The Future of Retirement: Shifting sands

Source: HSBC, Future of Retirement series, 2017

From the press release:
HSBC calls for Millennials to wake up to living and working longer, as research finds only 1 in 10 expects to work past 65 Most Millennials have an unrealistic view of their retirement prospects according to a new report from HSBC. The latest report in The Future of Retirement series, Shifting sands, finds that on average Millennials expect to retire younger than other working age generations. Millennials expect to retire at 59, two years younger than the working age average of 61. The survey of over 18,000 people in 16 countries finds that only 10% of Millennials expect to continue working after 65 – even as their generation faces unprecedented financial pressures and state retirement ages continue to rise around the world. This is despite 59% of Millennials agreeing they will live much longer and will need to support themselves for longer than previous generations.

Public Employees, Private Speech: 1st Amendment doesn’t always protect government workers

Source: David L. Hudson Jr., ABA Journal, May 1, 2017

High-profile controversies over police shootings, questionable promotions, racial profiling, attacks on law enforcement and race-based incidents have led to an increase in public employees being disciplined for publicly posting commentary deemed offensive or incendiary.

Public employees have been suspended for all manner of speech—supporting the shooting of police officers, lauding officers for shooting citizens, criticizing their students or co-workers, mocking minorities or religions and for a litany of other messages on social media. ….

The number of such social media cases involving public employees disciplined for posts has been on the rise, observers say. …. In the past, public employees could engage in inflammatory speech on the telephone or in personal conversations at home or work without those conversations being memorialized. However, when public employees post such statements online for the world to see, there can be negative ramifications. …. However, some believe it’s unseemly to allow the government to punish employees for purely off-duty speech created in the privacy of one’s home. ….

In the Age of Trump, Can Labor Unite?

Source: Alexandra Bradbury, In These Times, May 2017

Donald Trump performed far better among union voters than previous Republican candidates, but since taking office has enacted disastrous anti-worker policies. Now, some unions are organizing their members around an explicitly progressive analysis, hoping to unlock the power of workers to help lead the resistance.

Who Contributes to Individual Retirement Accounts?

Source: Anqi Chenand, Alicia H. Munnell, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, IB#17-8 April 2017

The brief’s key findings are:
– IRAs were intended to give those without an employer plan access to a tax-deferred savings vehicle.
– Today, IRAs hold nearly half of all private retirement assets, but most of these funds are rollovers from 401(k)s, rather than contributions.
– The 14 percent of households who do contribute to IRAs include:
– higher-income dual-earners who also save in a 401(k);
– moderate-income singles or one-earner couples, often with a 401(k); and
– higher-income entrepreneurs with no current 401(k).
– One way to turn IRAs back into an active savings vehicle – one used more for contributions – is to auto-enroll all workers without an employer plan in an IRA.

Do state spending differences create an unequal playing field for children?

Source: Julia B. Isaacs, Urban Institute, April 25, 2017

Some states spend less on their children than others, including public education, health, and social services costs. Arizona, for example, spent less than $4,900 per child in 2013, whereas New York spent slightly more than $12,200 per child (after adjusting for cost of living).

These wide disparities in public investment raise concerns about whether children nationwide are on equal footing when pursuing the American Dream. Though children’s outcomes are affected by many factors, health and education outcomes tend to be better in states that spend more on children.

Differences in K–12 education funding cause most of these differences. New York also spends more per capita than Arizona on Medicaid services for children, cash assistance, child welfare services, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, child care assistance, and child support enforcement. In addition, New York has a state earned income tax credit, but Arizona does not…..
Related:
Unequal Playing Field? State Differences in Spending on Children in 2013
Source: Julia B. Isaacs, Sara Edelstein, Urban Institute, Research Report, April 25, 2017

From the abstract:
For children to thrive and reach their full potential, they need adequate food and shelter, high-quality health care and education, safe environments, and supportive parents and families. Though families play a key role in meeting children’s needs, society also provides resources and services to support children’s healthy development.

Through their funding of public schools, health systems, and social services, state and local governments provide resources and services to support children’s healthy development. Although not all investments translate directly into better child outcomes, a wide disparity in public investments raises concerns about whether children from low-spending states are on equal footing when pursuing the American Dream….

Kids struggle to safely cross busy streets

Source: Richard Lewis, Futurity, April 24, 2017

Children under a certain age don’t have the perceptual judgment and motor skills to cross a busy road consistently without putting themselves in danger, report researchers.

For the new study, children 6 to 14 years old participated in a realistic simulated environment and had to cross one lane of a busy road multiple times.

Children up to their early teenage years had difficulty consistently crossing the street safely, with accident rates as high as 8 percent with 6-year-olds. Only children who were 14 were able to navigate street crossing without incident. Children who were 12 mostly compensated for inferior road-crossing motor skills by choosing bigger gaps between cars…..
Related:
Changes in Perception–Action Tuning Over Long Time Scales: How Children and Adults Perceive and Act on Dynamic Affordances When Crossing Roads
Source: Elizabeth E. O’Neal, Yuanyuan Jiang, Lucas J. Franzen, Pooya Rahimian, Junghum Paul Yon, Joseph K. Kearney, Jodie M. Plumert, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, April 20, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This investigation examined developmental change in how children perceive and act on dynamic affordances when crossing roads on foot. Six- to 14-year-olds and adults crossed roads with continuous cross-traffic in a large-screen, immersive pedestrian simulator. We observed change both in children’s gap choices and in their ability to precisely synchronize their movement with the opening of a gap. Younger children were less discriminating than older children and adults, choosing fewer large gaps and more small gaps. Interestingly, 12-year-olds’ gap choices were significantly more conservative than those of 6-, 8-, 10-, and 14-year-olds, and adults. Timing of entry behind the lead vehicle in the gap (a key measure of movement coordination) improved steadily with development, reaching adultlike levels by age 14. Coupled with their poorer timing of entry, 6-, 8-, and 10-year-olds’ gap choices resulted in significantly less time to spare and more collisions than 14-year-olds and adults. Time to spare did not differ between 12-year-olds, 14-year-olds, and adults, indicating that 12-year-olds’ more conservative gap choices compensated for their poorer timing of entry. The findings show that children’s ability to perceive and act on dynamic affordances undergoes a prolonged period of development, and that older children appear to compensate for their poorer movement timing skills by adjusting their gap decisions to match their crossing actions. Implications for the development of perception–action tuning and road-crossing skills are discussed.

Frequency and Risk of Occupational Health and Safety Hazards for Home Healthcare Workers

Source: Rassull Suarez, Noma Agbonifo, Beverly Hittle, Kermit Davis, Andrew Freeman, Home Health Care Management & Practice, First Published April 17, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Given the increased prevalence of chronic disease and health care costs, more individuals are treated in the home, which has augmented the demand for more Home Healthcare Workers (HHCWs) in the field. HHCWs face multiple hazards with injury rates being more than double the national average; however, current studies on HHCWs have provided limited understanding of their occupational safety & health experiences and exposures. The aim of this study was to assess the frequency and risk of exposures through perceptions of HHCWs. The results of this study provide an initial picture of the different risks that HHCWs face daily. These findings show that studies involving HHCWs occupational safety need to be job-specific, and the proposed interventions will also likely need to be tailored by HHCWs type.

Modeling Fiscal Stress and Contracting Out in Local Government: The Influence of Time, Financial Condition, and the Great Recession

Source: Antonio M. López-Hernández, José L. Zafra-Gómez, Ana M. Plata-Díaz, Emilio J. de la Higuera-Molina, The American Review of Public Administration, First Published April 19, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Various studies have analyzed the relationship between fiscal stress and contracting out, but have failed to achieve conclusive results. In this article, we take a broad view of fiscal stress, addressed in terms of financial condition and studied over a lengthy period (2000-2010). The relationship between fiscal stress and contracting out is studied using a dynamic model, based on survival analysis, a methodology that enables us to take into account the effect of time on this relationship. As this study period includes the years of the Great Recession (2008-2010), we also highlight the impact of this event on the fiscal stress–contracting out relation. The results obtained suggest that taking into account the passage of time and conducting a long-term assessment of financial condition enable a more precise understanding of this relation. We also find that the Great Recession reduced the probability of local governments’ contracting out public services.

Information Technology and the U.S. Workforce: Where Are We and Where Do We Go from Here?

Source: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2017

From the summary:
Recent years have yielded significant advances in computing and communication technologies, with profound impacts on society. Technology is transforming the way we work, play, and interact with others. From these technological capabilities, new industries, organizational forms, and business models are emerging.
Technological advances can create enormous economic and other benefits, but can also lead to significant changes for workers. IT and automation can change the way work is conducted, by augmenting or replacing workers in specific tasks. This can shift the demand for some types of human labor, eliminating some jobs and creating new ones. Information Technology and the U.S. Workforce explores the interactions between technological, economic, and societal trends and identifies possible near-term developments for work. This report emphasizes the need to understand and track these trends and develop strategies to inform, prepare for, and respond to changes in the labor market. It offers evaluations of what is known, notes open questions to be addressed, and identifies promising research pathways moving forward.

‘Public goods’ made America great and can do so again

Source: Marina v. N. Whitman, The Conversation, April 18, 2017

All Americans are lucky to live in a country brimming with public resources that everyone can share.

Many are provided by government and funded with our tax dollars, such as the highways that crisscross the country, the 84 million acres of national parks and the roughly 100,000 public schools that give all children access to education.

Others come from nature, like mountains, lakes and rivers, which also depend on a reliable government and meaningful regulations to preserve and protect them.

While the collective value of these “public goods” is probably incalculable, the economic impact of schools, clean air and vast highways has been significant. In fact, I would argue that public goods are what have made America great.

Unfortunately, our stock of public goods has been declining for half a century, particularly those that require the government’s purse strings. President Trump’s proposed budget would make things even worse by cutting, among many other things, funding for national parks, the cleanup of the Great Lakes and efforts to minimize climate change. ….