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U.S. News Archive
May 14 - May 20, 2000





This page contains news for the period Saturday, May 14, 2000 through Thursday, May 20, 2000.


<<   May 2000  >>

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May 18, 2000

Free MetLife brochures on marriage, divorce and remarriage

A story released today by PR Newswire reports that as a way to help people address complicated marriage issues, the MetLife Consumer Education Center has created three free brochures -- "Getting Married," "Divorce" and "Getting Remarried."

Made available as a public service, the free brochures are part of the MetLife Consumer Education Center's LIFE ADVICE (R) program, created to help people better understand and manage the major events in their lives.

Offering innovative suggestions for cutting wedding costs, "Getting Married" includes a basic budget planner, a pre-wedding organizational checklist and offers helpful hints on creating a guest list, buying a wedding gown and planning a honeymoon. "Getting Married" also provides post wedding information including instructions on how to combine financial affairs, legally change your name and obtain insurance for your engagement and wedding rings.

Because a marriage intertwines almost all aspects of your life with your spouse's, "Divorce" offers advice on how to untangle any emotional, legal and financial issues a divorce can cause. The brochure includes information on how to shop for a lawyer and negotiate legal fees and explains how to reorganize your financial affairs. "Divorce" also discusses the emotional ramifications the separation may have on children and how to help them accept this difficult situation.

"Getting Remarried" alerts second-time newlyweds to various issues they should address before marrying. The brochure advises partners to be honest with each other about their assets, debts and attitudes toward money and to decide whether to jointly or separately hold their assets or consolidate past financial records. "Getting Remarried" explains that some couples may want to establish a marriage contract -- known as a pre- or post-nuptial agreement -- if a child, a small business, or an occupation change is involved.

To request free brochures call 800-638-5433.


May 17, 2000

Federal employees now protected from discrimination due to parenthood

A story released today by the Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News reports that parents who work for the federal government are now protected against discrimination in the workplace.

Supervisors in the federal government cannot deny jobs or promotions to any of its 2.9 million employees solely because of family obligations or the perception that those obligations would get in the way of work responsibilities.

But legislation that would extend the same protections to workers in the private sector is stalled in Congress. And that is where at least one industry representative and attorneys who represent both labor and business in discrimination suits say the measure is likely to remain. 

President Clinton issued the executive order protecting parents on May 2.  He encouraged Congress to pass the measure. 

According to a White House statement, the parent anti-discrimination measures would not interfere with an employer's ability to select workers; "(they) would simply ensure that workers are not discriminated against simply because they are parents."

But Tom Wiencek, chairman of the labor law department for the Akron law firm Brouse McDowell, said the executive order, as well as the proposed legislation, would make employers vulnerable to a flood of litigation from anyone with children. 

"I think companies have enough restrictions on them now," Wiencek said. "I don't think we ought to increase the price of doing business by adding another.

"Also, it would be another alienating factor in the workplace culture. It's one thing to have a protected category based on someone's disability or race or sex. But it's quite another thing when you're talking about lifestyle. You would have deep divisions (pitting) single employees vs. married employees vs. gay employees."


May 16, 2000

Auto dealers target nation's capitol for 'Death Tax Summit'

A story released today by PR Newswire reports that more than 600 automobile retailers from across the United States will descend on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, May 23, joining other family-owned business groups in urging Congress to eliminate estate taxes during the Death Tax Summit.

The dealers will be in town to attend the Automotive Congress, the largest grassroots-lobbying event in the automotive industry, sponsored by the American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA).

The majority of automobile dealerships are family-owned businesses, some of which have been in the family for generations. Upon the death of the dealer principal, surviving heirs must pay death taxes of  up to 55 percent of the estate's total value -- in cash -- to the federal government. To pay these unreasonably high taxes, heirs often must sell the business, break it up or liquidate their assets.

"Death taxes can be a death sentence for family-owned automobile dealerships," says AIADA Chairman Barbara Vidmar, a second generation multi- franchise dealer in Pueblo, Colo. Like many auto dealers, Vidmar's ability to pass her dealership on to her children in the business is threatened by the federal estate tax.

To eliminate this threat, AIADA members will urge their members of Congress to support H.R. 8, the Death Tax Elimination Act, co-sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Dunn and Rep. John Tanner (D-TN). The bill would phase-out estate and gift taxes over a 10-year period, effectively ending the tax in 2010. Dunn will address attendees at the Automotive Congress at 11:00 am on May 23 at the JW Marriott Hotel.

The Republican House leadership has indicated that they will have a stand- alone vote on death tax repeal sometime this spring. AIADA leaders hope members of Congress will listen to their constituent concerns and support the Death Tax Elimination Act.

Upper-income single people would also benefit if the federal estate tax were eliminated. 

Under current law, a person may leave an unlimited amount of assets to a spouse without incurring any estate taxes.  That is because spouses are exempt from the federal estate tax.

However, if an unmarried person leaves a bequest to a domestic partner, a friend, or a blood relative, that transfer is taxed at the time of the donor's death.  Depending upon the size of the estate, the government can take as much as 60 percent of the assets in taxes.

Internet poll shows Bush in lead, but not with unmarried voters

A story released today by Business Wire reports that although the media pundits may obsess about the horse race between George Bush and Al Gore, and the narrow lead (49% to 45%) Bush holds over Gore, the real story of this election is the extent to which the constituencies of the two candidates resemble two very different nations.

One nation is predominately Protestant, White, married, older, economically advantaged, and supportive of Bush. The other nation is much more likely to be non-Protestant, non-White, single, younger, less well off and supportive of Al Gore.

As a result, regardless of who wins, neither Bush nor Gore appears likely to emerge with the kind of strong mandate cutting across diverse demographic groups that makes major policy initiatives sustainable. This is the key finding from the latest Harris Interactive Election 2000 survey that introduces a new feature -- Family and Economic Status Segmentation.

The survey was conducted from May 3rd to May 9th among 10,943 registered voters selected at random from the Harris Interactive Internet panel of more than 6.2 million respondents.

Family and Economic Status Segmentation--made possible by the large samples Harris Interactive can obtain through the Internet--divides voters into 12 groups (some of which overlap--e.g. "Good Life Gray Hairs" and the "Retired") based on their family status, age, and income.

The key overall findings for a two-person race are as follows:

  • Al Gore leads among "College Students" by 8 points, among the unattached--singles, divorced/separated, widowed--by 8 points, and among single parents by 16 points.

  • Bush leads among married voters, but the size of his lead varies greatly among different married groups. He leads by 14 points among those with no kids, and 5 points among empty nesters whose kids have left home. Among married families with kids under 18, he leads by 9 points--but leads only by 3% among "Working Class Families" as compared to 13% for "Middle Class Families," and 16% among "Upper Class Families."

  • Bush also holds double digit leads among the older family segments--"Medicare Grandparents," "Good Life Grayhairs" and the "Retired." Contrary to the comments of many pundits, this should not be surprising. Today's seniors had their formative experiences primarily during World War II and the beginning years of the Cold War and post-war affluence. That such an age cohort should be predominately conservative in its economic and social outlook makes perfect sense.

The religious affiliation segmentation shows the continuing importance in this campaign of religious beliefs and race. Bush continues to hold a strong lead among White Protestants, particularly Baptists and non-denominational Christians, as well as among Mormons. Gore holds equally strong leads among Black Protestants, Jews and the non-religious. Catholics remain the swing religious group although Bush currently holds a small lead among them.

The question asked, and the results, are found below.  

Question: "If the Presidential election were held today between George W. Bush for the Republicans and Al Gore for the Democrats, who would you most likely vote for?

To see the results, in a table format, click here.


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