A New Look at Labor Day

Written by Robert F. Abbott


A New Look at Labor Day

Robert F. Abbott

A day to reflect onrepparttar accomplishments of working people: That's beenrepparttar 126023 proud tradition sincerepparttar 126024 first, unofficial, Labor Day back in 1882.

But, one of labor's greatest accomplishments has gone largely unrecognized. Sincerepparttar 126025 end of World War II, working people have bought up a huge chunk of big business. They now own a piece of just about everything in business, from multinational corporations to small companies that build mini-malls in their neighborhoods.

It may berepparttar 126026 greatest economic transformation sincerepparttar 126027 Industrial Revolution; management guru Peter Drucker calls it "The Pension Fund Revolution."

To get a sense ofrepparttar 126028 transformation, consider this: Atrepparttar 126029 end of 2001, America's 242 billionaires had assets totalling about $800 billion. That's a sizable amount, certainly, but working people had assets of $11.8 trillion in pension and mutual funds. That's almost 15 times as much asrepparttar 126030 billionaires.

Most working people contribute only modest amounts to their retirement plans, but there are simply so many of us that our collective nest egg grew very quickly. If you're still not sure, try this on your calculator: Multiply a contribution of $1,000 per year by one million working people. Answer: $1 billion dollars per year. Now note there are hundreds of millions of working people here and in other countries. And we're contributing new money every year.

Even a relatively small number of working people can build a big fund. For example,repparttar 126031 New York State Common Retirement Fund, with 944,000 members in or retired from state public services, had assets of $112 billion atrepparttar 126032 end of March last year. According torepparttar 126033 Fund's annual report for 2002, about $76.6 billion of that total was invested in companies. The remainder, about $35 billion, was in bonds, mortgages, and other types of loans.

Look atrepparttar 126034 private sector and unions, too. To cite just a couple of examples, Pensions & Investments magazine estimated that General Motor's pension fund had assets of $82.5 billion andrepparttar 126035 pension fund ofrepparttar 126036 Western Conference Teamsters had assets of $22.6 billion, at September 30, 2001.

No Boondoggle to Tie Foreign Aid to Recipients' Core Values

Written by Marc J. Lane


Official corruption, it's plain to see, stifles entrepreneurship, innovation and investment inrepparttar poorest of nations. That's one important reasonrepparttar 126022 Bush administration's visionary Millennium Challenge Account plan would, forrepparttar 126023 first time, promote prosperity inrepparttar 126024 developing world by tying foreign aid to a country's commitment to rule justly, invest in its people and embrace economic freedom. Yet,repparttar 126025 program's future is in doubt. The ideologues who bash it contend that legislative compromises linking U.S. aid to a nation's social performance threaten to turnrepparttar 126026 Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) strategy into a worthless boondoggle.

Butrepparttar 126027 MCA proposal is a novel and constructive reform initiative. It promises to bring hope, opportunity and business torepparttar 126028 neediest people on earth, but only after their governments demonstrate that their policies and institutions can realistically be expected to spur sustainable economic development.

Underrepparttar 126029 plan, an eligible country would request a monetary grant, enter into a contract withrepparttar 126030 U.S. government and submit to U.S. scrutiny. Any country that seeks MCA aid would need to encourage good governance, transparent regulation and open trade. And only measurable results would be rewarded with an incentive payout.

The pending MCA bill would energizerepparttar 126031 poorest of nations not only by affording them targeted financial assistance, but also by invitingrepparttar 126032 competition to qualify for it. As important,repparttar 126033 program stands to root out official corruption and safeguard human rights and political liberty.

Corruption within developing countries official bribery, extortion, fraud and embezzlement debases democracy, distorts markets, and denies both risk-takers and workers their fair share of economic resources. It also underminesrepparttar 126034 stability and growth of our global trading system.

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