The Tao of Politics

One of my main concerns is: how can I make a difference? There are thousands of political blogs out there. It’s easy to get lost in that ocean. So I may blog about politics on occasion, or I may blog about health issues, depending on where my interests lead me, and where I feel I can contribute something of significance.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Happy New Year
Anyone who thought that the world was getting to be a better place should look at what IBM is doing to its employees: they are changing their pension program from a guaranteed plan to a 401K plan. Sorry guys, but that's a step down the security/economic ladder. The world is beginning to be a more insecure place when a lifetime of work receives less and less compensation. If IBM, one of the world's largest companies, can't give its employees a traditional pension, we've got trouble fellows.

Explanation and Cooperation Needed
Something I don't understand: China only has something like three bird flu deaths, whereas Turkey (BIG NEWS) now has three deaths, with many more ill. CHINA, this huge country, which has all those billions of birds, and those billion people, and all those unsanitary conditions, only has three bird flu deaths? That doesn't seem right. I'm sorry, but I just don't believe those figures, not that it really matters, I suppose, how or whether China reports its bird flu deaths. What really matters, in the long run I guess, is how the virus develops, and whether it develops the capability to jump human to human, and what degree of lethality it has if and when it develops that capability, and how it spreads after that. I don't know if China is under-reporting its bird flu deaths. It's a big country, and it would be easy to miss some infections, or misdiagnose others. I just hope China is leveling with the rest of the world. We're all in this together. Millions stand to die if H5N1 gets out of hand, without regard to culture or national borders. And it is a disease that is cropping up initially in these oriental countries. These countries owe it to the rest of the world to share whatever information they have. Now is not the time for secrecy. If China is contributing to a pandemic, then it can also contribute whatever information it has to help fight it.

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  • At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Donna said…

    Hey, I thought you had dropped out of the blogosphere. I couldn't get to your site a few times and I believed you were gone. I'm glad you're still "out there." I've put you back on my blogroll. Sorry, I ever took you off! Happy New Year to you!

  • At 8:24 AM, Blogger MichaelBains said…

    I don't know that IBM has much choice but to change something. You're absolutely right that the folk who contracted for a Pension legally deserve better than a straight 401k transition. It's not like IBM is planning on folding up shop and closing all its doors, putting all its employees back to the Help Wanted sections. Nor should the company abuse that possibility in their renegotiations of retirement programs which lured employees to their enterprise in the first place.

    But it's like paying part of one's own Health Insurance; a little income security had better be forthcoming for the trade, and that can't be reserved for just the Big Money folks. IBM has changed its business nature several times in trying to adjust to the technology age it helped to create.

    Whether or not its employees are adept at adapting to such changes is only partially IBM's responsibility. But it is definitely partly so because they used it as Capital to gain the employees' service in the first place.

  • At 10:18 AM, Blogger Ed Bremson said…

    Good insight. Thanks.

  • At 7:06 PM, Anonymous mikem said…

    I've started paying more attention to the bird-flu since I began visiting your site.(Not forgetting loss of life), but potential economic losses could also be devastating! Up to 30% of our work force could be unable to work at any one time.
    Talk about economic devastation!


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