Here’s One Place Where The Gender Wage Gap Is Actually Shrinking

CREDIT: Shutterstock Across the American population, progress on closing the gender wage gap has stalled for a decade, leaving women making about 77 percent of what men make when they both work full-time, year-round. But among the federal workforce, the gap has fallen significantly, according to a new report from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). In May of last year, President Obama signed a memorandum that directed OPM to submit a governmentwide strategy to address the gender pay gap among federal workers. As part of that, OPM also analyzed what gap exists. It found that over the decade between 1992 and 2012, “the gender pay gap has dramatically shrunk,” falling from about 30 percent to 13 percent for all white collar workers and 11 percent for just General Schedule … [Read more...]

The Budget Deficit In March Was The Smallest Since 2000

The United States Treasury building CREDIT: Rchuon24/Creative Commons The federal budget deficit for the first half of this year was $413 billion, a decline of $187 billion compared to the same time last year, according to the Treasury Department. The deficit for the month of March stood at $37 billion, down from $107 billion last year. That figure was the smallest deficit for the month of March since 2000. The deficit is expected to be a about 4.1 percent of gross domestic product this year, a drop from almost 10 percent in 2009. Those falling numbers continue a trend, as the deficit fell faster in 2013 than in any year since the end of World War II, dropping from $1.1 trillion in 2012 to $680 billion. This year’s shrinking figure is due to both higher tax revenue and falling … [Read more...]

Retirees Lose Last Shield Against Pension Cuts As Judge Approves Detroit’s Payoff To Banks

CREDIT: AP After rejecting two previous proposals for being too generous to banks, on Friday a federal judge approved Detroit’s plan to resolve a small but critical portion of the bankrupt city’s multi-billion dollar debt. The city will pay $85 million to two banks to resolve $272 million in debt, eliminating complex financial deals called “interest rate swaps” for about 31 cents on the dollar. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes had previously rejected Detroit’s attempts to pay $230 million and $165 million to end the swaps deals, saying those offers were too generous to UBS and Bank of America. The swaps deals give the banks control of tax revenue from Detroit’s casinos, and ending the swaps will return that money to Orr’s control. That is good for … [Read more...]

How Labeling Retirement Plans Like We Label Cigarettes Could Save Workers A Fortune

CREDIT: Shutterstock The financial industry routinely skims tens of thousands of dollars in fees off the top of American workers’ retirement savings accounts. The best way to stop that could be to treat investment fees the same way the government treats tobacco and trans fats, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP). The individual retirement accounts and 401(k)s that have become the primary vehicle for retirement savings come with fees that are four to five times higher, on average, than those associated with traditional mutual funds. Over the course of a lifetime, that difference amounts to between $71,000 and $94,000 in additional fees for the median American worker who starts saving for retirement at age 25. And because higher fees do not correlate … [Read more...]

If You Want Better Rights For Domestic Workers, Organize The Parents

Parents who took Hand in Hand’s pledge on Thursday night with a domestic worker CREDIT: Matthew Bologna Photography On Thursday evening in Brooklyn, a campaign launched that could start to change the working conditions for some of the most vulnerable workers. Among a crowd of more than 120 people, parents took a pledge to do right by the nannies and housekeepers they employ. Hand in Hand, an organization that focuses on the people who employ domestic workers, launched “My Home is Someone’s Workplace,” a project aimed at getting the parents and other employers who hire nannies, home health aides, and housekeepers to sign a pledge toward fair labor practices and offer them a checklist of things they can do to get there. “The goal of the campaign is both for … [Read more...]