TIME Economy

What to Know About Obama’s Overtime Pay Announcement

The President announced that he's expanding overtime pay for a large swath of Americans

Wait, when did this happen?

In an op-ed titled “A Hard Day’s Work Deserves a Fair Day’s Pay,” which appeared on Huffington Post on Monday night, the President outlined the as-yet-unnamed overtime pay rule.

Set to take effect in 2016, the rule—which follows a Presidential directive in March to the Department of Labor to revise standards—would more than double the salary range for workers who are required to receive overtime pay, regardless of whether they are paid hourly or in salary.

Does this mean I’ll get more overtime?

Quite possibly: Obama’s op-ed notes that “nearly 5 million workers” would be affected by this change in 2016.

Current overtime-eligible salaries top off at $23,660, but the new rule would allow workers earning up to $50,440 to demand time-and-a-half for each hour of work beyond 40 hours.

The new salary cap reflects the average, middle-class American household’s income, which has stagnated at just under $52,000 for the past 15 years.

“That’s good for workers who want fair pay, and it’s good for business owners who are already paying their employees what they deserve—since those who are doing right by their employees are undercut by competitors who aren’t,” Obama wrote.

But why now?

The push for overtime pay moved up the President’s priority list after a scathing 2013 report by economists Jared Bernstein and Ross Eisenbray, which argued that the economy would actually be better off if employers built in overtime pay that was indexed to real salary levels instead of those from 1975, as under the current rule.

In other words, the President is seeking to make overtime pay more responsive to how we live in 2015 as opposed to how we lived in 40 years ago.

Who benefits from this proposal the most?

In a post-recession economy that has seen men struggle to recover their pre-recession earnings and employment levels, the rule promises to be a boost to men whose income is above the current overtime threshold.

Single women, however, stand to gain the most: With average income hovering around $35,154, unmarried women previously experienced the double whammy of earning less income than their single male counterparts (single men earned an average of $50,625 in 2013), and being unable to earn overtime pay.

Is anyone opposed to it?

Yes—much of the Republican Party. Some Republicans in Congress have already raised concerns about the rule, saying companies will have a reduced incentive to hire people now that they will have to pay them more.

The National Retail Federation has made a similar argument, previously citing an Oxford Economics study that argues employers would have less of a reason to hire workers, thereby nullifying any advantages to take-home pay for employees.

The rule would “add to employers’ costs, undermine customer service, hinder productivity, generate more litigation opportunities for trial lawyers and ultimately harm job creation,” the NRF said.

Both supporters (like the AFL-CIO) and opponents expect the rule, which would likely be enacted by the end of next year, to go to court and face Congressional challenge.

TIME 2016 Election

Jon Bon Jovi Happy for Chris Christie to Use Songs in Campaign Launch

"My friendships are apolitical," the Democrat rocker says.

Though Governor Chris Christie has been a lifelong Bruce Springsteen fan, the presidential hopeful used the music of another New Jersey native Tuesday when he announced his bid for the Republican ticket: Jon Bon Jovi.

Christie likely opted not use a Springsteen song fearing that the lifelong Democrat and critic of the Bridgegate scandal might disavow him as Neil Young did to Donald Trump earlier in June. But Bon Jovi is also an avowed Democrat; his wife even hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton on Monday night, during which the rocker sang his biggest hit, “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

However, despite their political differences, Bon Jovi gave Christie his blessing to use songs like “We Weren’t Born to Follow” for his campaign, Mother Jones reports. The two met while Bon Jovi was helping with Hurricane Sandy relief. “My friendships are apolitical. And, yes, I absolutely gave him permission to use my songs,” he said.

[Mother Jones]

TIME public health

California Governor Jerry Brown Signs Mandatory Vaccine Law

Law abolishes exemptions for personal beliefs

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a mandatory school vaccination bill into law Tuesday, abolishing the “personal belief” exemption that many parents use as a loophole to avoid vaccinating their children.

Now, under California law, which is among the strictest in the country, children would not be able to enroll in public school unless they have been vaccinated against diseases like measles and whooping cough. The law includes an exemption for children who have a medical reason to remain unvaccinated (like an immune system disorder) and can prove it with a doctor’s note. Parents who decline to vaccinate their children for personal or religious reasons will have to home-school them or send them to a public independent study program off school grounds.

Students who are unvaccinated because of “personal belief” who are already in public elementary school can stay until they’re in 7th grade, and then the parents will either have to vaccinate them or home-school them. Daycare students can stay until kindergarten, when they have to be either vaccinated or home-schooled. In the fall of 2014, almost 3% of California kindergartners were unvaccinated because of personal belief. Preschools in the most affluent areas are also the least likely to vaccinate, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The bill was proposed after a measles outbreak at Disneyland infected more 150 people, and many needed to be hospitalized. Supporters of the law argue that it is based on medical consensus that vaccinations improve public health. Opponents—who have been picketing outside the California legislature—argue that it’s an attack on personal freedom.

TIME intelligence

CIA Lags in Recruiting Diverse Workforce, Reports Finds

Mission not yet accomplished on diversity

The Central Intelligence Agency’s efforts to bring more minorities into its workforce haven’t been as effective as hoped, according to a new internal report.

The report finds that since 2008, recruitment of minority officers has declined “to levels lower than what is necessary” to maintain the agency’s current levels of minority representation. Currently, racial and ethnic minorities make up about 24% of the entire CIA workforce.

The CIA says diversity and maintaining a diverse workforce is essential to its mission. Without varieties of perspective among employees, CIA Director John Brennan said Tuesday, officers can become susceptible to “group think,” which could lead to lapses in intelligence and security.

Without a diverse workforce, Brennan said, “we’re not going to be able to do our job.”

MORE The CIA’s Latest Mission: Improving Diversity

CIA Director John Brennan commissioned the Diversity in Leadership study in January 2014, shortly after a report led by Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that examined women’s leadership roles across the agency. That study, released in 2013, found that women comprise about 45% of the agency’s workforce and 31% percent of senior leadership positions. The agency is currently in the process of implementing the recommendations of that report. The 2015 Diversity in Leadership study was chaired by famed Civil Rights activist and attorney Vernon Jordan.

Brennan said increased competition in the workforce has likely contributed to the decline in minority recruitment. At a recent trip to a historically black college, he said, the students he met with were impressive—but also courting several offers from private companies that have more attractive salaries and benefits than the agency.

The agency’s challenge is to become an “employer of choice” for applicants who can thrive—and make a lot of money—at private companies.

And once recruits get in the door, impediments to success remain. Only 10.8% of the senior ranks of the CIA are racial and ethnic minorities, according to the study. The number of African-Americans in the senior ranks has declined in both percentage and actual number between 2004 and 2014. The percentage of Hispanics in the CIA workforce is significantly lower than in the civilian workforce. The study also found that the agency lacks an inclusive culture and that many groups don’t have access to formal informal networks that can lead to career advancement.

A survey of officers found that many LGBT, minority, and officers with disabilities felt that they had to “hide aspects of their identity” in order to thrive within the agency. Many officers said they didn’t even feel comfortable advocating alternative viewpoints within their work groups.

In lieu of agency-led networks, African-American officials have historically hosted informal groups where they can talk freely about their experiences and assist officers in efforts to seek new positions.

In an interview with TIME earlier this year, a veteran officer said some still meet regularly for social and networking events. “We made that a point of pride,” he told TIME. “It was a thing of, ‘I may not get there but we want to position you to get to the top.’”

Brennan said he hopes the report sends a strong signal to his workforce that he takes diversity and increasing minority representation across the board seriously.

MONEY Donald Trump

Donald Trump Piñatas Are a Hit In Mexico

A Mexican client who lives in the U.S., looks at a pinata depicting U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hanging outside a workshop in Reynosa, Mexico, June 23, 2015. Days after billionaire Trump accused Mexico of sending criminals to live in the United States, a Mexican artisan has given angry Mexicans an outlet-- a Trump pinata they can stuff with candy and beat with a stick. In the Mexican border city of Reynosa, Dalton Ramirez works at his family's pinata shop where they create a variety of paper mache figures to be filled with treats and broken open with sticks on birthdays and holidays.
Daniel Becerril—Reuters A Donald Trump piñata.

"This pinata especially is the one everyone wants to break."

Mexicans have found a way to hit back at Donald Trump. Literally.

Reuters reports that piñatas bearing Trump’s likeness, including “a flange of blonde hair and a big mouth,” have hit store shelves in Mexico and are proving popular among customers eager to protest the billionaire’s recent remarks against immigrants.

Trump, who is a Republican candidate for president, drew criticism after declaring in his campaign announcement speech that Mexican migrants were bringing “drugs, crime, and rapists” to the United States. He later called his comments “100 percent correct,” but insisted he was a strong supporter of Mexicans. “How can I not love people who give me many millions of dollars for apartments?” Trump said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The Donald’s comments prompted piñata maker Dalton Remirez to design an extremely bashable piñata bearing Trump’s visage. The candy-filled sculpture retails for about $40, and Ramirez says it has been flying off shelves. “This piñata especially is the one everyone wants to break,” the artist told Reuters.

Read next: 8 Epic Business Failures with Donald Trump’s Name on Them

TIME 2016 Election

Chris Christie Launches Presidential Bid and Starts a Fight With His Own GOP

Democrats and fellow Republicans alike get tough talk as New Jersey Governor launches bid

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie started his campaign for the White House telling supporters that Democrats and fellow Republicans alike are to blame for the dysfunction in Washington and only a strong leader who tells the truth can fix it.

“We have to acknowledge our government isn’t working any more for us,” Christie said at his high school alma mater. “We have to acknowledge that and say it out loud. And we have to acknowledge it’s the fault of our bickering leaders in Washington, D.C., who no longer listen to us and no longer know they are serving us.”

The packed audience welcomed him home as a favorite son and seemed receptive to his pitch at compromise and truth-telling. Yet it was a scaled-down version of the campaign launch his advisers once imagined. The tough-talking former federal prosecutor was once the frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

Yet Christie angered some conservatives in the final days of 2012’s presidential race when he toured storm-damaged coastline in his state with President Obama, a Democrat. He later came under investigation for his allies’ role in closing lanes of the George Washington Bridge in a case of political retribution. And his donors have shifted from him and lined up with rivals with better odds such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush or Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. Even in starting his run, he acknowledged he was willing to ignore his political advisers.

“We need a government in Washington, D.C. that remembers you went there to work for us, not the other way around,” he said to cheers of “Chris.” Christie continued: “Both parties have failed our country. Both parties have stood in the corner and held their breath and waited to get their own way. Both parties have led us to believe that in America, a country that was built on compromise, that somehow now compromise is a dirty word.”

If the country’s founders had not compromised, he warned, “we’d still be under the Crown of England.”

Christie’s kick-off speech, delivered without a podium or teleprompter, had the requisite dings against Obama and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. But it also had the best-of hits from Christie’s time running his Democratic-leaning state. Sometimes, that record has angered members of both parties. Tea Party-styled groups, even as he was speaking, released criticism of him as insufficiently conservative.

“I’m not looking to be the most popular guy who looks in your eyes every day and figures out what you want to hear,” Christie said, acknowledging he wasn’t running to be “prom king” or even popular. “I mean what I say, and I say what I mean. And that’s what America needs right now.”

TIME Supreme Court

Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Union Fee Collection

The Supreme Court Issues Orders On Lethal Injection And Redistricting
Mark Wilson—Getty Images An American flag flies over the U.S. Supreme Court June 29, 2015 in Washington, DC. ( Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The case could affect 7 million public sector employees in 20 states

The Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it will hear a pivotal case against public-sector unions, deciding whether those unions can collect mandatory fees from non-members who benefit from collective bargaining.

The challenge comes from 10 non-unionized public school teachers in California who argue that paying the fee violates their free speech rights. They’re asking the Supreme Court to overturn a precedent from the 1970s that allows public sector unions to charges fees to non-union workers as long as the funds are not used for political activity.

California teachers’ unions and state Attorney General Kamala Harris have opposed the challenge, while conservative Justices have criticized the union precedent in the past. The case could affect 7 million public sector employees in 20 states, Reuters reports.

[Reuters]

 

TIME 2016 Election

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Is Running for President

Christie is running to "change the world"

(LIVINGSTON, N.J.) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has launched a 2016 campaign for president.

The Republican governor formally announced his plans in a Tuesday morning event in the gymnasium of his old high school.

He says both political parties “have failed our country” in an announcement speech calling for more compromise in politics.

Christie was once thought to be a leading White House contender, but his star has faded over the last year. He’s been hurt by a traffic scandal involving senior aides and a lagging state economy.

He joins a GOP field that already includes more than a dozen candidates.

Christie heads to New Hampshire later in the day, where he’s planning to campaign through the end of the week.

TIME White House

Obama’s Approval Rating Cracks 50%

President Obama Joins Mourners At Funeral Of Rev. Clementa Pinckney
Joe Raedle—Getty Images President Barack Obama delivers the eulogy for South Carolina state senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney during Pinckney's funeral service on June 26, 2015 in Charleston, S.C.

After he sang 'Amazing Grace' on television and had a big week in the Supreme Court

President Barack Obama’s approval rating cracked 50% following a week of dramatic news events, marking the highest ratings for his presidency since 2013.

A CNN/ORC poll found that 50% of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of the presidency, after a week that included Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage and the Affordable Care Act, as well as several statements on race and an emotional eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was killed in the Charleston shooting. Obama rounded out the week by singing “Amazing Grace” on national television at Rev. Pinckney’s funeral Friday.

The poll shows a significant jump since Obama’s 45% approval rating in May, and a dip in his disapproval rating, to 47%. This is the first time his approval rating has hit 50% since May 2013, and the second time his disapproval rating has fallen below 50% in that stretch of time.

The breakdown on specific issues is also going Obama’s way. 52% said they approve of how Obama is handling the economy, which is the first time that particular metric has exceeded 50% in six years of CNN/ORC polling. 55% said they approve of how Obama is handling race relations, up from 50% in May.

Yet there are still persistent challenges for Obama, especially on race. 74% of Americans say racial discrimination against black people is a serious problem in America, up from 47% five years ago– among African-American respondents, that number has jumped from 42% to 80%. And 42% of Americans think that race relations have gotten worse under Obama, compared to 20% who think they’ve gotten better.

[CNN]

TIME

Morning Must Reads: June 30

Capitol
Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Today marks the official deadline for the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, but the U.S. government is operating with July 9 as it’s de facto deadline. That’s the date by which American officials must submit the legislation to Congress to allow lawmakers 30 days to consider the deal, should there be one, before their August recess. If they fail to meet that deadline, Congress would have more time to consider the deal, and critics would have more time to drum up opposition to an agreement. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is announcing for president Tuesday by reaching back to his “Glory Days” as a high school student, and to his pre-Bridgegate swagger. Christie will need both in order to mount an unlikely comeback bid for the GOP nomination. The 2013 race to elect Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe was more than just the previous employer of Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook—it served as a key test-bed for the strategies he’s employing to try to elect the former Secretary of State next year. President Obama announced in an op-ed that he will take action this week to increase overtime pay for many hourly workers. Reality television star and president candidate Donald Trump‘s war of words with Univision and NBC help all parties in the high-profile spat. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will release 33 years of tax returns this afternoon. And today is a crucial fundraising deadline for presidential contenders, marking the last day for donations in the second quarter. The first results, serving as an important barometer for candidate viability will start to trickle in as soon as this week, and all must be filed by July 15.

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

Chris Christie Highlights Glory Days at Campaign Launch
The outspoken New Jersey governor’s path forward requires reclaiming his past [TIME]

What Hillary Clinton Learned From This 2013 Campaign
The 2013 election of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe laid the groundwork for the 2016 presidential campaign [TIME]

Both Sides Won When Donald Trump Was Fired
TIME’s Philip Elliott reports on the mutually-beneficial spat between the reality television star-turned-candidate and the networks that cut ties with him

U.S. Tells Iran That Preliminary Nuclear Deal Must Stand
Talks continue as deadline nears [New York Times]

Lack of Clear Front-Runner in Huge 2016 Field Highlights Fractures Within GOP
Why not run for president? [Los Angeles Times]

Supreme Court Blocks Obama’s Limits on Power Plants
A setback for the White House at the high court [New York Times]

Sound Off

“I’ve gotten good at this…This is so much fun, we should do it again.” — President Obama Monday when signing a pair of bills, including the controversial Trade Promotion Authority legislation

“The symbols that have divided the South in many ways, the symbols that were used in most recent modern history, perhaps not at the beginning of the time, but the symbols were racist.” — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on the Confederate flag, reflecting the altered political landscape surrounding its flying

Bits and Bites

Obama announces overtime pay hike in op-ed [Huffington Post]

Jeb Bush to release 33 years of tax returns [Fox News]

Joe Klein: Barack Obama’s defining moment [TIME]

Hillary Clinton faces a more liberal Democratic fund-raising landscape [New York Times]

Supreme Court temporarily blocks Texas abortion restrictions [Wall Street Journal]

White House on Greece: Not our problem [Politico]

U.S. government web portal shut down over security concerns [Wall Street Journal]

Union sues personnel office over hack of employees’ information [Washington Post]

Heavy hitters raising cash for Democratic candidate Martin O’Malley [Boston Globe]

Does Kerry want an Iran deal too much? [Politico]

Benghazi emails put focus on Hillary Clinton’s encouragement of adviser [New York Times]

 

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