Another Round of Fend-for-Yourself Federalism

Source: FFIS, State Policy Reports, Volume 35, Issue 8, April 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
It began with the president’s “skinny” budget for fiscal year (FY) 2018, and it is continuing with chatter around tax reform. “It” is the notion that state and local governments are about to see an escalation of fend-for-yourself federalism.

Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect – 2017

Source: AFL-CIO Safety and Health Department, 2017

A National And State-By-State Profile Of Worker Safety And Health In The United States

From the summary:

The High Toll of Job Injuries, Illnesses and Deaths
In 2015:
• 4,836 workers were killed on the job in the United States.
• The fatal injury rate—3.4 per 100,000 workers—remained the same as the rate in 2014.
• An estimated 50,000 to 60,000 workers died from occupational diseases.
• 150 workers died each day from hazardous working conditions.
• Nearly 3.7 million work-related injuries and illnesses were reported.
• Underreporting is widespread—the true toll is 7.4 million to 11.1 million injuries each year.

States with the highest fatality rates in 2015 were:
• North Dakota (12.5 per 100,000 workers)
• Wyoming (12.0 per 100,000 workers)
• Montana (7.5 per 100,000)
• Mississippi (6.8 per 100,000 workers)
• Arkansas (5.8 per 100,000 workers)
• Louisiana (5.8 per 100,000 workers)

Latino and immigrant workers continue to be at higher risk than other workers:
• The Latino fatality rate was 4.0 per 100,000 workers, 18% higher than the national average.
• Deaths among Latino workers increased significantly in 2015; 903 deaths, compared with 804 in 2014.
• Almost the entire increase in Latino deaths was among immigrant workers; 605 (67%) of Latino workers killed were immigrant workers.
• 943 immigrant workers were killed on the job—the highest since 2007.

Older workers are at high risk. In 2015:
• 35% of all fatalities occurred in workers ages 55 or older, with 1,681 deaths.
• Workers 65 or older have more than 2.5 times the risk of dying on the job as other workers, with a fatality rate of 9.4 per 100,000 workers.

Comparing the Compensation of Federal and Private-Sector Employees, 2011 to 2015

Source: Congressional Budget Office, Report no. 52637, April 25, 2017

From the summary:
During the 2011-2015 period, the difference between the wages, benefits, and total compensation of federal civilian employees and those of similar private-sector employees varied widely depending on the employees’ educational attainment.

OSHA Severe Injury Data from 29 States: 27 Workers a Day Suffer Amputation or Hospitalization; Poultry Processing Among Most Dangerous Industries

Source: Debbie Berkowitz and Hooman Hedayati, National Employment Law Project (NELP), Policy Brief, April 2017

From the press release:
A new report issued today by the National Employment Law Project, analyzing severe injury data compiled by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from employers in a little over half the states, finds an average of 27 workers a day suffer work-related amputations or hospitalizations….

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…..
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….