Posts by mark price

House to Vote on 300% Interest Rate Payday Loans Today

UPDATE: House Bill 2191 was not voted upon as expected on Tuesday.

The Pennsylvania House will vote today on one of the most surprisingly controversial bills of the session, a plan to legalize predatory payday lending in Pennsylvania. House Bill 2191, sponsored by Rep. Chris Ross (R-Chester County), will allow payday loans to carry rates of more than 300% annually – more than 12 times the current legal limit.

Morning Must Reads: Asset Tests Are For Poor People Not Shell Oil

Will Bunch at the Philadelphia Daily News reviews a proposal from Governor Tom Corbett to give Shell Oil even more money for doing something they are already planning to do anyway.

May Job Numbers: Not Good But No Reason to Panic

As I mentioned this morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday that the national unemployment rate increased slightly in May to 8.2%, while non-farm payrolls increased by just 69,000 jobs. The report was disappointing, especially since the economy added 226,000 jobs a month in the first quarter of 2012.

Morning Must Reads: Austerity Hurts and the Sands in Bethlehem Has A Union But No Contract!

On Friday, we got a disappointing jobs report for May in which unemployment ticked up slightly and non-farm payroll growth came in below 100,000 jobs. The volatility of the numbers may reflect unseasonably warm winter weather rather than a fundamental slowdown in the economy. That said, the economy continues to grow at a pace too slow to bring down the unemployment rate quickly.

The Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Maria Panaritis has a biting commentary today on the impact of economic austerity on Pennsylvania schools.

Morning Must Reads: Special Needs Kids, Unemployment Insurance, Student Loan Debt and CEO Pay

Welcome back from the Memorial Day Weekend! The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this morning explores the impact of charter schools on school districts.

The New York Times reports on declining aid to the unemployed.

Morning Must Reads: State Budget Priorities 101: Education or Business Tax Breaks?

Wednesday brought protests across Pennsylvania over state budget cuts to education. To start things off, here are some of the news clips from demonstrations in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and elsewhere in the state.

Morning Must Reads: Job Creators Love the Prevailing Wage and Predatory Payday Lenders Are Lousy Job Creators

Is the prevailing wage just a battle between business and labor? James Gaffney explains why it isn't in the Harrisburg Patriot-News this morning.

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.