Posts by mark price

Morning Must Reads: Payday Loans Are Bad For Consumer and School Districts Report Financial Distress

In case you missed it, The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a strong editorial Monday against legalizing predatory payday lending in Pennsylvania.

Morning Must Reads: PA Job Numbers Out, The War On Unemployment Insurance, and Inequality

Happy Sunny Friday, people! Now for the not so good news. The job numbers for Pennsylvania came out Thursday, and the overall picture was somewhat disappointing. The unemployment rate edged down slightly to 7.4% and nonfarm payrolls declined by 600 jobs.

The Dreaded Omitted Variable Bias Red Card

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Most people would expect that states like Pennsylvania that more tightly control alcohol sales would have fewer of the social problems associated with excessive drinking, including alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities.

So you can imagine our surprise when analysis by economists John Pulito and Antony Davies reached the very opposite conclusion. Their work was published by self-avowed “free market” think tanks, including Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Foundation and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

The Pulito-Davies findings are at odds with those of a panel of public health experts who recently studied the effects of privatization of retail alcohol distribution. Based on a systematic review of the available research, the panel found that privatization contributes to increases in alcohol consumption, creating a greater risk of alcohol abuse and its associated social costs.

Morning Must Reads: Governor to School Districts: Do As I Say Not As I Do

The Associated Press reports this morning that Governor Corbett believes reductions in access to kindergarten and music or arts programs could be avoided if more school districts would spend down their reserves. This is the same Governor Corbett who left nearly half a billion in revenue unspent in last year's budget and the same Governor arguing that the new budget should again leave unspent hundreds of millions in better-than-expected state tax revenues.

Morning Must Reads: The Pennsylvania Hunger Games Diet: Cash for Corporations, Cuts for Kids

On Tuesday Marty Moss-Coane, the host of WHYY's Radio Times, moderated a question-and-answer session with Governor Tom Corbett at an event sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. The Governor ran wild with analogies.

Morning Must Reads: Policy Matters in Payday lending and Fracking

Unless you have been away for two weeks, you will note I have been posting a lot about House Bill 2191, which if enacted would legalize predatory payday lending in Pennsylvania.

If you listen to only the policymakers pushing this legislation, you would conclude this bill is a common-sense reform aimed at boosting consumer protection. The reality is quite different since the bill opens the door to a kind of predatory lending that exploits working families and destroys jobs

Morning Must Reads: Training and Education? Let Them Go To The Pittsburgh Opera

When workers lose their jobs in a recession, they have time that could be spent in training programs targeted to the needs of employers. Of course, there is a hitch: during a recession, employers are not hiring, so at the very time there are lots of people available to train, employers don't need new workers. As the economy improves (like it is now), it opens the door to training tied to the needs of businesses that are hiring. 

Morning Must Reads: Budget Outlook Improves, Governor's Understanding of Economics Not So Much

The headline on an editorial by The Daily Review of Towanda says all you need to know about payday lending.

Predatory Payday Lending Bill Flies Out of Cramped House Consumer Affairs Hearing

Room 148 of the State Capitol might as well double as a Capitol broom closet. That's where the House Consumer Affairs Committee this morning rushed out amendments to House Bill 2191, which legalizes predatory payday lending in Pennsylvania.

The amendments to HB 2191 were misleadingly pitched as adding more consumer protections to the bill. Even the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society took a look at these amendments and said they do "nothing to mitigate the already harmful aspects of HB 2191," and that one amendment "actually worsens the problem it claims to solve."

Morning Must Reads: The Impact of Economic Austerity, Student Loans and the Geography of Manufacturing

The U.S. economy is growing, albeit too slowly to make a substantial and badly needed dent in the unemployment rate. Growth in the U.S. economy will almost certainly mean continued growth in the Pennsylvania economy.

The most important risk to Pennsylvania's job growth in 2012 remains job losses among teachers, nurses and other public servants caused by federal and state budget cuts.