Economic History

'This Is What the Middle Class Looks Like' ... Fast Food One-day Strikes and the Next Upsurge in Unionism

"This is what democracy looks like." Even though this chant originated with the Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO), which haven't yet led to major reforms, the phrase nonetheless captures the idea of a social movement that has crystallized its demands and has a better chance to succeed because of it. Other examples include the right to vote in the civil rights movement, or the fight to legalize gay marriage, a simple modern demand that culminates a fight for equality in all its dimensions.

Morning Must Reads: One Bidder? What Could Go Wrong?

The Keystone Research Center does not oppose the use of private contractors to provide services to federal, state and local governments as a matter of philosophy.

On pragmatic grounds, we DO support good governance, including carefully assessing the costs and benefits of privatization. Too often privatization is a goal in and of itself and good governance — careful weighing of pros and cons — isn't even in the vocabulary of privatization advocates.

Third and State This Week: The Manufacturing Jobs Score, Charter School Bill Dies & a Win Against Corporate Welfare

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new report on manufacturing job growth by presidential administration, the stalling of a charter school bill in the House, a rare victory in the endless fight against corporate welfare, the latest Pennsylvania jobs report, and much more!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On manufacturing jobs, Stephen Herzenberg highlighted a report he co-authored with Colin Gordon of the Iowa Policy Project on state-level manufacturing job growth and loss across 16 post-World War II presidential administrations.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price offered his quick take on Friday's report showing the commonwealth's jobs picture in September remains headed in the wrong direction. Mark Price also blogged about a new report finding that skills shortages in manufacturing are a local, not a national, problem.
  • On economic development, Mark Price wrote about a food corporation's withdrawal of a request for a property tax abatement a day after Michael Wood of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center raised questions about it in an op-ed in the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher wrote about a charter school reform bill that stalled this week in the state House.
  • On income inequality, Mark Price blogged about a piece in The New York Times that drew parallels between income inequality practices in old Venice and present day America. Mark also wrote that the biggest challenge facing the next President of the United States will be runaway inequality.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

The State-Level Manufacturing Jobs Score Since 1948

Last month, Colin Gordon of the Iowa Policy Project and I published a national analysis of job growth and loss in U.S. manufacturing by presidential term since 1948. Shortly thereafter, we came across state-level data that allowed us to replicate our "manufacturing jobs score" analysis in each of the 50 states.

We summarized our findings in a new policy brief this week, with a focus on regions and some individual states, including Pennsylvania.

Each of four multi-state regions and 43 of the 50 states experienced more job loss (or smaller job gains) in the nine Republican administrations combined than across the seven Democratic administrations combined.

Third and State This Week: Paying the Boss to Work, a Payday Lending Poll, and Austin Powers on Tax Incentives

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the problems with a "pay your boss to work" tax credit plan, what the Austin Powers movies can teach us about economic development, the gas industry taking on Pennsylvania charities, an online payday lending poll, and more!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state tax policy, Michael Wood noted the top 10 reasons to vote no on a bill that would allow many Pennsylvania employers to pocket the state income taxes paid by new employees.
  • On taxes and economic development, Mark Price channeled his vast knowledge of Austin Powers' quotes to comment on an effort by a food corporation to secure a property tax abatement for a meat repackaging plant in Lower Allen Township.
  • On Marcellus Shale, Stephen Herzenberg wrote about the need for reliable data on natural gas drilling after the Marcellus Shale Coalition criticized the funding priorities of certain Pennsylvania foundations.
  • On payday lending, Chris Lilienthal urged readers to vote in an online poll asking Pennsylvanians if payday lenders should be able to open storefronts in the state.
  • And on jobs and the economy, Mark Price chronicled the many informative responses debunking former GE CEO Jack Welch's suggestion on Twitter that the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics altered September's jobs report.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Morning Must Reads: Never Before Has So Much Stupid Led to So Much Learning!

At 7.8% in September, the U.S. unemployment rate was below 8% for the first time since January 2009. Five minutes after the new numbers were released, former General Electric CEO Jack Welch suggested the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) had juked the stats.

Water Polo Swimsuit Malfunctions CAN Be Revealing

You heard it first on The Rick Smith Show!

Last night, while guest hosting Rick's show, I used the need for rules in water polo — to prevent players from ripping off each other's swimsuits and Speedos underwater — as a metaphor for the fact that we need regulations and government policy to achieve "good" competition in our economy (based on productivity, quality, service, and innovation).

Morning Must Reads: 40 Million American Workers Get No Paid Sick Leave

The New York Times comes out strongly in favor of paid sick leave legislation in New York City. Looking at you, Philadelphia.

Third and State This Week: General Assistance Ends, Check In on Economy & Grads Face Global Competition for Jobs

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the end of General Assistance in Pennsylvania, the state of the economy, American college graduates facing overseas competition for jobs and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On poverty and the state budget, Sharon Ward shared a clip from her appearance on The War Room with Jennifer Granholm on Current TV discussing the impact of ending Pennsylvania's General Assistance Program. Mark Price also highlighted General Assistance's end, as did guest blogger Liz Schott of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
  • On higher education, Jamar Thrasher wrote about the increased competition faced by American graduates as companies outsource jobs for lower wages and higher revenues.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price shared a New York Times piece discussing the lack of good jobs and its relationship to poverty. Mark weighed in on the Federal Reserve's recent decision to take no steps to boost economic growth, despite high unemployment. And Mark delved deeper into Pennsylvania's jobs report for June.
  • And on fiscal policy, Mark Price blogged about a story on the radio program Marketplace revisiting some of the predictions made a year ago about what would happen as a result of Standard and Poor's downgrade of the U.S. credit rating.

Note: We will have more blog posts next week, but we will not have a weekly roundup on Friday, August 10. We will resume the weekly roundup blog post on Friday, August 17. In the meantime, keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Third and State This Week: Challenging Conventional Wisdom on Payday Lending & Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new report challenging the conventional wisdom on payday lending, the third anniversary of the last increase in the minimum wage, public policy that shrinks the economy, bizarre claims about income inequality and much more.

  • Jamar Thrasher wrote about a Pew Center on the States report showing that payday lending is less frequent in states with restrictive laws and that borrowers tend to use payday loans for recurring expenses — not just emergencies.
  • Intern Alan Bowie blogged about the third anniversary of the last increase in the minimum wage and how it has not kept pace with the rising cost of living.
  • On income inequality, Mark Price shared a Paul Krugman column catching the Tax Foundation making a bizarre claim about income inequality.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price highlighted an insightful Q&A with Professor Peter Cappelli of the Wharton School of Business on his new book Why Good People Can't Get Jobs, and wrote about the danger of public policies that shrink the economy.
  • Finally, on the Marcellus Shale, Mark Price highlighted a Patriot-News column eviscerating the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for using suspect job numbers in a Marcellus gas public relations campaign.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

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