Today’s News and Commentary — January 30
On Wednesday, President Obama followed through on his State of the Union announcement to create new “MyRA” employer-sponsored savings accounts, the New York Times reports. These “starter” retirement savings accounts will allow individuals “to save up to $15,000 in after-tax dollars for a maximum of 30 years.” The accounts “are meant to cost employers little or nothing to create since they will neither administer the accounts nor contribute to them.” Further coverage of the new accounts and the President’s efforts to promote the initiative can be found at the Washington Post here and here.
In an op-ed in the New York Times, former Representative David Bonior (D-MI) discusses a tension between the President’s efforts to reverse growing economic inequality and his calls during the State of the Union address for fast track authority regarding trade agreements. Bonior argues that the President “cannot have it both ways,” citing data analyzing the effects of NAFTA that suggests that the agreement contributed to growing economic inequality through the loss of high-paying manufacturing jobs and overall downward pressure on wages.
The Washington Post reports that some immigrant advocates are signaling an openness to expected GOP proposals for immigration reform that include legalized status but not a special path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, by contrast, said that such a proposal would be a “nonstarter.”
In New York, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey “sent a letter to several airlines … ordering them to increase pay” by $1 for workers who made less than $9 an hour, the New York Times reports. The order comes on the heals of a year-long campaign by S.E.I.U. Local 32BJ. The New York Times also reports on reforms announced by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer to strengthen disclosure rules related to the city’s pension system.
The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire blog reports that the nomination of David Weil to be the head of the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour division advanced out of the Senate Labor committee on a party-line vote.
The Washington Post’s Federal Eye Blog discusses a GAO report that retirement eligibility among federal workers will “skyrocket,” “with more than a third of career federal employees projected to be eligible for collecting their end-of-career benefits by September 2017.” Meanwhile, the Washington Post’s On Leadership blog describes a global survey by McKinsey & Company finding that “roughly the same ratio of male and female executives … have the desire to reach a top management position.” The findings ran counter to “common wisdom” regarding the relative ambition of male and female executives to advance to the top of the corporate ladder.