News Release

· Equal Pay Day · Biggest Bank Merger?

VICKY LOVELL
Today is Equal Pay Day. Lovell, director of employment and work/life programs at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, said today: “The wage ratio between women and men failed to narrow in 2006, and an earlier trend toward equal pay has stalled. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2006 the ratio of the annual averages of women’s and men’s median weekly earnings was 80.8 for full-time wage and salary workers, down slightly from 2005, when it was 81.0, compared with a 1993 level of 77.1. Women’s usual weekly earnings were $600 in 2006, compared with $743 for men. Despite women’s rising educational achievement and strong work commitment, fair pay remains out of reach. Even if you control for what occupation people have and other relevant factors, there’s still a gender wage gap.”
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DOUG HENWOOD
AP reports that “ABN Amro NV agreed Monday to a $91.16 billion takeover by Barclays PLC and to sell its U.S. assets … Barclays CEO John Varley called the deal ‘the largest merger ever in global financial industry,’ and said it holds out the promise of growth at a rate twice as fast as global gross domestic product.”

Henwood is editor of Left Business Observer and author of the book Wall Street. He said today: “The merger is bad for workers, since the economic rationale for the deal is to cut ‘duplicative’ functions, which means layoffs. From the point of view of consumers and economic policymakers, there’s little impact — it’s just not going to change that much.

“Though populists like to talk about the virtues of small, local banks, in fact most small institutions have more money than they can invest locally, and so lend their surplus cash into the money markets. Most mergers don’t work out as planned, even from the capitalists’ point of view — there’s a century of evidence behind that assertion, but it’s never stopped anyone — which suggests that managerial ego and empire building is the real motive for mergers, not the touted efficiencies.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167