Daily News & Commentary — February 3, 2015

Published February 3rd, 2015 -  - 02.03.151


The roster for potential GOP 2016 presidential candidates continues to grow, and while unions are not thrilled with any of the prospects, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker garners particular distain, NPR reports. Gov. Walker has indicated interest, and has made known that were he to run (and all signs say he will), the centerpiece of his platform would be to decrease the size and power of unions, as he has done in his home state. In a speech made to conservative activists in Iowa, Gov. Walker talked at length about how he “took on public employee unions in Wisconsin.” He included lines about death threats he allegedly received from union sympathizing protestors. “I remember one of the ones that bothered me the most was someone literally sent me a threat that said they were gonna gut my wife like a deer.” The stories were likely intended to shock his activist crowd and help Walker stand out and gain recognition apart from the other GOP household names on the speaker list that day, including Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie.

The White House’s 2016 budget aims to overhaul the federal pay scale, give federal workers (civilian and military) a 1.3 percent pay raise, consolidate six federal agencies, and grow the federal workforce by adding 34,000 new employees, The Washington Post reports. In addition, President Obama’s budget would extend six weeks of paid family leave to the federal workforce, bringing the federal government “on par with leading private sector companies and other industrialized nations.” Further, the budget would change the approach taken in giving performance evaluations, with the aim being to improve employee morale.

In other budget news, the White House is seeking a $1.3 billion dollar increase for the Department of Labor, The Washington Post reports. The budget would provide $500 million to fund programs that would assist unemployed job seekers in their search. Under the administration’s plan, $16 billion over 10 years would allow the Department to double the number of people it serves through the agency’s workforce development and training programs. Programs would be focused on growth industries like healthcare, energy, information technology, advanced manufacturing and transportation. The budget would also allow the Department to strengthen penalties against companies that violate worker health and safety regulations, fines which then would be funds folded into the Department of Labor budget.

Workers should be ready to start over, and over, and over in the first couple decades of their work lives, according to NPR’s Kelly McEvers. But is this something unique to Generation X as many have speculated? McEvers says that while it is apparent that Generation Xers tend to change jobs a lot, the thought that this is a Generation X specific trend is less true than we originally thought. According to a recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Baby Boomers held 10 to 11 jobs, on average; by the time they reached the age of 46. For both generations, the trend is that when a worker is young, they change jobs more often, and as they get older they settle into a job, unless disrupted by something like an injury or a economic recession.

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