Weekend News & Commentary — May 13-14, 2017

Published May 14th, 2017 -  - 05.14.1711


Motherhood largely drives the gender pay gap, reports the New York Times. The gap widens most during a woman’s late 20s to mid-30s, when many women have children. Mothers carry a disproportionate share of a family’s labor at home and more likely to give up job opportunities for their husband’s job. Sari Kerr, an economist at Wellesley College, notes that couples often decide that the person who earns less, usually a women, should take on more of the household and childcare burden. But because employers often assume that this will be the case, it is a reason women earn less in the first place.

The state pension system of Puerto Rico, which owes workers $49 billion in benefits, is scheduled to run out of money as soon as July, according to BloombergThe impending shortfall pits workers against the Commonwealth’s creditors, primarily hedge funds who own one third of its bonds. Puerto Rico’s federal oversight board anticipates a 10 percent cut in pension benefits, but some workers expect an even larger reduction.

The New York Times offers an in depth look at China’s plan to remake the global economy. Through the initiate, called “One Belt, One Road,” China plans to invest $1 trillion in massive infrastructure projects around the world. China will be exporting not just its goods but also its labor, staffing foreign projects with domestic workers. The country hopes to expand its diplomatic influence at a time when the United States is expected to turn inward and focus on “America first.”

Though President Trump scrapped the Trans-Pacific Partnership on his first day in office, may spend the rest of his term trying to pursue similar deals, reports the Wall Street Journal. The TPP included labor and environmental provisions that the Obama administration hoped would raise standards for workers around the globe.

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