back to article IBM approves Obama's IT stimulus package

If you were the incoming president of the United States, and you wanted to gauge the effect of an economic stimulus package geared to information technology as a means to create jobs, who would you ask for advice? The economists at the Labor Department? The hot shots at IDC and Gartner? Or maybe the economists at MIT, the …


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  1. Keith Doyle

    Is it Real or is it Memorex?

    It strikes me that the *promise* of a stimulus package is rather more stimulating than the reality of it. Perhaps that's the point. Light a fire under it and hope something catches before someone notices the check is going to bounce...

  2. Anonymous Coward


    Perhaps they want a bail out (like Ford, Chrysler and the US Banks) rather than having to take drastic measures viz :

  3. Hud Dunlap
    Black Helicopters

    Create jobs for whom?

    Illegal immigrants, outsourced workers? It is funny that they never say for Americans.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    $33,000 per job?

    $60bn / 900k = $33k/job. So WTF? Are these going to be six month contracts? Cause I can tell you that you won't find a very good IT person in the US for $33k/yr.

    Or maybe by the time they reck the economy more we will all be begging for whatever we can get.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ...long term effects ?

    "What such a stimulus package might do is cushion the blow of a bad economy to server, storage, and networking equipment makers looking for some big projects to bid on. But that is a short-term phenomenon, and once the gear is bought and the implementation is done, the jobs are over."

    The jobs are not over if IBM gets to sign support contracts after the implementation. Then again that's no good to the US economy because IBM will then off-shore the support jobs as usual to India / China .

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    30B is enough to move all those Indian and Chinese jobs back onshore

    The question however is how to keep them. Without some form of protectionist measures it will be nearly impossible to keep all of these jobs onshore and they will leak offshore right after the stimulus expires. And the only country to be able to use protectionism is Russia, not USA. Long live globalisation and the WTO.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Electronic Health Records

    The United States (and a good few other countries) have a shortage of nurses, and will continue to have a shortage for the foreseeable future. So far, the shortages have been plugged by attracting foreign nurses, but now their home countries are having their own shortages, and trying to keep them there. Electronic health records can improve the efficiency of nurses who spend half their time waiting for someone else to send paperwork (and periodically calling back to ask where it is). The jobs "destroyed" by this piece of IT are and will be vacant. It has needed doing for a long time, but nobody wanted to take the costs of getting it started, since the savings will be spread across hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, medicare, and the VA (actually the VA has made excellent progress in this area, but could use some cooperation from the rest of the industry). Government spending in this area will create jobs in building and installing the system, as well as in managing the running system, and will improve healthcare in the United States. It's the sort of thing that governments are supposed to spend money on. If the current situation gives them a good excuse, then that's just fine.

    By the way, I know that creating a culture that respects the training and ability of nurses, so they wouldn't get so fed up that they need to quit would also help, but that's going to be harder to accomplish.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Brent Gardner

    The problem might be the definition of an IT job. I know when i was searching for a job in "IT" i found secretary positions, minimum wage data entry, etc. Pretty much any job that involved using pc at some point was classed as an IT job.

    Although most real IT jobs don't pull in silly wages, just the average salary, you know the normal developer/analyst roles. I'm nopt sure how salary compares to the UK, but $33k sounds pretty similar to a developers starting salary* with the current exchange rates.

    *we don't get trainees anymore, IT people just spring into being fully qualified for a commercial IT role.

  9. doublejay1973

    good to see the chain of command is being respected


  10. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: $33,000 per job?

    Since this is a "stimulus" package rather than a hand-out, I suspect that the intention is for the jobs to be mostly self-financing, and the extra 33k is merely to make up the difference between what the employee is willing to work for and what the employee is actually worth to the employer in the current climate.

    On the other hand, if you outsourced the stimulus, you could probably spend far less than 33k per job and pocket the difference. A tough call, but I'm sure America's top bosses are up to it.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    investing in IT not clever

    invest in art, why not, we just need something that people can do. Invest in fibre optic and get people to lay it. Invest in live entertainment keep the people happy.

    IT will always find a niche, and to be honest most of IT is not IT, it is management, they need to go off and become painters, teachers, fibre layers, actors the lot of them. Leave the business of IT to those who understand IT.

  12. John

    It's temporary however that's what the economy needs.

    Laying down lots of fibre will create lots of jobs while the economy gets back on it's feet, after that it's not that important.

    The main thing for the US is not to have run-away unemployment as this will require the state to pay benifits and will also remove potential consumers feeding into the cycle.

    The issue of globalization and protectionism is a separate one, ultimately you're either free market or not and I can't see America changing anytime soon, as the American government is really setup for the interests of it's big corporations and not the common man although maybe Obama will change that. It will be a hell of a task though and that's if he even wants to.

  13. Ian Michael Gumby

    What a crock!

    First, the idea of the stimulus package is to create jobs and not completely fund them. The theory is that the stimulus would incent customers to purchase upgrades to their IT infrastructure.

    As it has been pointed out, if there is an uptick in IT infrastructure spending, IBM will use offshore/onshore resources along with equipment which is probably manufactured overseas.

    With respect to the AC post about electronic health records, its bollox. (Sorry if I misspelled bollox, I'm a yank!) In the US, medical costs are high due to many factors, not just nursing. You have more expensive equipment and drugs that are being used to treat patients. Also doctors are *using* the more expensive diagnostic equipment more. At the same time, until there is tort reform, doctors are paying for the high cost of malpractice insurance and for the mostly frivolous lawsuits. If electronic patient records were the issue, hospitals and medical practices would have jumped on the band wagon long ago.

    Sorry, but while the proposed stimulus plan is necessary, the monies should be spent on infrastructure in the US along with subsidies to lower income families to have access to said IT infrastructure. In addition more money should be spent on material sciences research in the US.

    But hey! What do I know? I'm just a regular guy... ;-)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @What a crock

    Sorry for not being clear enough in the earlier EHR post. Nursing shortages, and the use of qualified nurses to carry out clerical work is not the only thing that makes healthcare expensive. It is one thing that makes it expensive, and it can easily be fixed. The short-term investment is, however, significantly more than any one group hopes to save (short-term), so someone would have to "take one for the team." The players are not a team, and hospitals don't really care whether or not insurance companies make money, so that's not going to happen.

    Yes, I have worked with various American care providers, and also with health record standards efforts, so colour me biased, but I really do believe it is the best way to see better availability of hospital beds, better care, and a more efficient system. Denmark has already done it, so you can look up the effects on quality of care (although financials will be very different for the U.S.), and Norway is well along the way. The U.S. has made progress on electronic prescription entry, which is a start, and has already seen measurable improvements.

    (anonymous because I'm at work)

  15. Eduard Coli

    Jobs, oh yeah

    IBM must have meant jobs in India, China and Vietnam.

    Do they even ever hire anyone in the USA anymore?

    I mean besides H1B visa people.

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