Current Strategies to Employ and Retain Older Workers

Source: Lauren Eyster, Richard W. Johnson, Eric Toder, Urban Institute, March 4, 2008

From the summary:
As the U.S. population ages and the number of people reaching traditional retirement ages increases, employers need to do more to attract and retain older workers, many of whom are highly experienced, knowledgeable, and skilled. Successful approaches include offering formal and informal phased retirement options and creating flexible work arrangements, such as part-time work, flexible schedules, job sharing, telework arrangements, and snowbird programs. Federal, state, and local governments, as well as nonprofit organizations and post-secondary educational institutions, help older workers find employment and secure job training. They also educate employers about the value of older workers.

What Do We Know About the Universe of State and Local Plans

Source: Alicia H. Munnell, Kelly Haverstick, Mauricio Soto, and Jean-Pierre Aubry, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, SLP#4, March 2008

From the summary:
Several surveys report data on public pension plans, but they tend to focus on the 120 major state systems and some include a sampling of locally administered plans. The Census of Governments is the only source that reports on the entire universe of state administered plans, in addition to more than 2,000 locally administered plans. This brief describes that population, reports on the investment performance of different types of public plans, and compares the investment performance of public and private plans.

Surface Transportation Restructured Federal Approach Needed for More Focused, Performance-Based, and Sustainable Programs

Source: GAO Reports, GAO-08-400, March 2007

From the summary:
Surface transportation programs need to be reexamined in the context of the nation’s current unsustainable fiscal path. Surface transportation programs are particularly ready for review as the Highway Trust Fund faces a fiscal imbalance at a time when both congestion and travel demand are growing. As you requested, this report (1) provides an overview of the federal role in surface transportation and the goals and structures of federal programs, (2) summarizes GAO’s conclusions about the structure and performance of these programs, and (3) provides principles to assess options for focusing future surface transportation programs. GAO’s study is based on prior GAO reports, stakeholder reports and interviews, Department of Transportation documents, and the views of transportation experts.

See also:
Highlights

“Out of Control”: Violence against Personal Support Workers in Long-Term Care

Source: Albert Banerjee, Tamara Daly, Hugh Armstrong, Pat Armstrong, Stirling Lafrance, and Marta Szebehely, Institute for Social Research at York University, February 23, 2008

Working in Canadian long-term care is dangerous. But it need not be. This study shows that, while Canadians working in long-term facility care experience violence virtually every day, this is not the case in Nordic countries. Clearly, the high level of violence in Canadian facilities is not a necessary feature of work in long-term care and can be reduced.

This report on the violence experienced by personal support workers draws on an international study comparing long-term, facility-based care across three Canadian provinces (Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and Ontario) and four Nordic European countries (Demark, Finland, Norway and Sweden). It is supported by focused discussions and offers insight into long-term care from the perspective of workers.

The Deductibility of State and Local Taxes

Source: Congressional Budget Office, Pub. No. 2906, February 2008

Since the inception of the federal income tax in 1913, federal taxpayers have been allowed to deduct certain state and local taxes in calculating their taxable income. In its final report, in 2005, the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform recommended elimination of the state and local tax deduction, which provides a federal subsidy for some of the taxes levied by state and local governments. That subsidy is of substantial personal benefit to residents of the states and localities that receive it, but it is not shared equally among all federal taxpayers. In addition, the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) increasingly eliminates the benefit of the state and local tax deduction for many middle-class taxpayers.

This Congressional Budget Office (CBO) paper, which was prepared at the request of the Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, examines the arguments for and against the state and local tax deduction; how the benefits from the deduction are distributed among different groups of taxpayers and different governments; how the deduction and the AMT interact; and how modifying or eliminating the deduction would affect the federal budget, the finances of state and local governments, and federal taxpayers. In accordance with CBO’s mandate to provide objective, impartial analysis, the paper makes no recommendations.

Human Resources Flexibilities and Authorities in the Federal Government

Source: Office of Personnel Management, January 2008

From the summary:
This page includes the updated and expanded Handbook titled, Human Resources Flexibilities and Authorities in the Federal Government. The Handbook is a practical guide to the options available in current law to help you recruit and hire a diverse and high performing workforce, set a strategic direction through workforce planning and organizational realignment, and unleash the potential of your organization. OPM encourages you to use these existing flexibilities to strategically align your human resources management systems with your mission. You may be surprised to discover how flexible title 5 is in meeting your organizational needs.

Race, Immigration and America’s Changing Electorate

Source: William H. Frey, Brookings Institution, February 2008

From the summary:
One of the most profound changes in America’s demography this century will be its shifting race and ethnic makeup. The rise of immigration from Latin America and Asia, the higher fertility of some minorities and the slow growth of America’s aging white population will have profound impacts on the nation’s demographic profile, with important implications for the electorate. The significance of these changes on identity politics, new racial coalitions and reactions to immigration have already been seen in the 2008 presidential sweepstakes. Yet, these shifts are only the tip of the iceberg of what can be expected in future election cycles as Hispanic, Asian, and Black Americans make up ever larger shares of the electorate.

This chapter discusses the shifts playing out in 2008, but with an eye toward what they will mean in the future. It begins by examining the magnitude of new minority population growth, how it differs from past election cycles, and the lag that immigrant minorities experience in translating their growth into actual voting power. It then goes on to discuss how these groups differ from each other on basic social and demographic profiles and on key political issues, with special emphasis on immigration.

Tables and graphs
Full presentation

Subprime Rescue Plans: Backdoor Bank Bailouts

Source: Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research, March 2008

From the press release:
Many of the recent proposals to help homeowners facing foreclosure provide little relief for most of the families at risk of losing their home, according to a report from the Center of Economic and Policy Research. Under these rescues, taxpayers end up underwriting a bailout that could reap billions of dollars in profit for banks and mortgage holders.