Jennifer Ludden en Outdated Tax Code Gives Some Working Spouses A Bad Deal Women today are nearly half the workforce, and two-income couples are the norm. But the U.S. tax code? It's straight out of <a href=""><em>Ozzie and Harriet</em></a>.<p>When it comes to paying taxes, economists say, a lot of secondary wage-earners are getting a raw deal. It's called the marriage penalty.<p>"The system was never designed to penalize working spouses," says Melissa Kearney, director of the Hamilton Project at The Brookings Institution. "It was just designed in a different era."<p>That era was 1948, when the U.S. Sun, 13 Apr 2014 20:59:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 38593 at Outdated Tax Code Gives Some Working Spouses A Bad Deal The Lives And Loves Left Behind By Fort Hood Victims Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.<p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>And I'm Robert Siegel. The family of the Fort Hood shooter released a statement today saying Ivan Lopez must not have been in his right mind. The statement asks for prayers for those affected by Wednesday's shooting. This afternoon, Fort Hood Commander Mark Milley identified the three people who were killed. Their families have been speaking out as they mourn their loved ones. Fri, 04 Apr 2014 20:17:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 38054 at It's Illegal But People Get Fired For Talking About Their Pay Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.<p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>And I'm David Greene. Good morning.<p>The U.S. Senate today will debate why women still earn roughly 80 cents to a man's dollar. Equal pay is a goal of the Paycheck Fairness Act. As NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports, one part of the bill would ban workplace policies that keep everyone's pay secret.<p>JENNIFER LUDDEN, BYLINE: Yes, experts say people do still get fired or punished for talking about their pay. It may not happen often. Tue, 01 Apr 2014 10:08:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 37775 at When Planning For The Future, Women Have Been Hands Off It's a truism in the financial industry that women need to get more out of their money than men since they live longer and make less, especially if they take time out to care for children or aging parents. Mon, 31 Mar 2014 07:28:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 37695 at When Planning For The Future, Women Have Been Hands Off Rural Appalachia Helps Some Women Save For Retirement Anita Wallace has run a day care in her home in rural Athens County, Ohio, for eight years. The schedule is more family-friendly than when she logged 60 hours a week as a manager at Wal-Mart, and the pay is about $27,000 a year — not bad for the area.<p>Wallace adores the children, getting down on the floor to let toddlers snuggle on her shoulder. Thu, 20 Mar 2014 20:28:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 37073 at Rural Appalachia Helps Some Women Save For Retirement Efforts To Close The Achievement Gap In Kids Start At Home When Andrea Riquetti taught kindergarten in Providence, R.I., the disparity between more affluent students and those from poor families was painfully clear.<p>"We would read <em>The Very Hungry Caterpillar</em>," she says, "and I would ask them, 'What is this fruit?' And they would call all the fruits just 'fruits,' because they didn't have the specific name."<p>Two-thirds of Providence children entering kindergarten already fall short on state literacy tests. Mon, 17 Mar 2014 20:09:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 36847 at Efforts To Close The Achievement Gap In Kids Start At Home Telework: Not Just For Moms And Millennials Many people may think of a "remote worker" as a harried mom in her bathrobe or a 20-something at a coffee shop. Thu, 27 Feb 2014 22:25:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 35675 at Telework: Not Just For Moms And Millennials Push To Change Custody Laws: What's Best For Kids? Fathers today spend more time than ever with their kids, experiencing just as much stress as women in balancing work and family, <a href="">if not more</a>. Wed, 26 Feb 2014 08:35:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 35526 at Push To Change Custody Laws: What's Best For Kids? Going To College May Cost You, But So Will Skipping It In America, total student loan debt tops $1 trillion and a four-year college degree can cost as much as a house — leaving many families wondering if college is really worth the cost.<p>Yes, a new study of young people finds. <a href="">The study, released Tuesday</a> by the Pew Research Center, looks at income and unemployment among young adults. Tue, 11 Feb 2014 22:56:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 34621 at Going To College May Cost You, But So Will Skipping It Paid Leave Laws Catch On Across the Nation This month, Rhode Island became the third state in the nation to offer workers paid family leave to care for a loved one. And on Tuesday, Newark, N.J., became the latest in a small wave of cities to mandate paid sick leave.<p><a href="" target="_blank">The policies</a> cover both public and private sector workers, and a dozen more areas are considering some variation of them.<p>In New York City, a new paid sick leave law hasn't even taken effect yet, but already Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to expand it. Tue, 28 Jan 2014 10:17:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 33632 at Paid Leave Laws Catch On Across the Nation Malawian Farmers Say Adapt To Climate Change Or Die Rain is so important in Malawi's agriculture-based economy that there are names for different kinds of it, from the brief bursts of early fall to heavier downpours called <em>mvula yodzalira</em>, literally "planting rain." For generations, rainfall patterns here in the southeast part of Africa have been predictable, reliable. But not now.<p>In the village of Jasi, in the hot, flat valley of Malawi's Lower Shire, farmer Pensulo Melo says 2010 was a disaster.<p>"I first planted my maize on Nov. Wed, 01 Jan 2014 08:04:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 31932 at Malawian Farmers Say Adapt To Climate Change Or Die With National Treasures At Risk, D.C. Fights Against Flooding The nation's capital is not exactly a beach town. But the cherry-tree-lined Tidal Basin, fed by the Potomac River, laps at the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. And, especially since Superstorm Sandy, officials in Washington have a clear idea of what would happen in a worst-case storm scenario.<p>"The water would go across the World War II memorial, come up 17th Street," says Tony Vidal of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "And there are actually three spots where the water would come up where we don't have ... Thu, 26 Dec 2013 21:36:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 31648 at With National Treasures At Risk, D.C. Fights Against Flooding Five Things You May Not Know About Child Marriage <em>NPR's Jennifer Ludden recently traveled to the African nation of Malawi, one of many countries in the developing world where child marriage remains prevalent. She found girls like Christina Asima, who was married at 12 and became a mother at 13. She is now divorced and caring for her infant son on her own. You can read Jennifer's <a href="" target="_blank">full report here</a>. Below are a few more things she learned while</em><em><em> reporting on </em>child marriage. Sun, 01 Dec 2013 10:24:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 29999 at Five Things You May Not Know About Child Marriage Can Child Marriages Be Stopped? Christina Asima seems tired for a 13-year-old. I meet the shy-mannered girl in the remote farming village of Chitera, in the southern African nation of Malawi. She wears a bright pink zip-up shirt and a blue print cloth wrapped up to her chest. Snuggled in that, hugging her side, is a chubby-cheeked baby boy.<p>My gut assumption is that the infant must be Christina's little brother. I know 8-month-old Praise is actually her son. Still, it's startling when, as we speak, she shifts him around front to nurse.<p>"I was 12 years old when I got married to my husband," she explains softly. Mon, 25 Nov 2013 15:04:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 29671 at Can Child Marriages Be Stopped? Illinois Files Suit Against Online Adoption Agency The Adoption Network Law Center is based in California, but when someone in Illinois searches "adoption" on the Web, up it pops, right near the top.<p>"They're very specific in directing their advertising and marketing to people in Illinois," says Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, even though they're not licensed in the state. Illinois prohibits for-profit adoption agencies.<p>In fact, Madigan notes the group is not licensed anywhere — yet a huge advertising budget means people searching across the country often find it first. Tue, 29 Oct 2013 21:30:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 27980 at Illinois Files Suit Against Online Adoption Agency Memorials Held For Washington Navy Yard Shooting Victims The names of all of the victims of yesterday's shootings at the Washington Navy Yard have now been released. Twelve people, mostly civilian employees of the Navy, were killed when a gunman opened fire in an office building in the complex Monday morning. The shooter also died. Memorials for some of the victims were held across the city Tuesday. Tue, 17 Sep 2013 21:18:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 25247 at For Restaurant Workers, A Struggle To Put Food On The Table Losia Nyankale, 29, didn't <em>mean</em> to make a career in the restaurant business. But after Nyankale was in college for two years, her mom lost her job as a schoolteacher and could no longer pay tuition. Then, Nyankale's temp jobs in bookkeeping dried up in the recession. So she went back to her standby — restaurant work.<p>"I did some kitchen work. The pantries or the salad station," she says. Thu, 29 Aug 2013 07:32:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 23969 at For Restaurant Workers, A Struggle To Put Food On The Table Study Finds Stagnated, Declining Wages For Low Wage Earners Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>The president's education tour is part of a broader campaign aimed at boosting the fortunes of the middle class. A study out today shows just how widespread the nation's economic pain has been. It finds that over the past decade, wages have been flat or even declined for the bottom 70 percent of American workers. NPR's Jennifer Ludden has that story.<p>JENNIFER LUDDEN, BYLINE: The farther down the income scale you go, the worse it gets. Wed, 21 Aug 2013 21:38:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 23490 at Jesse Jackson Jr. Sentenced To 30 Months In Prison Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>Former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. was sentenced to 30 months in prison today for using campaign funds to buy luxury goods. His wife also received a year in prison for filing false tax returns. Prosecutors called their joint crimes one of the worst abuses of campaign finance laws in recent memory. NPR's Jennifer Ludden was at the courthouse here in Washington, D.C.<p>JENNIFER LUDDEN, BYLINE: At one time, Jackson's political career was expected to rival that of his civil rights hero father. Wed, 14 Aug 2013 21:27:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 23032 at Carbon Tax Gaining Popularity, But Not With Lawmakers The idea of taxing carbon emissions to curb climate change has been gaining surprisingly diverse and bipartisan support over the past year. Everywhere, that is, except Congress. Thu, 18 Jul 2013 20:24:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 21274 at Zimmerman Verdict Feels Personal For Some In Service Sorority Attorney General Eric Holder looked out over a sea of women in red on Monday and invoked his wife, a member of the influential African-American sorority Delta Sigma Theta. Holder was <a href="" target="_blank">addressing the sorority's national convention</a> in its centennial year.<p>Founded at Howard University, Delta Sigma Theta is the largest single organization of African-American women in the United States. Mon, 15 Jul 2013 22:13:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 21051 at Zimmerman Verdict Feels Personal For Some In Service Sorority Gays And Lesbians Turn Fight To Workplace Discrimination Ban With new momentum for same-sex marriage from the <a href="" target="_blank">Supreme Court</a>, gays and lesbians are hoping for progress in another sphere: the workplace. Tue, 09 Jul 2013 22:00:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 20608 at Gays And Lesbians Turn Fight To Workplace Discrimination Ban Congress Not Likely To Pass Sweeping Climate Legislation Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>And now to an issue that lawmakers are not spending a lot of time debating: climate change. Tomorrow, President Obama will lay out a strategy to address the problem, using executive powers. It's an admission that's sweeping climate legislation stands little chance of passing Congress as NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports.<p>JENNIFER LUDDEN, BYLINE: Aides say Mr. Obama's plan includes limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The reaction from House Speaker John Boehner was blunt.<p>REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: I think this is absolutely crazy. Mon, 24 Jun 2013 22:10:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 19588 at Pew Poll: Adult LGBT Americans Optimistic About Future Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>Let's move on now to a sweeping survey here in the U.S. of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender adults. It reveals a community undergoing major change. LGBT adults say they're optimistic about increasing social acceptance.<p>But as NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports, many also describe stigma and rejection.<p>JENNIFER LUDDEN, BYLINE: Until just recently, demographers have had precious little information on this group. But with the debate over same-sex marriage and a Supreme Court ruling on it coming soon, pollsters are asking more questions. Thu, 13 Jun 2013 21:28:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 18903 at Pushed Off The Job While Pregnant At a time when most pregnant women work, there are new efforts to keep companies from unfairly targeting employees because of a pregnancy. The allegations of pregnancy discrimination persist and have even risen in recent years despite a decades-old law against it, <a href="" target="_blank">according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission</a>.<p>Advocates say those most vulnerable are low-wage workers like Natasha Jackson, a former account representative at Rent-A-Center in Charleston, S.C. Tue, 11 Jun 2013 18:26:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 18724 at Snowden Had A Fast Rise In The Intelligence World Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>NPR's Jennifer Ludden has been learning more about Edward Snowden's background, where he came from, what he's like. Here's her report.<p>JENNIFER LUDDEN, BYLINE: The bespectacled man with the wispy goatee grew up in North Carolina, then Maryland. Public records list his mother as a deputy clerk for the U.S. district court, his father a former Coast Guard officer. But they divorced in 2001 and according to a neighbor, Edward moved out of the family home as a teenager to a condo in Ellicott City, Maryland. Mon, 10 Jun 2013 21:12:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 18665 at Joblessness Shortens Life Expectancy For White Women At a time when many people live longer, it's been a mystery why white women without a high school diploma have been dying increasingly earlier those with more education.<p>A <a href="">study</a> in the June issue of the <em>Journal of Health and Social Behavior</em> tries to understand this growing mortality gap, and finds two key factors: smoking — already well known as detrimental to life expectancy — and, more surprising, unemployment.<p>The study used data the National Center for Health Statistics had collected on more Thu, 30 May 2013 18:57:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 17930 at Joblessness Shortens Life Expectancy For White Women Alimony Till Death Do Us Part? Nay, Say Some Ex-Spouses Alimony dates back centuries. The original idea was that once married, a man is responsible for a woman till death. But that notion has shifted in recent decades, as more women have jobs and their own money. Now, a number of states are considering laws to end lifetime alimony.<p>During his two-decade marriage, Tom Leustek's wife earned a Ph.D. and landed a job that paid as much as his. He's a college professor in New Jersey.<p>But she quit to start her own psychology practice, and her salary plummeted. Then they split. Tue, 28 May 2013 07:46:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 17698 at Stay-At-Home Dads, Breadwinner Moms And Making It All Work The next time you see a father out shopping with his kids, you might need to check your assumptions.<p>"I'll get the, 'Oh, look, it's a dad! That's so sweet!' "says Jonathan Heisey-Grove, a stay-at-home father of two young boys in Alexandria, Va., who is pretty sure the other person assumes he's just giving Mom a break for the day. Wed, 15 May 2013 10:04:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 16840 at Stay-At-Home Dads, Breadwinner Moms And Making It All Work Bombing Suspect's Lawyer A Quiet Defender Of The Notorious Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and Arizona mass shooter Jared Loughner all have one thing in common: defense attorney Judy Clarke. With her help, all three avoided the death penalty.<p>Clarke routinely faces an enraged public, top-notch prosecutors and difficult, often disturbed clients. Sun, 12 May 2013 09:34:00 +0000 Jennifer Ludden 16655 at Bombing Suspect's Lawyer A Quiet Defender Of The Notorious