Today’s News & Commentary — May 31, 2016

Published May 31st, 2016 -  - 05.31.161


Eduardo Porter of the New York Times  argues that a universal basic income is not the most efficient way to solve poverty.  The first obstacle would be funding for such a program, which would either overwhelm the federal budget or require defunding every other poverty program.  Second, it would devalue and disincentivize work.  Third, it would divorce assistance from need. The author argues instead for programs that subsidize employment.

More details have emerged from the deal reached between  the Communications Workers of America,  the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Verizon.  The Wall Street Journal reports that Verizon agreed to add 1,400 new jobs, to scale back subcontracting, and give workers an 11% raise. The unions also defeated proposed pension cuts and a proposal to relocate employees for extended periods.  In exchange, the unions agreed to shoulder hundreds of millions of dollars more in health care costs over the life of the four-year contract.

The new DOL overtime rule might profoundly change the culture in prestige industries where young, ambitious workers routinely begin their careers in high hour, low wage roles.  Supporters say the shift could help scale back the workaholic atmosphere in such industries, but detractors raise concerns that workers will not gain enough experience for sufficient career development and advancement.

Volkeswagen AG has reached a wage agreement with around 120,000 of its union workers in Germany.  The 20 month pact provides a total 4.8% wage increase in two staggered phases.

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