Posts by stephen herzenberg

Why Do Rural Legislators Vote for Voucher Programs That Deliver NO Benefits to Their Counties?

Imagine two Pennsylvania programs that subsidize a mix of the state's most expensive private schools catering to the very rich plus faith-based instruction hostile to those with different beliefs. Imagine, further, that you don't have either kind of school in your rural county, which is served virtually entirely by public schools.

KRC on U.S. Senate Action to Prevent Cities from Improving Retirement Security for Private Sector Workers

We issued the following statement in my name this week in response to the U.S. Senate vote on H.J. Resolution 67 blocking a rule that would make it easier for cities to help private-sector employees save for retirement.
 
 
“Earlier today, Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey joined all but one member of the Republican Majority in the U.S. Senate to block large cities such as Philadelphia, New York, and Seattle from empowering employees of private-sector companies to save for retirement. Sen. Toomey and his colleagues made clear that they stand for the Wall Street financial firms who charge bigger fees to individuals who set up retirement savings plans on their own. Sen. Toomey and his colleagues stand against the Main Street retirees that would benefit when big cities bargain lower fees from financial services vendors and use competitive bids to select high-quality savings options.

Did I Miss a Contribution from the Arnold Foundation to the New York Times?

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Over the past half-dozen years, former Enron billionaire John Arnold has spent up to $50 million for research and communications aimed at eliminating guaranteed pensions for public sector workers.
 
Much of this money has gone to pillars of liberal America, such as the Pew Trust, the Urban Institute (recipient of almos

On Retirement Security, Senators Casey and Toomey, Which Side Are You On?

There's another "which side are you on?" issue under consideration in Washington D.C., and it could come before Senators Casey and Toomey in a vote as early as this week.

The issue is retirement security in the private sector.

Every one of Pennsylvania's 13 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives has already spoken. They are against itretirement security in the private sector that is. That means they are also against Main Street and for Wall Street. Good to know. 

Reflections on the Election and the White Working Class...and Some Links Worth Reading

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Like many of you, I've spent the last 10 days reflecting on the Presidential election and devouring countless commentaries. The end of this blog includes some links I found helpful.

In Election's Wake: Time to Judge Elected Officials on Whether They Deliver an Economy Less Rigged to Benefit Political Insiders

What should Pennsylvanians and Americans take away from the Presidential election? While fully digesting Trump's razor-thin victory will take time, national exit polls show that the President-elect won several groups by large margins: white non-college and rural voters, those who view the economy as fair or poor, and those whose family financial situation has worsened.

Advice for the Voting Booth: Consider Who Will Support the Agenda to Raise Pennsylvania's Pay?

The day before the election, Pennsylvanians who go to the polls tomorrow have one last chance to consider the choices they will make.

Since Keystone Research Center is an economic think thank focused on the middle class, our efforts to inform voters have highlighted two issues: how the middle class is doing; and the policies that would benefit the middle class going forward.

Congratulations to Board Member Jordan Yeager on Act 13 Decision

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In a win for environmentalists and municipalities, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court last month struck down a number of provisions to the state’s oil and gas law, Act 13. Keystone Research Center board member Jordan Yeager was the attorney who argued for the towns and environmental groups involved in the challenging the law.

Top Universities Sued Because...401(k)-Style Retirement Plans Provide Less Bang for the Retirement Buck

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Earlier this week, MIT, Yale, and New York University were sued because their 401(k)-style retirement plans have had excessive fees and provided employees with a bewildering array of often-low-quality investment options. The Universities, in effect, allowed the transfer of a significant share of their employees' potential retirement benefits to Wall Street.

This should be a "teachable moment," an opportunity for the robotic chorus of 401(k)-style champions — including in Pennsylvania's legislature, editorial boards, and other news media — to register that typical 401(k)-style retirements are a lousy deal for workers.

A New Approach to Accountability: What PA Schools Can Learn From the U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team

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Americans today are celebrating the astounding success of the U.S. women's gymnastics team at the summer olympics in Rio. The team won the gold medal last night, finishing nearly twice as far ahead of silver medalist Russia as Russia finished ahead of eighth place Brazil.

Believe it or not, the success of the U.S. women's gymnastics team contains within it a powerful suggestion for improving Pennsylvania's schools — a new approach to "accountability" that could result in gold-medal performances by more and more Pennsylvania children over time.