and salaries will determine how much a person has to pay for health insurance.

  • Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI): Wishful Thinking? Workers Planning to Work Longer to Keep Health Coverage (PDF). By Paul Fronstin. Excerpts: —More than half of all workers say they intend to work longer than they would like in order to keep their health insurance at work, according to new research by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

    However, the actual experience of retirees suggests that may be wishful thinking: Less than 1 in 5 (19 percent) retirees say they were able to work longer to continue receiving health insurance through their jobs, the EBRI report says. ...

    The HCS also found a growing proportion of older American workers who would retire earlier if they were assured of health coverage: In 2003, 15 percent of workers reported that they would retire earlier than planned if they were guaranteed access to health insurance, but by 2012, that percentage had nearly doubled (27 percent). ...

    The HCS notes that health care expenses are a key component of spending in retirement: In 2009, health care accounted for 18 percent of expenses for people 85 and older, 15 percent of expenses for people ages 75–84, and 12 percent of expenses for people ages 65–74. Medicare beneficiaries ages 65 and older paid an average of 13 percent of the cost of their health care services in 2009 (Medicare covered 59 percent, while private insurance covered 14 percent). The Medicare program (the federal/state program for the elderly) was never designed to cover health care expenses in full, Fronstin explained.

  • Huffington Post: Social Security Cuts Denounced On Anniversary Of First Check. By Arthur Delaney. Excerpts: Seventy-three years ago to the day, Ida May Fuller of Ludlow, Vt., was issued the first Social Security check.

    "It wasn't that I expected anything, mind you, but I knew I'd been paying for something called Social Security and I wanted to ask the people in Rutland about it," Fuller said of her trip to the nearby Social Security office a few months earlier, according to the Social Security Administration.

    On Jan. 31, 1940, the office issued Fuller a check for $22.54.

    To commemorate the anniversary of that first check, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), flanked by a coalition of social insurance advocates, denounced Social Security's haters during a Thursday press conference at the Capitol.

    "They told us that Social Security would go broke, that it could not possibly succeed," Sanders said. "These critics were wrong 73 years ago, and they are wrong today."

    Since its creation, Social Security has vastly reduced poverty among the elderly. But with the program facing a funding shortfall in 2033, many Republicans and Democrats agree that benefits should be reduced now to avoid steeper cuts later.

  • UPI: Social Security, Medicare in budget cross hairs. By Marcella S. Kreiter. Excerpts: Republicans for years have been trying to figure out a way to pare entitlement programs, which are gobbling up ever bigger chunks of the federal budget. During the Bush administration, Republicans pushed privatizing Social Security, allowing younger workers to opt for private investments rather than the government program.

    Talk of such a revision faded with the recession.

    More recently, Republicans have been recommending Medicare be turned into a voucher system that would provide seniors with a stipend and let them find their own coverage. ...

    The Business Roundtable noted the last trustees report warned the Social Security Trust Fund would be exhausted by 2033; Medicare by 2024.

    The roundtable, an association of chief executive officers representing companies with more than $7.3 trillion in annual revenues and 16 million employees, recommends increasing the retirement age and Medicare eligibility to 70 and making benefit formulas progressive -- the wealthy would see their benefits reduced.

    The roundtable also says people should save more on their own so they're not so dependent on Social Security, and state and local workers should be brought into the system.

    For Medicare, the roundtable says, the answer is more competition. ...

    The recommendations, however, conveniently ignore the reasons Social Security and Medicare were set up in the first place: Lower income workers don't have the wherewithal to set aside enough for retirement on their own as daily expenses keep rising and private coverage for the elderly, largely because of the infirmities that come with age, is just too costly. They also make no mention of proposals to lift the cap on contributions, which currently end once a salary hits $110,100 for the year. ...

    "The facts and figures on what the plight of the nation's seniors was prior to Social Security are well known. The insecurity that seniors face or would face if Medicare were voucherized and the cost were shifted to them, if they had a limited amount of money to spend on healthcare and the rest was up to them, I think would not be good for the country. The president doesn't believe it's good for the country." ...

    FactCheck.org notes the federal income tax accounted for 41.5 percent of all federal revenues in 2010, down from 49.6 percent before the Bush tax cuts. At the same time, the United States borrowed 36 cents for every $1 spent in 2011, down from 40 cents in 2009.

  • Wall Street Journal: Americans Rip Up Retirement Plans. Nearly Two-Thirds of Those Between 45 and 60 Plan Delays, a Steep Rise From Two Years Ago. By Lauren Weber. Excerpt: Nearly two-thirds of Americans between the ages of 45 and 60 say they plan to delay retirement, according to a report to be released Friday by the Conference Board. That was a steep jump from just two years earlier, when the group found that 42% of respondents expected to put off retirement.

    The increase was driven by the financial losses, layoffs and income stagnation sustained during the last few years of recession and recovery, said Gad Levanon, director of macroeconomic research at the organization and a co-author of the report, which is based on a 2012 survey of 15,000 individuals.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site
  • Job Cut Reports
    • Comment 01/27/13: Given the crunching of PBC ratings, I am sure it will lead to a lot of unhappy IBMers which in turn means a lack of motivation and productivity leading to unhappy clients. Now they speak of new ways to engage IBMers to create great client experiences. So why create unhappy employees in the first place?? Its funny! -Illogical-
    • Comment 01/27/13: So when does the next RA hit middle management in IBM? IBM is bloated with middle management. These folks never have improved their skills. They toe the so stale IBM party line. So they should be prime candidates to be RAed. IBM should get rid of them. Save big $$ by cutting their 6 figure salaries. That should improve them EPS and help the Roadmap to 2015. -your_next-
    • Comment 01/28/13: In response to Maesey1, we at the Alliance are very sorry to hear about how you were cheated out of your Future Health Account (FHA) Retiree Medical Benefits by IBM Management. If it's any consolation, many of us have been treated the same way. I, personally, was cheated out of half of my rightfully earned pension by IBM Management. This is why it is more important than ever to join the Alliance so that a Labor Contract can be negotiated through Collective Bargaining with IBM Management, and our Benefits and Working Conditions can be clearly spelled out in the Contract. As with the famous political cartoon published by Benjamin Franklin in his Pennsylvania Gazette in 1754,"Join, or Die" also applies to Membership in the Alliance, if you wish to have a voice in how you are treated by IBM Management. -Voting Alliance Member-
    • Comment 01/28/13: 16 year employee. Always rated 2+. I was read glowing PBC review and rated a 2 this year. I'm not fighting them this time. Making pay 3 bands below mine because I took several promotions with the raises 'to come later.' I'm leaving. Resume is already out there. I tell my wife "it's the corporate equivalent of someone smacking you with your own hands and telling you to stop hitting yourself." Best of luck to the rest of you. -Anon-
    • Comment 01/28/13: I agree with "your next"...why would IBM keep the middle management? Who will be left to manage. Cut a few of these long time do-nothing sit on conference calls all day types. The people that "do" some type of work for customers aren't the ones who should be targeted by the constant threats. I could perform my duties without a first line manager. They are basically like HR- I_manage_Myself-
    • Comment 01/29/13: Looking ahead, would 2014 see IBM transition its health care benefit to Obamacare and push employees to the exchanges? Seems like a no brainer to get to 2015... -Armynova-
    • Comment 01/29/13: Just wondering about the status of the office in Tulsa. Is that dwindling too? I'm still an employee but have been called up for the US Army Reserves for the past 2 1/2 years. Most of the people I worked with are gone so I don't really have much contact there. Just a manager that I've never met & I certainly won't check with him. -Gone_in_Tulsa-
    • Comment 01/29/13: Has anyone experienced a huge step down in productivity using these garbage Linux ThinkPads? They have their hooks into them watching everything you do. Careful not to violate BCG, easy out for IBM to fire more workers with cause (no severance). Huge level of frustration using them. Not meant for employee day-to-day use, more suited for enterprise level use. What a STUPID company IBM has become. -ClosedClient6
    • Comment 01/29/13: -your_next-: Middle Management/1st line RARELY get RA'd. Why? Because they are like sheep and follow orders like clockwork. Yes, there are a few good ones left - but they still follow orders to the "T". I have NEVER seen anyone in management not do what they were suppose to.... -Rage against the Machine-
    • Comment 01/29/13: Has anyone watched Steve Mills video on w3 about SWG results for 2012 and the challenges ahead? First challenge... resources, too many peoples leaving IBM (evidently the good ones). Not enough people to do the work. Guess what Steve if you would start valuing people and their skills and pay for it may be the talents would not leave. Time to open your eyes and IBM to stop being so cheap. -anonymous-
    • Comment 01/30/13: As long as Mr. Mills stock options are lucrative and it makes him more filthy rich he couldn't care less about the prospects of long term IBM. Same could be said of the old IBM guard including Ms. Virginia. -anonymous-
    • Comment 01/30/13: Get ready SSR's (TSS) you are next. Plan is to replace high salaried workers with TWO low skilled and paid workers in order to make TSS look attractive to potential bidders. Remember this is what happened with Pennant and the Toshiba sell off. It's coming folks and to put the icing on the cake IBM is going to threaten older employees with pension losses in order to encourage them to leave. That's what the rumor mill has brewing. Watch out for huge hirings in the 1st and 2nd quarters. Union or bust. -Fog-
    • Comment 01/31/13: At -I manage myself- .. Clearly you haven't seen project liquid where we will all be forced to "bid" internally for roles managed by remote project managers. Now if you are on the bench registration and bidding on roles is mandatory. The plan is to bring in outside third parties to start bidding as well. So a) now we all undercut one another- worldwide and b) once opened up every one of us customer facing or not will be open to dismissal and forced onto this model. -Anon-
    • Comment 01/31/13: One other way IBM screws over its loyal employees is in what is called the "special savings award" This was/is a cash payment of 5% of your salary into your 401k plan at the end of the year. BUT even under the prior 401k plan, if you retired during the year you do NOT get ANY of this so called "award" even if you retired because of choice or age (not fired or resourced) during the year. You had to be a employee on December 31 to get the money in your 401k. Thanks IBM for the kick in the groin after 35 years of loyal service. -retired after 35 years-
    • Comment 01/31/13: Question for anyone who has retired from, quit or Ra'd by IBM. Did you receive a year end bonus during the calendar year following your year of termination. For example, if you retired in 2011, did you receive a bonus in March 2012, even though you weren't employed by IBM in March? -Bonus question-
    • Comment 01/31/13: To 'Bonus Question' Are you kidding?? -Skeetum-
    • Comment 01/31/13: -Bonus question- No. You have to be employed through 12/31 of the calendar year to get your GDF. You think IBM would prorate it based on your last PBC rating. Ha Ha. They don't. Why would IBM want to give you any more than they think you truly deserve? Think Twice. -Think2X-
    • Comment 01/31/13: Hi all, was put on a 30 day timeline to decide if I want to take a severance (not much really), or do the 30 day Performance Improvement Plan. I guess if I take the severance it is considered a "mutual separation", so I'm not sure if I would qualify for unemployment benefits. Has anyone else been through this? Never worked so hard, and been treated so badly for it, its like all of the productive things I do don't even matter, just the couple mistakes I made due to work overload, and little to no support from management , thanks IBM -Cog_in_the_corp_machine-
    • Comment 01/31/13: -Bonus question- I retired with 30yrs in Oct 2007 and I did get a flat amount in Mar 2008. I say flat amount because a friend who retired May 2007 got the same amount. I think it was 1500.00. Thought it was strange we got the same amount with different pay rates and different service time for the year. Didn't bother asking anyone why it was the same. Was pleasantly surprised to get it at all. -Exodus2007-
    • Comment 02/01/13: @Think2X-- yes, you are correct, IBM is going to slice and dice and lay off a huge number of employees. I decided to leave early to avoid this slaughter. However, 50,000 is too small a number to put a dent in the overall unemployed total. Sorry, but do the math yourself. -Reality-check-
    • Comment 02/01/13: -Bonus Question-: Yes, if you are eligible to retire when leaving IBM (anytime during the year). You will be eligible for GDP (bonus money). It's automatically calculated and pro-rated. Your former manager has no input to the dollar amount. The manager will receive a notice to approve in the Comp Planner. You'll receive a check at your last address on file. If you move post-IBM, update your address through the ESC @ 1-800-796-9876 -anon-
    • Comment 02/01/13: To: -Bonus Question - I was let go in May and did not get anything after I signed and took my severance. Once you accept their package you're out the door and done! If the rest of you out there really want to stay in a company that abuses it's employees and will continue to do so, at least organize yourselves and vote in a Union. It's the only way. Life is too short to be treated the way IBM treats you. -Gone_in_07-
    • Comment 02/01/13: Answering -Bonus question-: Yes. It all happened in March 2010, one of the best months of my life. I was notified of my RA on March 1. I qualified for immediate retirement. Due to my "2" PCB I did get a bonus for the year of 2009 (I don't know whether that bonus was mandatory or was at the discretion of my first- and second-line managers: I never had any quarrel with them; I've always hated only the top IBM executives). I was delighted to get checks for my bonus, retirement, severance and unused vacation; and happier still to leave @#$%^&* IBM. My last day was March 31. -Gorya-
    • Comment 02/01/13: To further clarify: The reason why you do not get a pro-rated GDF when RAed is that IBM considers your severance payment into it. That's what they say anyway.. If you RETIRE during the year, YES, you used to and probably still do (at least I hope so) get a pro-rate GDP provided you ARE NOT a PBC 3 since retirement is still a "voluntary" life event you initiate and not IBM. -Think2X-
    • Comment 02/02/13: To -Cog_in_the_corp_machine-: That is the plan to get rid of you. Saw that when I was @ Rational before IBM took it over. -concerned-
    • Comment 02/02/13: IBM's new disgruntled employee software was tested in IBM. Everyone not covered by SERP showed up. IBM knew it was accurate. -Exodus2007-
    • Comment 02/02/13: To everyone with a lowered PBC, just perform at that level....If they wanted a #1, they should have hired one.... -anonymous-
    • Comment 02/02/13: to -closedclient6-: The new RHEL laptops suck bad. On top of that the help desk nor Lenovo will even support them. Lenovo support asked me this on the phone: "why did you install Linux on your Lenovo? You have now voided the warranty" lol, I had to laugh. Then I replied "because I am a moron and work for the GDF and don't know any better" The new laptops are the equivalent of the FLM's at IBM,...useless. -billysilly-
News and Opinion Concerning Health Savings Accounts, Medical Costs and Health Care Reform
  • New York Times: An Oil Boom Takes a Toll on Health Care. By John Eligon. Excerpts: The patients come with burns from hot water, with hands and fingers crushed by steel tongs, with injuries from chains that have whipsawed them off their feet. Ambulances carry mangled, bloodied bodies from accidents on roads packed with trucks and heavy-footed drivers.

    The furious pace of oil exploration that has made North Dakota one of the healthiest economies in the country has had the opposite effect on the region’s health care providers. Swamped by uninsured laborers flocking to dangerous jobs, medical facilities in the area are sinking under skyrocketing debt, a flood of gruesome injuries and bloated business costs from the inflated economy.

    The problems have been acute at McKenzie County Hospital here. Largely because of unpaid bills, the hospital’s debt has climbed more than 2,000 percent over the past four years to $1.2 million, according to Daniel Kelly, the hospital’s chief executive. Just three years ago, Mr. Kelly added, the hospital averaged 100 emergency room visits per month; last year, that average shot up to 400. ...

    Many of the new patients are transient men without health insurance or a permanent address in the area. In one of the biggest drivers of the hospital debt, patients give inaccurate contact information; when the time comes to collect payment, the patients cannot be found. McKenzie County Hospital has invested in new software that will help verify the information patients give on the spot.

  • Huffington Post: Getting Young People to Work Against Their Own Best Interests: Here's How It's Done. By Wendell Potter. Excerpts: In my book, Deadly Spin, I described the PR playbook health insurers, tobacco companies and other special interests use to influence public policy, often by deceptive means.

    One tried-and-true tactic is to recruit third parties to help deliver your talking points -- hopefully, individuals and organizations that are held in higher regard by the public than your own company or industry.

    This is a staple of the insurance industry's playbook --my former colleagues know that they're not especially popular. In fact, internal polls I was privy to as an industry executive showed consistently that health insurers were beloved by the public just slightly more than tobacco companies.

    True to form, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the industry's big PR and lobbying group, has rolled out a slick campaign aimed at getting Congress to gut some of ObamaCare's most important consumer protections. ...

    What AHIP and SHOUTAmerica don't say is that most young people will actually be able to get affordable coverage for the first time when ObamaCare is fully implemented on Jan. 1, 2014, either through the expansion of Medicaid or the subsidies that will be available for people making up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($43,560 for an individual and $89,400 for a family of four in 2011, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation). This will enable millions of people, young and old alike, to leave the ranks of the uninsured.

    Yes, a few relatively well-paid young people will see their premiums go up, but many of their parents, who helped put them through school to get decent-paying jobs, will see them go down.

    The status quo that AHIP and friends are trying to preserve works best for a few people, especially insurance company executives whose companies make huge profits by selling junk insurance and gouging older people. It does not work at all for most of the rest of us, and certainly not for most of those young people that SHOUTAmerica claims to represent.

  • Associated Press, courtesy of the New York Times: New Lingo for Consumers: Health Overhaul Glossary. Excerpt: President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law has spawned its own jargon. With the law finally about to take full effect, consumers might want to get familiar with some of the terms...
  • The Commonwealth Fund: Building State Health Insurance Marketplaces: Lessons from the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. By Jean P. Hall. Excerpt: Implementing the Affordable Care Act’s new health insurance marketplaces—formerly known as insurance exchanges—presents challenges as well as opportunities for states. As they move forward with this process, policymakers and administrators can learn from the example of another state-based insurance program, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP).

    The PCIP, which was created under the health reform law and opened for enrollment in July 2010, is a temporary insurance program for people with preexisting conditions, many of whom are turned down when they seek private coverage or are offered unaffordable premiums. The PCIP is meant to serve as a “bridge”—helping provide coverage for sick people until 2014, when they will be able to find insurance through the marketplaces, which are required to offer coverage to all. (Starting in 2014, insurers operating both inside and outside of the marketplaces will be banned from restricting coverage or basing premiums on health status or gender.) As of October 2012, nearly 95,000 people were covered through the PCIP.

    As with the insurance marketplaces, states had the option to administer a PCIP or have the federal government do so for them. Currently 27 states administer their own PCIP, while the federal government administers it for 23 states and the District of Columbia. States running their own programs had broad latitude in designing them. Given this variability in administration, enrollment levels and costs vary considerably from state to state, with enrollment ranging from one person in Vermont to more than 14,000 people in California. ...

    The PCIP experience suggests that while costs in the marketplaces may be high early on, they should decline over time. The elimination of coverage exclusions on the basis of preexisting conditions and the availability of affordable, continuous coverage should help, as should spreading costs across the marketplaces’ broader risk pool. Finally, marketplace administrators in each state may wish to consult their PCIP administrators to learn more about specific issues encountered in outreach, enrollment, and early claims patterns.

  • Interpro Publications HealthPlanMarkets (PDF). Excerpt: Health plan chains gave notice that they will not even bother to apply to participate in health exchanges in half of all states. The revelation at investor conferences is a warning that despite all the political verbiage most private carriers do not need (or want) a large book of business in the small group and individual markets, and have no intention of losing money to sell rich benefits to people with higher-than-average underwriting risk. The timing is no coincidence: many states are still deciding how much price competition they want to impose on the assumption that they will have lots of plans to pick from. But it’s bad news for Blues plans and Wellpoint, often the carriers of last resort.
  • CommonDreams.org, courtesy of Physicians for a National Health Program: Senate Panel Diagnoses Primary Health Care Crisis. News release from the office of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Excerpts: A Senate panel today examined a “major crisis” in primary health care at a time when 30 million more patients will soon get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and worsen an already acute doctor shortage. One in five Americans today live in areas where they do not have adequate access to primary care due to a shortage of providers, according to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Primary Care and Aging Subcommittee.

    “In our country today we are spending almost twice as much per capita on health care as any other major country yet our health outcomes in terms of life expectancy, infant mortality and disease prevention are not particularly good,” Sanders said. “One of the reasons for that is that we have a major crisis regarding primary health care access which results in lower quality health care for our people and greater expenditures.”

    According to a report released at the hearing, as many as 45,000 people die each year because they do not have health insurance and do not get to a doctor on time. A significant reason for the lack of access to care is that less than one-third of all doctors in America today practice primary care, down for half of all physicians 50 years ago. The problem is likely to get worse because many primary care doctors are nearing retirement and fewer and fewer medical students are interested in becoming family practitioners.

  • National Public Radio (NPR): Why Some Families Won't Qualify For Subsidized Health Insurance. By Julie Appleby. Excerpt: Quite a few families with expensive job-based health insurance may be ineligible for federal subsidies to help them buy cheaper coverage through new online insurance markets, under final rules released Wednesday by the Internal Revenue Service. ...

    Under the federal health law, low- and moderate-income workers with job-based coverage that is deemed unaffordable can opt out of it and turn to new marketplaces, called exchanges, to buy subsidized insurance.

    But the rule defines the standard for affordability more narrowly than most consumer groups had hoped. The threshold is defined as less than 9.5 percent of household income to cover the employee's share of premium costs — not on what he or she must pay to cover the entire family, which is generally more expensive.

    Consumer groups had hoped to sway the IRS to base the affordability threshold on the cost of a family plan, saying the rules could prevent some children and spouses from getting coverage. A July report from the Government Accountability Office estimated that a small percentage of uninsured children — 6.6 percent of the total, or at least 460,000 — may be shut out because of how the government proposed to define affordable coverage.

  • Washington Post: Buying health coverage is insanely confusing. Can Obamacare fix that? By Sarah Kliff. Excerpts: In 2007, Massachusetts attempted to do something never achieved anywhere else in the United States. The state tried to make shopping for health insurance a simple – perhaps even pleasant – experience.

    As part of its universal coverage plan, Massachusetts launched the Connector: An online portal where consumers could compare and purchase health insurance plans. The idea was to create something like an Expedia for health coverage, where an array of options would show up on one screen.

    Purchasing health coverage turned out to be more complex than a plane ticket.

    New research shows that more than 40 percent of shoppers found the information difficult to understand. One in five were overwhelmed with choices, and wished someone would help narrow their options. ...

    Next year, 8 million Americans will turn on their computers and attempt to buy health insurance from a Web site like the one Massachusetts built. That prospect has health policy experts and behavioral economists rushing to figure out: How do they make a confusing, overwhelming process really, really easy? ...

    One of the biggest challenges grows out of the fact that buying health insurance is totally unlike most other purchases. A plane ticket or hotel room on Expedia comes with a price tag; the buyer knows it will cost $400, or however much, to fly to their final destination.

    Health insurance is completely different. There are certainly the monthly premiums that a consumer will pay. But there are also deductibles and cost-sharing, which can significantly alter an insurance plan’s out-of-pocket cost.

    What exactly the costumer is purchasing is also a bit uncertain. Different plans have different networks of doctors and will cover various treatments and prescriptions at different levels.

  • New York Times: Report Faults High Fees for Out-of-Network Care. By Roni Caryn Rabin. Excerpts: Just over a year ago, Angel Gonzalez, 36, awoke with searing chest pain at 2 a.m. A friend drove him to the closest emergency room.

    Though he was living on $18,000 a year as a graduate student, Mr. Gonzalez had good insurance and the hospital, St. Charles in Port Jefferson, N.Y., was in his network. But the surgeon who came in to remove Mr. Gonzalez’s gallbladder that Sunday night was not.

    He billed Mr. Gonzalez $30,000, and an assistant billed an additional $30,000. Mr. Gonzalez’s policy covered out-of-network providers, but at a rate it considered appropriate: $2,000. “I was on the hook for more than I made in a year,” Mr. Gonzalez said.

    A health insurance industry report to be released on Friday highlights the exorbitant fees charged by some doctors to out-of-network patients like Mr. Gonzalez. The report, by America’s Health Insurance Plans, or AHIP, contrasts some of the highest bills charged by non-network providers in 30 states with Medicare rates for the same services. Some of the charges, the insurers assert, are 30, 40 or nearly 100 times greater than Medicare rates.

    Insurers hope to spotlight a vexing problem that they say the Affordable Care Act does little to address. “When you’re out of network, it’s a blank check,” said Karen Ignagni, president and chief executive of AHIP. “The consumer is vulnerable to ‘anything goes.’ ” ...

    Among the fees on the report’s list are a $6,205 outpatient office visit to a doctor in Massachusetts for which Medicare would have paid $152; a $12,000 bill for examining a tissue specimen in New York for which Medicare would have paid $128; and a $48,983 surgeon’s fee for a total hip replacement in New Jersey that Medicare would have reimbursed at $1,543. Many of the highest billers were in New York, Texas, Florida and New Jersey.

  • New York Times: Europe Says Drug Makers Paid to Delay a Generic. By James Kanter and Katie Thomas. Excerpts: European antitrust officials on Thursday accused the drug giants Johnson & Johnson and Novartis of colluding to delay the availability of a less expensive generic version of a powerful medication often used to ease severe pain in cancer patients. ...

    Agreements to delay the introduction of generic drugs have come under heightened scrutiny in both Europe and the United States in recent years, with regulators on both sides of the Atlantic concluding that such deals are anticompetitive. In the United States, the Supreme Court is scheduled to take up the issue in March. Typically, such arrangements are a result of patent disputes between brand-name and generic drug makers, although no such dispute was mentioned in the most recent case involving Johnson & Johnson and Novartis. ...

    A preliminary investigation by Mr. Almunia’s office found that the Johnson & Johnson unit in the Netherlands, Janssen-Cilag, made the payments to stop Novartis from selling generic fentanyl skin patches in the Netherlands for more than a year, from July 2005 until December 2006. That kept prices artificially high, according to the European Commission, the European Union’s administrative body that enforces antitrust law. Mr. Almunia’s office would not disclose the amount of money that Janssen-Cilag paid to Sandoz, nor would officials indicate whether the investigation would go beyond the Netherlands.

  • The Commonwealth Fund: Only 11 States and the District of Columbia Have Taken Action to Implement the Affordable Care Act's 2014 Health Insurance Market Reforms. State Action Needed for Full Enforcement of Law's Consumer Protections, or Federal Government Will Step In. By Mary Mahon. Excerpts: Only 11 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws or issued regulations to implement the Affordable Care Act’s major health insurance market reforms that go into effect in 2014, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report. Thirty-nine states have not yet taken action to implement these requirements, potentially limiting their ability to fully enforce the new reforms and ensure that consumers receive the full protections of the law. These reforms include bans on denying people health insurance due to preexisting conditions, a minimum benefit standard, and limits on out-of-pocket costs. ...

    Despite finding that few states have acted to implement the 2014 health insurance market reforms, the authors expect additional state action in 2013. A prior analysis of state action taken to implement the Affordable Care Act’s 2010 health insurance market reforms found that nearly all states ultimately required or encouraged compliance with those reforms, which included bans on lifetime limits on benefits and dependent coverage for young adults up to age 26. The authors note that uncertainty around the law due to last year’s Supreme Court challenge and the recent presidential and congressional elections could have caused states to delay taking action on the 2014 market reforms.

News and Opinion Concerning the "War on the Middle Class"
Minimize "It is a restatement of laissez-faire-let things take their natural course without government interference. If people manage to become prosperous, good. If they starve, or have no place to live, or no money to pay medical bills, they have only themselves to blame; it is not the responsibility of society. We mustn't make people dependent on government- it is bad for them, the argument goes. Better hunger than dependency, better sickness than dependency."

"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.

  • New York Times op-ed: Makers, Takers, Fakers. By Paul Krugman. Excerpts: Republicans have a problem. For years they could shout down any attempt to point out the extent to which their policies favored the elite over the poor and the middle class; all they had to do was yell “Class warfare!” and Democrats scurried away. In the 2012 election, however, that didn’t work: the picture of the G.O.P. as the party of sneering plutocrats stuck, even as Democrats became more openly populist than they have been in decades.

    As a result, prominent Republicans have begun acknowledging that their party needs to improve its image. But here’s the thing: Their proposals for a makeover all involve changing the sales pitch rather than the product. When it comes to substance, the G.O.P. is more committed than ever to policies that take from most Americans and give to a wealthy handful. ...

    Meanwhile, back in Louisiana Mr. Jindal is pushing a plan to eliminate the state’s income tax, which falls most heavily on the affluent, and make up for the lost revenue by raising sales taxes, which fall much more heavily on the poor and the middle class. The result would be big gains for the top 1 percent, substantial losses for the bottom 60 percent. Similar plans are being pushed by a number of other Republican governors as well.

  • Investment News: White is switching sides. By Jonathan Weil. Excerpts: The Securities and Exchange Commission couldn't get Kenneth D. Lewis on any securities law violations after he helped drive Bank of America Corp. into the ground as its chief executive.

    Now the SEC is poised to get his attorney — and Morgan Stanley's too — as its new chairman.

    The critical question is whether Mary Jo White can be as zealous in protecting the investing public's interests as she was in defending her Wall Street clients as a litigator at the white-shoe law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. The transition in mindset back to government service doesn't always come naturally for white-collar defense lawyers.

    The SEC's penny-ante justice for Wall Street crooks, combined with the Justice Department's willful inability to find top executives who committed crimes at major banks, has left many Americans understandably cynical about the way law enforcement works in the United States.

  • New York Times opinion: The Rise of the Permanent Temp Economy. By Erin Hatton. Excerpts: Politicians across the political spectrum herald “job creation,” but frightfully few of them talk about what kinds of jobs are being created. Yet this clearly matters: According to the Census Bureau, one-third of adults who live in poverty are working but do not earn enough to support themselves and their families.

    A quarter of jobs in America pay below the federal poverty line for a family of four ($23,050). Not only are many jobs low-wage, they are also temporary and insecure. Over the last three years, the temp industry added more jobs in the United States than any other, according to the American Staffing Association, the trade group representing temp recruitment agencies, outsourcing specialists and the like.

    Low-wage, temporary jobs have become so widespread that they threaten to become the norm. But for some reason this isn’t causing a scandal. At least in the business press, we are more likely to hear plaudits for “lean and mean” companies than angst about the changing nature of work for ordinary Americans.

    How did we arrive at this state of affairs? Many argue that it was the inevitable result of macroeconomic forces — globalization, deindustrialization and technological change — beyond our political control. Yet employers had (and have) choices. Rather than squeezing workers, they could have invested in workers and boosted product quality, taking what economists call the high road toward more advanced manufacturing and skilled service work. But this hasn’t happened. Instead, American employers have generally taken the low road: lowering wages and cutting benefits, converting permanent employees into part-time and contingent workers, busting unions and subcontracting and outsourcing jobs. They have done so, in part, because of the extraordinary evangelizing of the temp industry, which rose from humble origins to become a global behemoth.

  • New York Times: From Welfare Queens to Disabled Deadbeats. By Paul Krugman. Excerpts: If you want to understand the trouble Republicans are in, one good place to start is with the obsession the right has lately developed with the rising disability rolls. The growing number of Americans receiving disability payments has, for many on the right, become a symbol of our economic and moral decay; we’re becoming a nation of malingerers.

    As Jared Bernstein points out, there’s a factual problem here: a large part of the rise in the disability rolls reflects simple demographics, because aging baby boomers are a lot more likely to have real ailments than those same workers did when they were in their 20s and 30s. The Social Security Administration does a formal adjustment for this reality, and as Jared says, it looks like this...

    It looks a lot less dramatic, doesn’t it? ...

    I mean, when Reagan ranted about welfare queens driving Cadillacs, he was inventing a fake problem — but his rant resonated with angry white voters, who understood perfectly well who Reagan was targeting. But Americans on disability as moochers? That isn’t, as far as I can tell, an especially nonwhite group — and it’s a group that is surely as likely to elicit sympathy as disdain. There’s just no way it can serve the kind of political purpose the old welfare-kicking rhetoric used to perform. ...

    The same goes, more broadly, for the whole nation of takers thing. First of all, a lot of the “taking” involves Social Security and Medicare. And even the growth in means-tested programs is largely accounted for by the Earned Income Tax Credit — which requires and rewards work — and the expansion of Medicaid/CHIP to cover more children. Again, not the greatest of political targets.

  • Reuters, courtesy of the Huffington Post: Treasury Disregarded Own Guidelines, Allowed Executive Raises At Bailed-Out GM, AIG: Report. By Anna Yukhananov. Excerpts: The U.S. Treasury Department failed to curb executive pay last year for the second year running at companies rescued by the government, an internal watchdog charged on Monday.

    The Treasury's pay czar, or "special master," was tasked with limiting "excessive" pay at companies the government bailed out using taxpayer money during the financial crisis.

    But the Office of the Special Master did not follow the rules it had set for compensation, instead letting companies define pay themselves, according to a report by the inspector general for the government's bailout program.

    In 2012, the pay czar acceded to company requests in approving multi-million dollar pay packages and pay hikes for top executives at General Motors, AIG and Ally Financial.

    The pay czar approved all 18 pay raises requested by the companies, for a total of $6.2 million, and approved pay packages of at least $1 million for 68 of the 69 employees at the companies it was overseeing, the report found.

    "While taxpayers struggle to overcome the recent financial crisis and look to the U.S. government to put a lid on compensation for executives of firms whose missteps nearly crippled the U.S. financial system, the U.S. Department of the Treasury continues to allow excessive executive pay," the report said.

  • The Smirking Chimp: As Federal Prosecutors Cash In, Big Bankers Go Unpunished. By Richard Eskow. Excerpts: This anarchic reasoning reached its apotheosis (or nadir) with the Justice Department's recent refusal to indict anyone at HSBC for laundering money on behalf the murderous Mexican drug cartels. Here's what that means in very real terms: If you work at a big bank you can fatten your bonus by breaking the law as many times as you want. You won't even be punished for colluding with crazed drug-dealing killers who have murdered 35,000 people, sometimes by tossing their severed heads onto a club's dance floor or leaving them in the town square to show everybody who's boss. ...

    It's the President and the Attorney General who call the shots, and who will ultimately be judged by their actions -- or lack thereof. Change can only come from the top. What are the prospects?

    Judge for yourselves: Last week the Obama/Holder Justice Department told producers of Frontline's hard-hitting report that "they thought (the bank crime episode) was a hit piece" and that "they will never cooperate" with the program again.

    Ask not for whom the revolving door turns, Wall Street. As of this writing, it still turns for thee.

  • The Smirking Chimp: U.S. Rep. Peter Welch on Amgen’s Sweet Senate Deal. By Bill Moyers. Excerpts: In particular on this crisp January day, I thought about the latest revelation of the skullduggery that often goes on in the shadows below that dome. Just a couple of days before the inaugural festivities, The New York Times published some superb investigative reporting by the team of Eric Lipton and Kevin Sack, and their revelations kept running through my mind. The story told us of a pharmaceutical giant, Amgen, and three senators so close to it they might be entries on its balance sheet: Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus – a Democrat -- and that powerful committee’s ranking Republican, Orrin Hatch. A trio of perpetrators who treat the United States Treasury as if it were a cash-and-carry annex of corporate America.

    The Times story described how Amgen got a huge hidden gift from unnamed members of Congress and their staffers. They slipped an eleventh hour loophole into the New Year’s Eve deal that kept the government from going over the fiscal cliff. And when the sun rose in the morning there it was, a richly embroidered loophole for Amgen that will cost taxpayers -- that's you and me -- a cool half a billion dollars. Yes -- half a billion dollars.

    Amgen is the world’s largest biotechnology firm, a drug manufacturer that sells a variety of medications. The little clause secretly sneaked into the fiscal cliff bill gives the company two more years of relief from Medicare cost controls for certain drugs used by patients on kidney dialysis.

    The provision didn’t mention Amgen by name, but according to reporters Lipton and Sack, the news that it had been tucked into the fiscal cliff deal "was so welcome that the company’s chief executive quickly relayed it to investment analysts.” Tipping them off, it would seem, to a jackpot in the making.

    Amgen has 74 lobbyists on its team in Washington and lobbied hard for that loophole, currying favor with friends at the White House and on Capitol Hill. The Times reporters traced its “deep financial and political ties” to Baucus, McConnell and Hatch, “who hold heavy sway over Medicare payment policy.”

  • The Smirking Chimp: Timothy Geithner Saved Wall Street, not the Economy. By Dean Baker. Excerpts: The accolades for Timothy Geithner came on so thick and heavy in the last week that it's necessary for those of us in the reality-based community to bring the discussion back to earth. The basic facts of the matter are very straightforward. Timothy Geithner and the bailout he helped engineer saved the Wall Street banks. He did not save the economy. ...

    As it is, the economy has already lost more than $7 trillion in output ($20,000 per person) compared with what the Congressional Budget Office projected in January of 2008. We will probably lose at least another $4 trillion before the economy gets back to anything resembling full employment. And, millions of people have seen their lives turned upside down by their inability to get jobs, being thrown out of their homes, or their parents' inability to get a job. And this is all because of the folks in Washington's inability to manage the economy.

    But the Wall Street banks are bigger and fatter than ever. As a result of the crisis, many mergers were rushed through that might have otherwise been subject to serious regulatory scrutiny. For example, J.P. Morgan was allowed to take over Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual, two huge banks that both faced collapse in the crisis. Bank of America took over Merrill Lynch and Countrywide. By contrast, there can be little doubt that without the helping hand of Timothy Geithner, most or all of the Wall Street banks would have been sunk by their own recklessness.

  • AlterNet: Jim Hightower: Let Me Tell You About a Guy Named Jamie's Suffering and Economic Hardship. A true Wall St. sob story. Excerpts: If you are sensitive to stories of human suffering and economic hardship, let me warn you that the following report contains material that could be upsetting, so discretion is advised.

    It's about a fellow named Jamie. He lives in New York City, and he has recently had a very rough go with a large financial institution. Such behemoths can be heartless, so as you can imagine, it's tough to stand up to them. The giant in this case is JPMorgan Chase, Wall Street's biggest bank, and it went after poor Jamie Dimon hard. In the end, the bank took more than half his income.

    It was a bitterly painful experience, but thanks to the indomitable human spirit, Jamie's story has turned from sad to uplifting! Yes, he was down, but not out. Luckily, he had something big going for him in this fight: JPMorgan is his bank. I don't mean he banks there; he's the CEO.

    On Jan. 16, it was announced that JPMorgan's board of directors had docked his pay, awarding him some $12 million less this year than he was given a year ago. Ouch! But there's no need to cry for Jamie. He still is hauling home $11.5 million.

    Yet Wall Streeters are all atwitter about the haughty CEO getting his comeuppance (though I guess getting his pay cut in half would more properly be termed a "come-downance").

    He certainly did have a very bad year in 2012. He presided over a stunning $6.2 billion loss by the bank's chief investment office, due to finagling or incompetence, or both — federal authorities are still investigating. But the high-rolling denizens of Wall Street were shocked by the level of punishment meted out by the bank's board, widely condemning it as harsh. However, Dimon himself merely said of the board's action: "I respect their decision."

    Of course he does! He walked away with his job intact, an $11.5-million wad in his pocket and a sly grin on his face. Many investors and bank regulators (not to mention us commoners) don't consider that level of "punishment" to be much of a deterrent to the kind of executive narcissism and too-big-too-fail carelessness that characterizes today's Wall Street elite.

  • National Academy of Social Insurance: Strengthening Social Security: What Do Americans Want? (PDF) By Jasmine V. Tucker, Virginia P. Reno, and Thomas N. Bethell. Key Findings: Americans value Social Security, want to improve benefits, and are willing to pay for the program.
    • Americans don’t mind paying for Social Security because they value it for themselves (80%), for their families (78%), and for the security and stability it provides to millions of retired Americans, disabled individuals, and children and widowed spouses of deceased workers (84%).
    • 84% believe current Social Security benefits do not provide enough income for retirees, and 75% believe we should consider raising future Social Security benefits in order to provide a more secure retirement for working Americans.
    • 82% agree it is critical to preserve Social Security for future generations even if it means increasing Social Security taxes paid by working Americans, and 87% want to preserve Social Security for future generations even if it means increasing taxes paid by wealthier Americans.
  • Huffington Post: 'Who Pays?' Study Shows Poor, Middle Class Coloradans Pay More Income Taxes Than Rich. By Andrea Rael. Excerpts: A newly released study shows low- and middle-income families in Colorado pay more income taxes than the rich.

    The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) released the study Thursday, titled "Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States.” The study shows that the bottom 20 percent pay an 8.9 percent tax rate in Colorado, compared to the state's top one percent who only pay a 4.6 percent tax rate.

    “Asking the poorest Coloradans to pay more of their income in taxes than the richest, those making half a million dollars or more, violates our sense of fairness,” said Ali Mickelson, Tax Policy Attorney at Colorado Fiscal Institute in a press release. “Colorado needs to change the tax structure so that the richest among us are taking on their fair share of tax responsibility.”

    Colorado income tax uses a flat rate structure across all income levels, along with six other states. ...

    The state ranks 5th lowest in state and local taxes per $1000 of income, but low-income taxpayers pay almost twice as much of their earning in taxes as rich taxpayers do.

  • Reuters: Americans are willing to pay more for Social Security. By Mark Miller. Excerpts: "Social Security will only be able to pay 75 percent of benefits after 2033 if Congress fails to act. That can be fixed by cutting benefits or by increasing taxes. Which do you favor?"

    If you are a member of Washington's political class or a corporate chieftain, you probably favor the benefit cuts. People are living longer, you might reason, so we should raise Social Security's retirement age, reduce inflation increases or cut benefits for the wealthy through means testing.

    But the public has a very different answer, according to a survey released on Thursday.

    The survey finds a strong majority of us favor paying higher taxes to restore Social Security's long-term solvency.

    We do not want benefits cut. If anything, we would like to see them strengthened. That's the view across all lines of political party, income level and age, according to the survey of a representative sample of more than 2,000 Americans.

  • Rolling Stone: Secrets and Lies of the Bailout. The federal rescue of Wall Street didn’t fix the economy – it created a permanent bailout state based on a Ponzi-like confidence scheme. And the worst may be yet to come. By Matt Taibbi. Excerpt: It has been four long winters since the federal government, in the hulking, shaven-skulled, Alien Nation-esque form of then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, committed $700 billion in taxpayer money to rescue Wall Street from its own chicanery and greed. To listen to the bankers and their allies in Washington tell it, you'd think the bailout was the best thing to hit the American economy since the invention of the assembly line. Not only did it prevent another Great Depression, we've been told, but the money has all been paid back, and the government even made a profit. No harm, no foul – right?


    It was all a lie – one of the biggest and most elaborate falsehoods ever sold to the American people. We were told that the taxpayer was stepping in – only temporarily, mind you – to prop up the economy and save the world from financial catastrophe. What we actually ended up doing was the exact opposite: committing American taxpayers to permanent, blind support of an ungovernable, unregulatable, hyperconcentrated new financial system that exacerbates the greed and inequality that caused the crash, and forces Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to increase risk rather than reduce it. The result is one of those deals where one wrong decision early on blossoms into a lush nightmare of unintended consequences. We thought we were just letting a friend crash at the house for a few days; we ended up with a family of hillbillies who moved in forever, sleeping nine to a bed and building a meth lab on the front lawn.

If you hire good people and treat them well, they will try to do a good job. They will stimulate one another by their vigor and example. They will set a fast pace for themselves. Then if they are well led and occasionally inspired, if they understand what the company is trying to do and know they will share in its sucess, they will contribute in a major way. The customer will get the superior service he is looking for. The result is profit to customers, employees, and to stcckholders. —Thomas J. Watson, Jr., from A Business and Its Beliefs: The Ideas That Helped Build IBM.

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