Today’s News & Commentary — September 29, 2016

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6094, a bill to delay President Obama’s overtime regulation by six months, by a vote of 246 to 177.  The regulation increases the salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476 for workers.  Most workers earning less than this threshold will receive overtime pay for working more than 40 hours a week under the new rule.  The White House has issued a statement saying the President would veto the bill if it passes.  This effort to delay the rule follows a lawsuit filed by 21 states seeking to prevent the new rule from taking affect.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump sparred over trade policy in Monday’s presidential debate.  Yesterday, the New York Times sought to explain the turn of the political tide against trade in a piece entitled, “More Wealth, More Jobs, but Not for Everyone: What Fuels the Backlash on Trade.”  The article describes a negative reaction to global trade from workers in America and Europe.  While trade has resulted in lower prices for consumer goods, some workers have felt the negatives impacts of trade as they lost jobs.  One study estimated that between 1999 and 2011 the influx of Chinese goods eliminated almost one million factory jobs in the United States.  However, the article also notes that automation has eliminated jobs.  The Washington Post points out that this populist backlash against trade is occurring at the same time as the World Trade Organization is predicting the slowest growth in global trade since the financial crisis.  Economists are concerned that anti-trade sentiment could exacerbate the slowdown in international trade.

The Wall Street Journal published a series of articles reporting on findings from Women in the Workplace 2016, a study conducted by the McKinsey Foundation and LeanIn.org.  For the study, researchers gathered data from 132 companies and surveyed 34,000 employees.  The study found that the disparity in promotions between women and men starts early in employees’ careers.  Male employees are 30 percent more likely to be promoted at the entry level.  At the most senior levels, women hold just 19 percent of C-Suite positions.  The study also observes that while 78 percent of companies named gender diversity as one of their CEO’s primary goals, only 22 percent of employees say that this diversity is habitually gauged.