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On the News With Thom Hartmann: Millennials Earn Less Than Previous Generations, and More

The expectation for many Americans has always been that one generation will do better than those who came before them.

In today’s On the News segment: Millennials in the Big Apple make about 20 percent less than the previous generation; The people of North Carolina are making it clear that they are not OK with discrimination; two-thirds of our nation’s high-speed internet subscribers may soon be under the control of just two companies; and more.

See more news and opinion from Thom Hartmann at Truthout here.


Thom Hartman here — on the best of the rest of Economic and Labor News…

You need to know this. The expectation for many Americans has always been that one generation will do better than those who came before them. But, that may not be the case when it comes to millennials. According to a new report from Scott Stringer, the comptroller of New York City, millennials in the Big Apple make about 20 percent less than the previous generation. And, that statistic is the same or worse in many other parts of the country. For all the hipster jokes and stereotypes we hear about millennials, people born between the early-’80s and mid-’90s have been stuck in low-wage jobs since the recession, and they may never be able to close that 20 percent income gap between themselves and their older colleagues. Even those young people who managed to find a job in their chosen profession during the economic downturn were paid a lower starting salary than their predecessors, and their wages have remained pretty much stagnant since that time. Many other millennials weren’t fortunate enough to find a job in their chosen industry, despite that expensive degree that was supposed to bring them a better future. In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Mr. Stringer said, “This generation is at a crossroads. They worked hard, got an education, and then faced roadblocks to getting a good-paying job.” He added, “It’s time for us to pay attention to the largest generation in New York City, and start to break down those barriers.” And, New York City isn’t the only place where those barriers need to come down. People who worked hard and went to college should be able to earn a living wage, and they shouldn’t be faced with a lifetime of struggling more than the previous generation. Millennials are now the largest age group in our population, and we must do more to ensure that they are not simply a generation lost.

North Carolina lawmakers may be fine with anti-LGBT legislation, but the people in that state have made it clear that they are not OK with discrimination. Last week, more than 150,000 signatures were delivered to Gov. Pat McCrory’s office demanding the repeal of House Bill 2 (HB2). That’s the anti-LGBT legislation that has been nicknamed the “Bathroom Bill,” and has caused numerous large businesses to pull out of North Carolina. Ivy Hill, the LGBT rights toolkit coordinator for the Campaign for Southern Equality, said, “HB2 is a blatant, unconstitutional attack on the transgender community in North Carolina and we call for its immediate repeal.” Ivy added, “We must come together as a community to organize and support each other to make North Carolina safe for all its citizens.” And, they aren’t the only group standing up to this discriminatory law in the Tar Heel state. Citizens and advocacy groups will keep fighting for equality in North Carolina, and every state, and we won’t stop until this discrimination comes to an end.

Thanks to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), two-thirds of our nation’s high-speed internet subscribers may soon be under the control of just two companies. According to a recent article over at Common Dreams, that agency has approved Charter Communication’s $90 billion takeover of two other cable providers: Time Warner and Bright House Networks. Despite the fact that more than 300,000 public comments were submitted regarding the deal, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler circulated an approval order after Charter agreed to a set of so-called “consumer-friendly” conditions. As if we haven’t heard those promises before… Craig Aaron, the president and CEO of Free Press, said, “Thanks to this merger both Charter and Comcast now have unprecedented control over our cable and Internet connections.” He added, “Their crushing monopoly power will mean fewer choices, higher prices, no accountability, and no competition.” And, that is pretty much everything that the FCC was supposed to protect against. We shouldn’t be increasing the size of monopolies, we should be breaking them up, and this cable merger should have been blocked.

The Obama Administration is standing up to corporate golden parachutes. According to a recent article over at The District Sentinel, multiple agencies are working together to make it harder for corporate executives to take huge payouts after making risky business deals. The measure is part of the Dodd-Frank Act, and it will make it harder to CEOs to profit off of short-term decisions while damning their companies and the rest of us to a bad deal in the long run. Not only would the measure ban incentive-based payments that encourage risky decisions, it would allow companies to “claw back” bonuses paid to CEOs who are later-found to have taken inappropriate risks. As Sam Knight over at the Sentinel explained, “The subprime mortgage bubble was fueled last decade, in part, by annual bonuses that encourage volume of business over anything else.” These rules will be open to public comment until mid-July, so we should all weigh in over at the National Credit Union Administration website.

And finally… While state lawmakers continue to discriminate against transgender people, colleges are welcoming students regardless of their gender identity. According to a recent article over at the ThinkProgress blog, trans students will now have better options when they fill out a college application. In the past, those applications have required students to answer a question about their sex, without factoring in their gender identity. Those applications didn’t leave room for the millions of college students who don’t identify with the gender of their birth. The new universal college application and common application, which are standardized forms used by most colleges and universities, will both be more inclusive to trans students. Rather than simply asking college kids for their sex, the applications will allow students to answer about gender identity, and includes options like “self-identify.” And, these application changes are in addition to many Greek organizations welcoming trans students, many universities issuing guidelines to respect gender identity, and more gender-neutral bathrooms and housing options on campus. Slowly, but surely, the world is recognizing that there is nothing wrong with embracing a spectrum of gender identity, and that’s a great thing for everyone.

And that’s the way it is – for the week of May 2, 2016 — I’m Thom Hartman — on the Economic and Labor News.

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