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IBM Businesses

IBM Hides the Bodies, Eyes US Government Billions 410

Posted by kdawson
from the what-layoffs dept.
theodp writes "As his company was striving to hide the bodies of its laid-off North American workers, IBM CEO Sam Palmisano stood beside President Barack Obama and waxed patriotic: 'We need to reignite growth in our country,' Palmisano said. 'We need to undertake projects that actually will create jobs.' While Sam positions IBM to get a slice of the $825 billion stimulus pie, Big Blue is quietly cutting thousands of jobs and refusing to release the numbers or locations, arguing that SEC disclosure rules don't apply since the US job cuts are immaterial in its big global picture. The layoffs included hundreds in East Fishkill, coming early in the year after NY taxpayers paid IBM $45 million not to cut additional jobs in East Fishkill in 2008. Some are questioning whether IBM incentives are worth the cost."
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IBM Hides the Bodies, Eyes US Government Billions

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  • Nobody... (Score:5, Funny)

    by darinfp (907671) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @06:52AM (#26683263)

    Ever got fired for workign for IBM...

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Sunday February 01, 2009 @06:53AM (#26683267)

    It is far better to cut off a dying limb than to have the infection seep back into the whole body.

    If the division was in such a pathetic state that the state had to beg IBM not to cut it in good times, is it any surprise that IBM decided to cut it in the bad times?

    Business isn't charity, no matter what those enlightened European [timesonline.co.uk] countries may believe.

    • by Kokuyo (549451) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @07:16AM (#26683331) Journal

      No, no it really isn't.

      But I really don't see the point of the government giving international corporations like IBM money. I'd wager a bet that with those 45 million they could have helped the laid off workers for more and longer than giving it to IBM.

      Same with GM. I have no idea how much your government spent on... 'that', but I just know that with one billion dollars you can give 20'000 people 50'000 dollars, each. I'm just asking myself whether rerouting such money directly into the pockets of those laid off wouldn't make more sense. Give them the opportunity to not worry too much for a year, get some additional education and try elsewhere.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by penix1 (722987)

        The automotive "bailout" (it wasn't only GM) was in the form of $18 Bn low interest loans that have to be repaid unlike the bank's $700 Bn or this $850 Bn pork barrel. This country has a fucked up sense of priorities that way.

        • by DavidShor (928926)
          From what I understand, the TARP program mostly involved capital injections in exchange for equity in the companies. Presumably, we could sell the equity at a later date when/if the market recovers.

          Other than that, most of the fed's actions have been loans, and at pretty high interest rates! Our deal with AIG involved a loan at Libor+450, which is a higher rate then most credit cards.

        • by blitzkrieg3 (995849) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @01:52PM (#26685493)
          Why was it so important to give Wall Street $700B, even after it fucked up so badly?

          Oh that's right, because they're refusing to loan out money even to reputable companies like GM and Chrysler.
      • by cheftw (996831)

        But that would be socialism! It did happen in America you know.

        • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @11:14AM (#26684307) Journal

          The New York Legislature never should have given that 24 million dollars to IBM. (Or the Pennsylvania Legislature give 10 million to save Boscovs.) The jobs "saved" do not earn 24 million dollars, so it's a lossy investment. Only an idiot would invest 24 million to get back only 1-2 million dollars worth of wage taxes.

          • by powerlord (28156) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @11:58AM (#26684609) Journal

            Only an idiot would invest 24 million to get back only 1-2 million dollars worth of wage taxes.

            I think you meant:

            Only an idiot politician would invest 24 million to get back only 1-2 million dollars worth of wage taxes and enough votes to make his re-election a shoe in despite his idiot decision.

            Remember, the money the politician spent on keeping the company in the area doesn't just translate into increased taxes from wages.

            It doesn't just translate into increased taxes on materials spent, and other service and supply industries feeding into that company.

            The money spent translates into a situation the politician can point to and say "I just saved your job, vote for me!".

      • by Samschnooks (1415697) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @09:13AM (#26683687)

        I have no idea how much your government spent on... 'that', but I just know that with one billion dollars you can give 20'000 people 50'000 dollars, each. I'm just asking myself whether rerouting such money directly into the pockets of those laid off wouldn't make more sense.

        Because big screen TVs and beer sales would go through the roof?

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          *ding ding ding*

          I work at IBM - trust me when I say it is in fact a soulless corp. Not evil, just soulless. We don't even need money - we had a good year in 2008, even in the 4th quarter. Hell, I'm even getting a bonus from last year we did so well! We sure as hell don't need taxpayer money.
        • by athlon02 (201713)

          I had that thought too. If we're going to give money to individuals at all, it should be to their debts (homes, student loans, etc.). And it should go to those who have a track record of working hard, but just ran into tough times beyond their abilities. It still helps them, without the temptation to waste money on non-essentials. If we're going to spend our grand-children and great grand-children's tax dollars, we owe it to them to at least do something intelligent with the money.

          • by DavidShor (928926) <{supergeek717} {at} {gmail.com}> on Sunday February 01, 2009 @12:02PM (#26684623) Homepage
            That really is the opposite of what we'd want. If the financial sector was working, then saving would equal investment, which boosts aggregate demand. The idea being that someone pays his debt down, the bank gives it to a business, and the business buys things, and everything works out well.

            But since the financial sector isn't working, so if someone saves, the bank just sits on the money and it disappears. Because of that, a large increase in savings would cause a rather large decrease in aggregate demand, which would causes businesses to close, which causes further decreases in aggregate demand... that process ends at the great depression.

            To prevent that, we want the government to spend their money boosting aggregate demand to compensate. Government spending is one way to do it, but there are limits to how many roads you can build within a couple months. So some money will be given to individuals.

            But the key point, is that the money given to individuals needs to be *spent*, not saved!

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by c (8461)

          > Because big screen TVs and beer sales would go through the roof?

          Now that's an economic stimulus plan the average Joe can understand and support.

          c.

          • by chill (34294) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @12:08PM (#26684653) Journal

            The average Joe *did* support it and got behind it when the Bush Administration sent everyone a $600-$1,200 "tax rebate" last year. There was a measurable spike in electronics purchases. So much so it was named as a reason there isn't going to be another such direct payment in Obama's stimulus package. All those precious electronic gadgets are made overseas, mostly in China. The money barely slowed down as it exited the country. The gov't was hoping people would purchase things like durable consumer goods made in the U.S., or put it towards a down-payment on a car, etc.

            Suckers.

            For my part I purchased a new American-made deluxe Weber grill and bought it at a local, independent shop. Both factors (local purchase, American-made) *were* important factors in my purchase. Lots of local farms in the Midwest to purchase grill supplies like ribs, steaks, burgers, bratwurst, etc. Mmmmmmm...I gotta brush the snow off later today and fire that puppy up!

        • by rpillala (583965)

          Beer sales are increasing now without any special bonuses for workers facing hard times. There was a story on the radio [npr.org] about this a couple of days ago. There was the owner of a liquor store saying that business was booming, and some other dude talking about how instead of going to a game, he was more likely to buy a case of beer and watch it at home.

      • by aurispector (530273) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @09:44AM (#26683825)

        ...but I just know that with one billion dollars you can give 20'000 people 50'000 dollars, each. I'm just asking myself whether rerouting such money directly into the pockets of those laid off wouldn't make more sense. Give them the opportunity to not worry too much for a year, get some additional education and try elsewhere.

        Wouldn't it be better if the government didn't to take half of people's money in the first place? Your average homeowner gets about a third of his income lopped off in withholding, then another chunk in sales taxes and property taxes take the rest. How great would it be if everyone's earnings were suddenly doubled?

        Even when they have the best of intentions you can't rely on government to do the right thing - look at both of the trillion dollar bailout packages: pure pork and waste. The process of government is inevitably biased by the actions of special interests, self interest of the politicians and plain old human stupidity.

        • by Skreems (598317) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:53AM (#26684191) Homepage

          Wouldn't it be better if the government didn't to take half of people's money in the first place? Your average homeowner gets about a third of his income lopped off in withholding, then another chunk in sales taxes and property taxes take the rest. How great would it be if everyone's earnings were suddenly doubled?

          Pretty great for a while. Less great when the roads start falling apart, criminals realize the police can't afford bullets, the jails have to release all the inmates at once, the number of under-educated people around you starts increasing because the schools have shut down, and half your family dies from tainted food because the agencies that impose quality controls have disappeared.

          It's not like bailouts are the only thing we fund with taxes, you know. There are actually a hell of a lot of services that benefit you directly on a daily basis. Eliminate taxes and you'll end up either losing those services entirely, or else paying for them out of pocket anyway.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by rho (6063)

            Yeah, 'cause our roads are in such great shape now, the cops are doing a bang-up job, we're producing public-school Einsteins at the rate of E=mc^2, and by golly were going to eat to the bottom of this jar of salmonella-laced peanut butter if it kills us.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              Yeah, 'cause our roads are in such great shape now,

              They're paved, aren't they?

              the cops are doing a bang-up job,

              At least you have cops

              we're producing public-school Einsteins at the rate of E=mc^2

              An energy is not a rate, though I guess you're proving your own point.

              and by golly were going to eat to the bottom of this jar of salmonella-laced peanut butter if it kills us.

              Good luck with that. In your world without any taxes you would probably be eating tainted food for real.

          • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @11:21AM (#26684347) Journal

            Roads are funded by gasoline taxes, so a cut in income tax would not affect them at all.

            Police waste a lot of time chasing non-violent criminals. If they stopped bothering people smoking marijuana while watching the Superbowl (a "crime" that harms absolutely no one except the smoker), they'd have LOTS of resources to go after the actual thieves and murderers.

            Schools are funded by school taxes, and therefore a cut in income tax would not affect them at all.

            And finally:

            Most government agencies, in my own government experience at the FAA, have 60-65% of workers who sit-around doing nothing all day long, except surfing the net. They could easily layoff those persons (same way a corporation trims the fat), and still get the same amount of work done.

            • by DavidShor (928926)
              You still have to cover health care, social security, and defense. That's 90% of our budget.

              Keep in mind, any health care reforms you make to save money must take information asymmetry into account, as well as the public's refusal to see people die from lack of health care. Any social security reform must take into account that the public is not going to let large numbers of old people live in poverty(Forcing a program of either outright government pensions or forced savings programs like social security)

          • by marco.antonio.costa (937534) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @11:24AM (#26684361)

            Slashdot needs a "-1, Wrong" moderation option.

            Definitely for your post there it does.

            So tell me, how did the US do without income tax until 1913? Was the family death rate at 50% due to a lack of FDA to make sure they didn't buy poisoned food? Was the prison population more than half its capacity composed of non-violent drug offenders there due to Federal minimum sentencing laws? Was private education non-existent or worse than the complete fail of the 'Hold-all-children-behind' public monopoly?

            Basically only the posting of roads is the non-foolish part of your post, and a 1% uniform non-protective tariff would be more than enough for the Federal gov't to cover the US in tarmac, if they could restrict their spending to their strictly limited and enumerated powers under the US Constitution.

            • by DavidShor (928926) <{supergeek717} {at} {gmail.com}> on Sunday February 01, 2009 @12:15PM (#26684707) Homepage
              "So tell me, how did the US do without income tax until 1913?"

              90% of the federal budget is spent on Health Care, Pensions, and Defense. Before 1913, the government(state, local, or federal) spent money on all of these things, and there was a national consensus that these things were a public priority.

              The thing is, that all of these things have gotten *a lot more expensive* relative to the rest of the economy, since the price of labor has skyrocketed. This is a rather textbook case of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baumol's_cost_disease/ [wikipedia.org] . It's why the British army was able to fund an army of a couple million a century ago for a fraction of the cost that they now spend to maintain an army of 200,000.

              "Was private education non-existent or worse than the complete fail of the 'Hold-all-children-behind' public monopoly? "

              Private education was essentially non-existent, and probably less prevalent then it is now. Wide-scale compulsory public education became widespread way before 1914.

              The reason costs have exploded, is that the productivity of labor in teaching doesn't increase very much over time, while the productivity of labor in the general economy has skyrocketed. Once again, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baumol's_cost_disease/ [wikipedia.org].

        • by DavidShor (928926)

          "Wouldn't it be better if the government didn't to take half of people's money in the first place? Your average homeowner gets about a third of his income lopped off in withholding, then another chunk in sales taxes and property taxes take the rest. How great would it be if everyone's earnings were suddenly doubled?"

          As it is now, taxes are too low to pay for the government programs that the public seems to really want. Remember: Health Care, Defense, Social Security, and interest on our debt make up literal

          • As it is now, taxes are too low to pay for the government programs that the public seems to really want. Remember: Health Care, Defense, Social Security, and interest on our debt make up literally 90% of the federal budget. Unless someone is to propose deep cuts in these programs, any populist moaning on taxes strikes me as a bit annoying.

            I have to agree; task #1 would be to balance the budget first, long before you start lowering taxes.

            Instead, I'd concentrate on fixing our tax structure so people aren't spending $50/year to figure out their taxes. Reducing pork - there's all sorts of incentive programs out there the feds run that state and local agencies chase to buy equipment and run programs that, if it was 'their own' money they wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole - See the bridge to nowhere(local airport), Alaska.

            We have more federal

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by wellingj (1030460)

            As it is now, taxes are too low to pay for the government programs that the non-tax paying public seems to really want.

            Fixed that for you.

        • At lower income levels withholding's closer to 5-10% and you'd still get a refund on that.
    • by Xiroth (917768) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @07:59AM (#26683461)

      Uh, wait, you're calling Italy enlightened, even in sarcasm? The country with a government so far-right nationalistic that it's flirting with a return to fascism?

      I mean, I'm not sure where you're from, exactly, but seems beyond belief that you'd lump them in with the mid-left 'enlightened' northerners. Perhaps you should consider breaking the continent down into slightly smaller slices.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mooreti1 (1123363)
      I agree with you completely; business isn't a charity. At the same time, though, the business has a social responsibility and IBM is ignoring that by asking for tax payer money while trimming their costs by laying off workers. If this is the IBM strategy then the fed's need to make it a mandate that executive bonuses and perks are frozen until the stockholders begin seeing ongoing, positive returns for a specific number of years. After all, business isn't a charity.
  • sharks circling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @06:56AM (#26683279)
    this is why using tax payers money to solve private businesses problems is never right. at most issue low interest short term loans to ease cash flow issues. never just wholesale billion dollar give aways because it'll slide right into the CEO's and exec's pockets.
    • by giorgiofr (887762)

      this is why using tax payers money to do anything is never right.

      Fixed that for you

      • Bzzzz.

        Spending taxpayer dollars for tasks that benefit ALL the people are legitimate. For example, providing a navy to guard the shores from invasion benefits all citizens. Providing mail service benefits all citizens. (Hence the phrase "for the common welfare" meaning "everyone's welfare", not just a select few. Nobody is excluded.)

  • by Goffee71 (628501) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @06:56AM (#26683285) Homepage
    ...to the pork barrel highboard, his company has been making billons for decades, but thinks it can screw some more in 'this time of need'.

    He steps over the bodies of the fallen, leaps into the air and does a perfect belly flop into the barrel, with a belly laugh for effect - he'll get good style marks for that.

    Sixes from five of the judges,only a 5.7 from China and billions for a wealthy corporation! Sam's gotta be pleased with that result.
    • Unfortunately for Sam an angry citizen in L.A. has decided to exercise his second amendment rights and kill the tyrant who stole billions in taxpayer dollars.

  • by damburger (981828) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @06:59AM (#26683291)
    Last time they left bodies in their wake, the Allies found most of them...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2009 @07:20AM (#26683347)

    Some are questioning whether IBM incentives are worth the cost."

    Even in the linked article, they're only questioning how much to pay IBM -- not whether to pay them. It amazes me that local officials do this so often, when there's no real proof these sorts of incentives are a net gain. Localities pay hundreds of millions of dollar for sports team's stadiums and get no direct profit sharing, cities offer multi-million dollar packages - or in Seattle's case, even build an egregious trolley line - for businesses and don't even pretend to have a measure of the monetary benefit to the community for the given initial outlay. I always wonder how much these pointless incentives come from honest incompetence versus corruption of the government officials.

    • by calmofthestorm (1344385) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @08:13AM (#26683497)

      Are you honestly suggesting that duly-elected officials in this fine Christian nation would even consider putting corporate interests over the welfare of those they represent, should the two come into conflict?

    • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @09:32AM (#26683765)

      Some are questioning whether IBM incentives are worth the cost."

      Even in the linked article, they're only questioning how much to pay IBM -- not whether to pay them. It amazes me that local officials do this so often, when there's no real proof these sorts of incentives are a net gain. Localities pay hundreds of millions of dollar for sports team's stadiums and get no direct profit sharing, cities offer multi-million dollar packages - or in Seattle's case, even build an egregious trolley line - for businesses and don't even pretend to have a measure of the monetary benefit to the community for the given initial outlay. I always wonder how much these pointless incentives come from honest incompetence versus corruption of the government officials.

      The fundamental issue is that these payments don't 'create jobs" but just decide *where* a company will locate. As a result, they are a net loss since most companies would locate somewhere and create the jobs; just not in *your* backyard.

      If localities would all stop paying them I'd bet that many companies would locate in the same areas as they do with payments. Why? Companies still want low taxes, people who can do the jobs, access to transportation routes, etc. The cash is just a sweetener.

      I've seen some economic "studies" done to support such payments and I wish I could sell whatever it is the localities are smoking cause they numbers have no relationship to reality.

      So why do they do it? Politicians like to tout how many *jobs* they created. Especially near elections. Cities want sports teams, even if they are a net loss and will probably bail when a better deal come along. So we continue to transfer wealth from taxpayers to private corporations and ell good about it because "we're creating jobs."

      • >>>So why do they do it? Politicians like to tout how many *jobs* they created.

        "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury." - Author Unknown. Early 1900s.*

        This is why voting rights were originally restricted to those with land, because those without land

  • Hold on... (Score:5, Funny)

    by CrackedButter (646746) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @08:04AM (#26683477) Homepage Journal
    So is IBM the bad guy now I just need to know before I comment.
    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      They always have been to a degree, but these days there are other equally evil companies to provide some competition. I'm sure you know who they are.

      I'm of the opinion that the only reason they're still around as a company is because of blind corporate fanboy-ism, coupled with tying people into proprietary solutions. I'm not saying they don't have some good stuff available, but there is much overpriced proprietary crap being pushed by their sales people and their purchasing department golf buddies.

      They'r
    • Re:Hold on... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by timeOday (582209) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @11:35AM (#26684439)
      "Bad" as in "round up the villagers with pitchforks and torches," or "bad" as in "you know, maybe a big international corporation with no particular allegiance to the US doesn't need US taxpayer subsidies" bad? They're quite different. I can respect what they do without wanting to donate, can't I?
    • >>>So [corporations over 1 billion dollars in size] the bad guy now. I just need to know before I comment.

      There. Fixed that for you. ;-) In my view large corporations are Greed incarnate. They have no soul and therefore no morality. They don't care which bodies they squash, or which wallets they steal money from, and they have no obligation to the voters except to make stock prices rise as quickly as possible. Greed incarnate.

      "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our lib

  • As an IBMer... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2009 @08:10AM (#26683487)

    ...they're so disorganized and flat-out dishonest with their employees that I say screw giving them any incentives, stimulus, or any other kind of special help. They need none.

    All IBM has done since Gerstner is coast, layoff, reorg, and outsource. No significant new technology, major divestitures (heck, we sold off our entire networking arm to AT&T). The first thing Palmissano did in his video address after taking over as CEO is tell sales "don't let the engineers tell you no". Great idea - it led to vaprous announcements, selling technology we couldn't produce, and atrophied all of our internal systems, investment, and talent. Growth targets are consistently at bubble levels to ensure no one gets reasonable bonuses, and in the lead up to the firings in Fishkill managers were told to downrate employees on their PBC's to limit severance payments.

    And no, I wasn't one of the ones laid off. If I had a better nest egg I might welcome it, freeing me from that blasted place. In the meantime, I have a family to support...

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @08:26AM (#26683531) Journal

    Did you ever think that these huge corporations would perform just as well, or even better, if top executives didn't exist, or just never did anything? So, if the company has good products and the economy is good, it prospers. And if the economy is bad, or the products are bad, the company suffers. That's what a company without top brass with golden parachutes, would do. The absurdly overpaid executives should be the ones who can turn a company around, whose leadership actually makes a difference.

    But, as we could see with the big 3 car manufacturers and basically every big publicly traded company (in private companies you can bet your sweet ass that there's an owner that will keep an eye on the managers), executives don't do a lick of a difference. When times are tough, these companies tank - and ask for bailouts.

    It's a bailout for incompetence, and Obama's administration would be foolish to support them. But it's too late - from the way the big 3 car manufacturers have been bailed out, I see more incompetence being rewarded.

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      But it's too late - from the way the big 3 car manufacturers have been bailed out, I see more incompetence being rewarded.

      The biggest public employer in the U.S.? The Government. I foresee them asking for the biggest bailout of them all.

    • by ROBOKATZ (211768) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:26AM (#26684021)
      I can't find an online reference for this, but supposedly Warren Buffet once started out an earnings call with, "We would have done much better this year if I had never come in to work."
    • by powerlord (28156) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @12:14PM (#26684697) Journal

      It's a bailout for incompetence, and Obama's administration would be foolish to support them. But it's too late - from the way the big 3 car manufacturers have been bailed out, I see more incompetence being rewarded.

      One thing to remember, is that the car manufacturers, as opposed to ALL the other bailouts, asked for short term low interest loans to keep going, because the credit market had frozen, and they couldn't get the loans they needed.

      Every other bailout was a free handout to the company (including AIG TWICE!). While I'm not saying I supported the money paid to the car manufacturers, there is a world of difference between what they were asking for and got, and what other companies got almost without asking for it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DavidShor (928926)
        "One thing to remember, is that the car manufacturers, as opposed to ALL the other bailouts, asked for short term low interest loans to keep going, because the credit market had frozen, and they couldn't get the loans they needed."

        Sorry, that isn't true. Most of the money we've given has been with the Cash-Equity formula, where we give them money in exchange for equity in their company. Either that, or we gave them high, not low, interest loans.

        "Every other bailout was a free handout to the company (inc

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jcnnghm (538570)

      I hate to be the one to have to break it to you, but somebody has to steer the ship. The fact of the matter is that most people are not good at leading, and are not good at making correct business decisions. A company without people in a leadership position would quickly falter because resources would be unevenly applied.

      This is regularly seen in companies run by engineers. What generally happens is that the engineers believe that they can handle everything, after all they're certainly intelligent enough

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Forge a revolutionary Leninist-Trotskyist workers party! Sweep away capitalist anarchy and barbarism with international socialist revolution!

  • by Wansu (846) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @09:19AM (#26683709)

    The incentives don't appear to work as several states have already found out. Invariably, companies receiving these incentives do not hold up their end of the bargain. And yet this practice continues. This is a kind of socialism too. Where's the outrage?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I would argue it's closer to corporatism...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dan667 (564390)
      it is corporate welfare and it has always been a no gain practice.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Who is the most inefficient? Government workers! People who have no accountability, can steal money from taxpayers at a whim, and possess no real incentive to ever to a good job or improve themselves. So now that companies have gotten large enough to fail, the dumbest of all are taking them over. This will lead to greater failure because it is sucking in money from better people. Russia tried this approach, and the people starved... Americans are fat, but how long will we last when our bread lines run

  • by DaMattster (977781) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:04AM (#26683903)
    This is the problem when government does not place restrictions on a bailout package. Our government wrote a blank check on us to bailout the results of extreme corporate greed and stupidity. It was incredibly assinine to think that trading mortgages like securities was a good idea. And, now, Uncle Sam turns around like the patient older parent and says, "Oh it's okay .... we forgive you .... here is an 820b allowance." This money should *not* have gone to corporations but should go towards keeping people in their homes. This is the key to beginning recovery. I must say that I am severely disappointed in Obama not seeing this fundamental fact. We should have let these greedy corporations fold under their own weight. We have set a dangerous precedence now for future troubled economic times wherein corporations can say, "Hey, you helped us before!", as an argument for more welfare.
    • by Björn (4836) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @11:01AM (#26684229)
      You can find historic examples of how to handle a financial like this one. In the early 90-ies Sweden experience a housing bubble [wikipedia.org] similar to what has happened in the US. The state bailed out the banks, but unlike the US the state also took control over the banks. Here is NYT article [nytimes.com] about it. As a result the Swedish economy bounced back and most, if not all, of the money used to rescue the banks have been returned to the taxpayers. This was done by a right-wing government. This is in contrast to Japan where the Japanese government did nearly nothing in similar situation [wikipedia.org] a few years before. Japans is still suffering the consequences of the resulting recession.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheSync (5291)

        This is in contrast to Japan where the Japanese government did nearly nothing in similar situation a few years before

        Regarding Japan's Lost Decade [aei.org], I suggest you review the data. Here is what actually happened:

        1) Bad initial monetary policy, the Bank of Japan actually boosted the discount rate from 4.75 percent to 6 percent in August 1990 and held it at that level until June 1991. This was a similar mistake to the monetary contraction by the US Fed from 1929 to 1933.

        2) Japan engaged in large stimulus pack

  • by LordNimon (85072) on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:27AM (#26684025)
    I just don't understand why any American wants to work for IBM. Granted, these days, any job is godsend. But in a year or so, this recession will be over and IBM will probably start growing again, like other tech companies. I have little respect for any American who accepts a job at IBM, given a choice. Years ago I used to work there, and I never got the sense that IBM appreciated its American workers.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:52AM (#26684179)

      Well, it's gotta beat the security guard job I ended up with after being laid off from HP. Not much of a market in tech for us over-50 geezers these days. If IBM offered me a job remotely resembling what I was doing before this, I'd take it in a shot.

      This relentless pursuit of ever-fatter profits at the expense of the employees who helped get companies where they are is ruining our economy and our country. Sure, they may be helping their short-term bottom line and making the stockholders happy, but when every company is laying off massive chunks of their workforce, they're depriving each other of prospective customers. Somebody's gotta buy the stuff they sell for them to keep making money, but they're taking away people's ability to do that.

      (Posting anonymously, just in case someone where I work sees this and recognizes my user name. I may be bitter, but I'm not stupid....)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Your comment about taking away each other's customers by laying off big chunks of workers is true and if I had mod points, I'd mod your comment up.

        These layoffs are scaring everyone else and making them stop buying anything. The ones laid off certainly aren't spending except on absolute essentials until their money/retirement/savings run out, etc.

        It's the economic death spiral and is becoming its own self-fulfilling prophecy.

        It is getting scary out there. I hope it doesn't happen to me, but you nev
  • IBM is strange... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2009 @10:59AM (#26684215)

    First IBM manages to post a 'strong quarter' (though in depth analysis by some indicates serious problems underscoring the superficially nice summary).

    Then, the CEO sends an email to the whole company saying while other companies are cutting back, IBM is going to be different because they think it is important to invest long term in its people because IBM can afford to.

    The next day, they execute the first wave of layoffs.

    As layoffs continue, they try to say things about 'accelerating workforce rebalancing through resource actions' to pretend it is somehow different from everyone else. Notably, they have architected the whole thing it so that they feel disclosing the details to the SEC is not required.

    I guess it may be different, maybe IBM is trying to finally achieve a goal under the smokescreen of recession-induced lay-offs. They are ditching people in the US with high years of service as they reduce numbers to allow for future overseas growth *despite* relying chiefly upon the US market for revenue still.

    I still work at IBM (for the moment), but this recent activity has really frustrated me. The BS is so transparent and yet they shovel it on us anyway. If IBM were at least forthcoming about it, I might retain some shred of respect, but they are being so slimy about it.

    My conflict is lack of viable choice in my area and in the industry. Doing in-house IT for various companies has lacked the technical challenge I want, as well as a salary ceiling that goes with that level of expectation. Small business/startups are even less certain than IBM employment. Other healthy hardware providers don't tend to volunteer to help with complex application of the gear. I guess HP would be the other candidate, but they aren't any better and aren't where I live.

You can tell how far we have to go, when FORTRAN is the language of supercomputers. -- Steven Feiner

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