Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Gridlock, schmidlock. The Obama admin keeps doing cool stuff

Jared Bernstein points out Gridlock, schmidlock. The Obama admin keeps doing cool stuff.

I was reminded of this when, in my perusal of this AM’s papers, I saw pieces on the soon-to-kick-in overtime rule, which will boost the pay of millions of middle-wage earners, the fiduciary rule against ‘conflicted advice’ from investment advisers, which has the potential to save billions in the aggregate for retirement savers, and a new disclosure rule wherein firms that hire outside advisers to block union organizing drives have to reveal what they’re up to.

Just to remind you of some of the other pro-worker changes the administration has managed to cobble together (including stuff just mentioned for completeness and links):

  • Updating the overtime threshold
  • The new fiduciary rule to block conflicted investment advice
  • The new transparency rule on employer negotiations with outside anti-union consultants
  • New IRS rules for Treasury to go after tax inversions
  • A fair-hiring practice–‘Ban the Box’–for government hiring to help those with criminal records (though the rule needs to be extended to federal contractors)
  • An executive order that makes it harder for large firms with labor law violators to get federal contracts
  • A $10.10 minimum wage for federal contractors (the federal min wg is still $7.25)
  • Paid sick leave for federal contractors
  • The creation of a new, tax-favored savings vehicle: myRA

And a bunch of other stuff too, including the immigration actions to extend some legal status to certain undocumented persons (the court challenges to these policies are now uncertain), barring employers from retaliating against those who discuss their compensation, enhancing work/life balance at federal agencies, and barring federal contractors from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

I’m also impressed by the extent to which Obama’s been able to normalize relations with Cuba, which is also opening up some trade possibilities (and with no big, divisive ‘free trade agreement’ to boot!)."

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