Workplace

With Employer Health System Fraying, ACA Is More Important Than Ever

Our friends at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) are out today with an interactive map showing how the 50 states stack up when it comes to employer-sponsored health insurance. With the nation’s employer-based health insurance system fraying rapidly in the past decade, the findings highlight just how important the Affordable Care Act is to many Americans.

Third and State This Week: Selling Snake Oil to the States, Medicaid Expansion Means Jobs, and the PA Budget Summit

This week at Third and State, we blogged about how ALEC is trying to sell snake oil to the states, a new report finding that an expansion of Medicaid would support tens of thousands of new Pennsylvania jobs, and the Pennsylvania Budget Summit which took place in Harrisburg this week.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On budget and fiscal policies, Sharon Ward blogged about new research striking a stake in the heart of claims by ALEC that its policies of lower taxes, fewer workplace protections, and diminished public investments is good for the public.
  • On health care policy and the economy, Chris Lilienthal wrote about a new report finding that the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act would support more than 41,200 new jobs across Pennsylvania's economy in 2016.
  • On state budget and tax policy, we pulled together live tweets from the Pennsylvania Budget Summit all in one place.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has posted resources from the Budget Summit online. This includes our Just the Facts on Pennsylvania Spending, Taxes, Debt and Tax Fairness.
  • PBPC has launched a new Education Facts Page, with Pennsylvania data on enrollment in public, private and charter schools in the commonwealth as well as information about education funding and school poverty. Check it out.

ALEC Policies Sell 'Snake Oil to the States'

Three national organizations offered a scathing criticism of policies endorsed by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, in a conference call with reporters last week. Their findings strike a stake in the heart of ALEC claims that its view of the world — lower taxes, fewer workplace protections, and diminished public investments — is good for the public. 

Pennsylvania state lawmakers who look to ALEC for guidance on economic policy should stand up and take notice. 

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: Court Halts Voter ID Law, Changing the Subject on Payday Lending and Paying the Boss to Work

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a court decision halting enforcement of the Voter ID Law in the November election, an effort to change the subject on payday lending, a report on rising student debt, a lawsuit against the state to restore General Assistance and much more!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On voter ID, we highlighted a statement from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) on a Commonwealth Court decision halting enforcement of the Voter ID Law in the November election. Chris Lilienthal also highlighted MSNBC's coverage of PBPC's recent report on the state's flawed implementation of the Voter ID Law.
  • On payday lending, Mark Price wrote about a recent state Senate hearing on the subject and why changing the subject doesn't make high-interest payday lending any better an idea in Pennsylvania.
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a Pew Research Center report on the growing burden of student debt especially among the lowest-income students.
  • On jobs, Mark Price explained how the story of a Bucks County manufacturer who is finding it difficult to recruit workers made him think of a joke about parrots and economists. He also broke down the employment picture in Allentown.
  • On state tax policy, we shared a video from Reuters exploring the problems with programs that allow certain businesses to keep the income taxes paid by employees. The Pennsylvania House is considering a similar program.
  • On public welfare, Mark Price blogged about a lawsuit aimed at restoring Pennsylvania's General Assistance program.

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

Pennsylvania Faces a Shortage of Skilled Parrots

The economist J.R. McCulloch once quipped that to pass for an economist, a parrot need only learn the phrase: “supply and demand, supply and demand.” In many cases, explaining trends in the economy often comes down to understanding supply and demand. 

Third and State This Week: Confusion About Voter ID, Payday Lending in the Senate and Poverty-wage Jobs

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new report on the Voter ID Law, a bill to legalize high-interest payday lending now before the state Senate, poverty-wage jobs in Pennsylvania, and much more!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On voter ID, Sharon Ward blogged about a new report from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on confusion surrounding the new law among PennDOT staff and voters alike. You can check out PBPC's full report here.
  • On payday lending, Mark Price wrote about legislation before the Senate to legalize payday loans with annual interest rates of 369%. He also explained that the writer of a letter to the editor in the Patriot-News supportive of the bill forgot to mention her group represents payday lenders.
  • On economic development, Mark Price wrote about local incentives in a Tennessee town intended to lure web developers.
  • On poverty, Mark Price reported that about 24% of Pennsylvania workers earned poverty wages in 2011.
  • On monetary policy, Mark Price highlighted two views on what the Federal Reserve can do to boost the economy. 
  • On education, Mark Price shared an Allentown Morning Call column offering a midterm report card on Governor Corbett's education policies.
  • And in a Friday Funny, we bring you an article by the satirical newspaper The Onion on how voter suppression in Pennsylvania isn't as fun as it used to be. 

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

A Look at Poverty-Wage Jobs in Pennsylvania

In this year's State of Working Pennsylvania, we explored the prevalence of poverty-wage jobs in the commonwealth. 

We define poverty-wage jobs as those paying hourly wages that would not be sufficient for a full-time (40 hours a week), year-round (52 weeks) worker to earn an income greater than the poverty line for a family of four with two children. 

Third and State This Week: PA Budget, Liquor Privatization, Very Hot Working Conditions and CEO Pay

This week at Third and State, we blogged about where the state budget is at, protesters pressuring Amazon to install air conditioning in warehouses, how much CEOs earned in 2011 and more. Plus, we responded to attacks on a recent Keystone Research Center report on alcohol privatization and alcohol-related traffic deaths.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On privatization, Stephen Herzenberg responded to an attack from a spokesman with the Commonwealth Foundation on a recent Keystone Research Center report showing that states like Pennsylvania which tightly control alcohol distribution have fewer alcohol-related traffic deaths as a result.
  • On the workplace, Michael Wood highlighted a news report on how protesters pressured Amazon into installing air conditioning in its warehouses across the U.S.
  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward shared her memo to reporters and editors providing an overview of where things are at with the budget.
  • On education and the economy, Mark Price wrote about recent news reports on student loan debt for college dropouts and new figures showing that the typical CEO made $4,615 an hour in 2011.
  • And on health care, Chris Lilienthal noted a news report on efforts by conservative groups to persuade states to not create state-level health insurance exchanges.

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

Protesters Shame Amazon into Installing Air Conditioning for Warehouses

MSNBC reported last week that online retail giant Amazon is installing air conditioning in its warehouses across the U.S., including in Pennsylvania, after protesters interrupted the company's annual shareholder meeting in Seattle.

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