Mnuchin’s Misplaced $100 Million

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How rich have America’s rich become? So rich that they can squirrel away $ 100 million and then lose track of it.

Steven Mnuchin, the Donald Trump nominee for U.S. treasury secretary, did just that earlier this month.

Mnuchin’s explanation for missing all those millions? The official disclosure questionnaire made him do it. All cabinet secretary picks have to file paperwork on their personal financial holdings, and Mnuchin dutifully filed his required records after his nomination. But subsequent review revealed that the one-time Goldman Sachs partner who went on to even greater hedge fund glory had failed to disclose assorted personal assets worth over $ 100 million.

“I think, as you all can appreciate, filling out these government forms is quite complicated,” he told a Senate hearing.

That big, round $ 100 million figure came up again last week with another Trump administration top pick. Gary Cohn, the administration’s choice to head the National Economic Council, used to be the president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs. Cohn resigned those positions to accept his new Trump position. But he won’t be walking away from the bank empty-handed.

On Tuesday, news reports related that Goldman Sachs would be blessing Cohn’s service with a $ 100 million windfall. By Thursday, more disclosures had swelled that reward to $ 285 million in stock and cash. This quarter-billion-plus comes over and above the $ 20 million the bank has already paid Cohn for his regular 2016 compensation.

Will Cohn, following his Goldman confrère Mnuchin, now lose track of his new millions? Would you — if someone dropped $ 100 million or more in your lap?

Probably not. The average American with a college degree, over the course of a working a career, will only collect a grand total of $ 2.1 million in paychecks. The average American high school grad will earn $ 1.2 million.

Most all of this paycheck income, in both cases, will go toward meeting daily expenses. Not much will be left over. In fact, the typical 401(k) account of Americans aged 55 to 64 now holds just $ 71,579.

So Gary Cohn, with his latest $ 285 million from Goldman Sachs, is walking away with nearly 4,000 times the reward for a lifetime of labor that goes to Americans of modest means.

Something must be done about this enormous disparity in corporate pay. Many people are doing something. Among them: Rhode Island lawmaker Aaron Regunberg. Representative Regunberg has just introduced a measure that would, if passed, become the first-ever state-level tax on excessive executive compensation.

Regunberg’s proposal would place a 10 percent business surtax on publicly traded corporations that pay their top execs over 100 times what their median — most typical — workers earn. Firms that pay their top execs over 250 times worker pay would face a 25 percent surtax.

“The spectacular concentration of income and wealth among the top 0.1 percent hurts our economy and corrupts our democracy,” Regunberg noted when he and five colleagues filed the excessive pay surtax legislation. “Nobody needs to receive more than what their employee would earn in a century.”

Early last month, in Oregon, Portland city officials adopted a similar pay ratio surtax on excessive corporate executive compensation, the first-ever municipal move against America’s gaping corporate pay divide. A host of other cities — led by San Francisco — have since then begun exploring actions along the same line.

So far, meanwhile, no one seems to have asked treasury secretary-designate Mnuchin what he thinks about this notion of levying extra taxes on companies that pay their CEOs excessively. But Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, did ask the Goldman Sachs alum whether he thought having CEOs making hundreds of times more than their workers rated as “fair.”

Shareholders, Mnuchin responded, should determine how much CEOs make.

“I don’t think it is the proper role of the federal government to prescribe limitations,” added Donald Trump’s choice to run the federal government’s entire financial apparatus.

Fortunately for the rest of us, the United States also has a good many local and state governments. And they — increasingly — have some different ideas.

The post Mnuchin’s Misplaced $ 100 Million appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Sam Pizzigati is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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Half of Prince’s $300 Million Estate Could Be Taxed. That’s a Good Thing.

(Flickr / SynergyByDesign)

(Flickr / SynergyByDesign)

The massive global outpouring of emotion in the wake of the sudden death of pop sensation Prince has mostly subsided. What’s left is likely a prolonged dispute over his sizable estate, valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars—a dilemma made ever more complicated by his lack of a will.

Rooted in this dispute is an open question: How much of what Prince earned should go to the U.S. Treasury?

By any measure, Prince was an exceptionally productive musician. He racked up seven Grammy awards and released 39 studio albums, not to mention the reported 100 albums he recorded but never released. For this work, he was paid handsomely, generating a fortune worth over $ 300 million at his death.

Beyond his own talent, hard work, and a bit of luck, though, what else contributed to this fortune?

If you’re a taxpayer, you did.

Read the full article on American Prospect’s website.

The post Half of Prince’s $ 300 Million Estate Could Be Taxed. That’s a Good Thing. appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Josh Hoxie directs the Project on Opportunity and Taxation at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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FACT SHEET: Investing $90 Million through ApprenticeshipUSA to Expand Proven Pathways into the Middle Class

FACT SHEET: Investing $ 90 Million through ApprenticeshipUSA to Expand Proven Pathways into the Middle Class

Since the beginning of his Administration, President Obama has focused on creating an economy that works for every American. Under President Obama, our economy has added 14.4 million jobs over 73 straight months, the longest streak of job creation on record. The jobs available today, and the jobs of the future, are higher-skill jobs that require more education and advanced skills.

Job-driven apprenticeships are among the surest pathways to provide American workers from all backgrounds with the skills and knowledge they need to acquire good-paying jobs and grow the economy. In fact, 87 percent of apprentices are employed after completing their programs, with an average starting wage above $ 50,000. The return on investment for employers is also impressive — international studies suggest that for every dollar spent on apprenticeship, employers may get an average of $ 1.47 back in increased productivity, reduced waste and greater front-line innovation. As a result, the President has made expanding apprenticeship a priority for his Administration.

Since the President’s 2014 State of the Union call to action, the U.S. has added more than 75,000 new apprenticeships, the largest increase in nearly a decade. And last year, the President signed into law the first-ever annual funding for apprenticeship in the Fiscal Year 2016 spending bill, following a bipartisan agreement based on the President’s budget request.

Today, the Department of Labor is announcing the Administration’s latest step to increase access to apprenticeship – using the $ 90 million provided in that spending bill for new investments through ApprenticeshipUSA to expand apprenticeship in the United States, including:

  • $ 60 million to support state strategies to expand apprenticeship, including funding for regional industry partnerships and innovative strategies that diversify apprenticeship locally;
  • $ 30 million to catalyze industry partnerships in fast-growing and high-tech industries, to support organizations focused on increasing diversity, and to launch national efforts to make it easier for employers to start and for workers to find apprenticeship opportunities.

Building on the bipartisan support for apprenticeship, the Department of Labor intends to make multi-year grants and contract awards to winning states, non-profits, workforce intermediaries, and industry associations subject to the availability of funding through the appropriations process using the $ 90 million provided through bipartisan support in the FY2016 spending bill for the first year of the awards.

Investing $ 60 Million to Support Smart State Strategies to Expand Apprenticeship

Today, the Department of Labor is announcing a first step in investing in state apprenticeship strategies.  Recognizing Governors’ unique ability to create smart statewide strategies to expand apprenticeship, the Department is making up to $ 9.5 million available for ApprenticeshipUSA State Accelerator Grants, for states to develop strategic plans and build partnerships for apprenticeship expansion and diversification.  States will also receive support to develop comprehensive game plans for encouraging businesses to launch apprenticeship programs in a variety of industries including advanced manufacturing, health care, IT, construction, and transportation.

These state accelerator grants will be followed this spring by a $ 50 million ApprenticeshipUSA State Expansion Grants Competition to scale-up state efforts to expand apprenticeship.  The expansion grants will help states integrate apprenticeship into their education and workforce systems; engage industry and other partners at scale to expand apprenticeship to new sectors and new populations; support state capacity to conduct outreach and work with employers to start new programs; provide support to promote greater inclusion and diversity in apprenticeship; and implement state innovations, incentives and system reforms.  By investing in state strategies for growing apprenticeship opportunities, these funds will help strengthen the foundation for the rapid and sustained expansion of quality apprenticeship nationwide. 

The ApprenticeshipUSA state investments build on the demonstrated success several states have already shown in expanding apprenticeship.  With the leadership of Governors across the country, 14 states have increased the number of apprentices in their state by over 20 percent – including: 

  • Iowa, which tripled state funds to support apprenticeship across key industries
  • California, which unlocked additional funds to cover training costs,
  • Georgia, which brought together its workforce development and community college systems to partner with over thirty major employers on apprenticeship,
  • Connecticut, which launched a Manufacturing Innovation Fund to support employers engaged in apprenticeship expansion.

Providing $ 30 Million for Industry Partnerships, Innovations to Enhance Diversity, and Access to Apprenticeship

Through ApprenticeshipUSA, the Department of Labor will also make investments to help more employers start or grow apprenticeship programs, particularly in high-growth and high-tech industries like health care, IT and advanced manufacturing where apprenticeship has not been as broadly adopted.  Through industry-driven partnerships, these investments will focus on leveraging collaborations with workforce development organizations, industry associations, labor groups, and training providers to help multiple employers at a time accelerate the expansion of apprenticeship nationwide.

Industry and training intermediaries can provide support for individual employers and entire industries as they seek to start or expand apprenticeship.  For example, through one such partnership, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and healthcare employers ranging from Pfizer to the Seattle Children’s Hospital joined forces to create an industry-recognized apprenticeship preparing workers for careers in healthcare services and hospital IT, leveraging common industry-approved curriculum and training solutions. The Department of Labor’s investments will help spur similar collaborations across growing, high-skills industries.

Expanding Registered Apprenticeship also means opening up opportunities to traditionally underrepresented populations including women, minorities, and people with disabilities, tapping into the full range of America’s talent. While all of the ApprenticeshipUSA investments include a focus on making apprenticeships more inclusive, the Department of Labor, through ApprenticeshipUSA, will invest in strategies specifically focused on building pathways to apprenticeship, expanding recruiting and other strategies for attracting diverse participants, and in national innovations that promote greater access to apprenticeships for traditionally underrepresented groups. 

These national investments will complement investments made at the state level, ensuring that state strategies embrace diversity in apprenticeship. They will also support national efforts to engage community-based organizations, workforce intermediaries and other non-profits in the development and implementation of pathways to apprenticeship including pre-apprenticeship, supportive services, and youth apprenticeships. In addition, the Department of Labor will invest in national activities to increase access to apprenticeship including strategic marketing and outreach, technology improvements and innovations that make it easier for employers to start apprenticeships and for job-seekers to connect with apprenticeship opportunities.  

For more information on the timeline of additional investments and deadlines for proposals, please visit http://www.dol.gov/apprenticeship

Building on Success in Expanding Apprenticeship and Increase Access to Jobs-Driven Training

Today’s announcement builds on the Obama Administration’s previous efforts to increase access to apprenticeship and jobs-driven training to prepare workers for high-skill jobs available today, including:

  • Investing an unprecedented $ 175 million in American Apprenticeship Grants.
    In September 2015, the Department of Labor announced $ 175 million in grants to 46 public-private partnerships between employers, organized labor, non-profits, local governments, and educational institutions that are expanding high-quality apprenticeships. The grantees are well on their way to creating and filling more than 34,000 new apprentices in high-growth and high-tech industries including health care, IT and advanced manufacturing over the next five years. 
  • Highlighting the value of apprenticeships through LEADERS. More than 170 employers, colleges, and labor organizations have signed on to be ApprenticeshipUSA LEADERS (Leaders of Excellence in Apprenticeship Development, Education and Research) by starting or expanding their own work-based learning programs and encouraging their peers to follow. Together, employers in the LEADERS program have pledged to create nearly 20,000 new apprenticeship positions. 
  • Expanding opportunities for apprentices to earn college credit towards a degree.
    More than 200 colleges nationwide have joined the Registered Apprenticeship-College Consortium, which allows graduates of Registered Apprenticeship programs to turn their on-the-job and classroom training into college credits toward an associate or bachelor degree.
  • Directing training investments into job-driven strategies. Following the Vice President’s Job-Driven Training review, federal agencies have taken actions to make programs serving over 21 million Americans every year more effective and accountable for preparing Americans for good jobs that employers need to fill. These actions include ensuring training investments include essential elements that matter most for getting Americans into better jobs— such as strong employer engagement, work-based learning approaches like apprenticeship, better use of labor market information, and accountability for employment outcomes. More details on the Administration’s progress on Job-Driven Training can be found here.
Release Date: 
04/21/2016
Media Contact Name: 

Ammar Campa-Najjar

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Bidis: The Hand-Rolled Cigarettes That Keep More Than Four Million Indians … – Bloomberg


Bloomberg
Bidis: The Hand-Rolled Cigarettes That Keep More Than Four Million Indians
Bloomberg
The poor man's smoke, cheap tobacco wrapped in a coarse leaf, the bidi cigarette is the fragrance of the jumbled streets of India. It's something rarely present in the comfort of air conditioned rooms. The scent of the bidi swirls around you when

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DOL recovers more than $1.8 million for employees and job applicants at G and K Services

The U.S. Department of Labor has reached a settlement with nine facilities of G and K Services, Inc., to remedy systemic hiring and pay discrimination violations identified in compliance evaluations initiated between 2011 and 2015. G and K Services has several federal contracts, which requires the company to adhere to nondiscrimination and affirmative action provisions under Executive Order 11246. |||||||http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/ofccp/OFCCP20152242.htm

Department of Labor, Government of Paraguay commit to support new $6 million program to combat child labor

When the government of Paraguay established its Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security in 2014, it demonstrated a commitment to tackling important challenges, including combating child labor and strengthening enforcement of its labor laws. To help achieve this goal, it reached out to the U.S. Department of Labor to help build the capacity of its new ministry.|||||||http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/ilab/ilab20152177.htm

International Labour Organization awarded $9.8 million to address forced labor globally

The four-year project called the Bridge Project (“From Protocol to Practice: Building a Bridge to Global Action on Forced Labor”) funded by the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, will help raise awareness globally of the urgent need to eradicate forced labor and invest the resources needed to further data collection to more accurately measure the problem. The project will also strengthen supply-chain monitoring and law-enforcement training and implement measures to protect victims of forced labor and provide them with access to remediation. The project includes pilot programs in at least three countries, including Mauritania, Nepal, and Peru. These countries will serve as models for how a Protocol and Recommendation to ILO Convention 29 on Forced Labor, adopted in 2014, could be effectively implemented at the country level.|||||||http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/ilab/ILAB20152048.htm

250 million people feast on Iran horticulture – Press TV


Press TV
250 million people feast on Iran horticulture
Press TV
Pistachios, dates, pomegranates, apples, kiwifruit, raisins, saffron and tea constitute the bulk of the exports, which have risen notably in the past three years, deputy head of the ministry's gardening affairs Mohammad Ali Tahmasbi said Thursday. Last

and more »

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Benin government gives cotton farmers 3.6 million USD loan – Coastweek

Benin government gives cotton farmers 3.6 million USD loan
Coastweek
She added that this would increase the farmers' income, create more jobs and contribute to poverty reduction and economic growth. In Benin, cotton contributes 40 percent of exports, 12 percent of GDP, about 60 percent of the national industrial fabric

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Benin government gives cotton farmers 3.6 million USD loan – Coastweek

Benin government gives cotton farmers 3.6 million USD loan
Coastweek
She added that this would increase the farmers' income, create more jobs and contribute to poverty reduction and economic growth. In Benin, cotton contributes 40 percent of exports, 12 percent of GDP, about 60 percent of the national industrial fabric

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