Study Finds Many Profitable Corporations Pay Little or No U.S. Income Taxes

One would think that all profitable Fortune 500 companies in the United States are paying some amount in federal income taxes. And one would be wrong.

Interesting Report on the Middle Class in Philadelphia

Posted in:

Susan Warner of The Pew Charitable Trusts has a very interesting study out titled Philadelphia’s Changing Middle Class. The Philadelphia Inquirer has a quick summary of the findings here.

The study is impressive work, and I would encourage our Philadelphia readers to put it on their list of weekend long reads. As always, context matters. While there is much that is good in this study, how best to link it into the city's economic and social policy is going to be a matter of intense debate. So take a moment now to read up on what this study does and doesn’t say.

The study brought to mind Michael Smerconish's recent Inquirer column that cites another study identifying marriage as a factor in growing income inequality — specifically, the marriage of highly educated people to other highly educated people (resulting in higher incomes). The study is a great example of what Larry Mishel at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) calls "misdirection" (more on that later). The essential problem is that it identifies demographic trends, rather than changes in the distribution of income, as the reason we have rising income inequality.

Morning Must Reads: A Few Inconvenient Shale Truths

For a long time, we've been making two points about natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. One, Pennsylvania's drilling impact fee brings in a fraction of what a severance tax comparable to those in other large energy-producing states would generate. And, two, the claims of job creation by the industry and its supporters (often used to cut off any talk of enacting a severance tax) are greatly overstated.

But don't take it from us. The Allentown Morning Call's Steve Esack has a pair of Sunday stories making the very same points.

Can You Feel the Minimum Wage Momentum?

Posted in:

On Wednesday, Gap Inc., which operates clothing retailers The Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy, announced that it would set an entry level wage of $9 per hour this year and raise it to $10 per hour next year. Steven Greenhouse of The New York Times gives you the run down:

From California to the New York Island, Top Incomes Are on the Rise

Posted in:

Today the Economic Analysis Research Network released The Increasingly Unequal States of America: Income Inequality by State by Estelle Sommeiller of France and yours truly. With apologies to the great Woody Guthrie, you can summarize the report's findings this way:

Historic Union Vote at Volkswagen in Tennessee

Posted in:

Today is the third and final day of a historic union vote for workers at Volkswagen in Tennessee, in which workers will decide whether they want to be represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.

Who's Right About Revenue Growth?

The Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) and Corbett administration are at odds over how much Pennsylvania will collect in taxes and other revenue for the remainder of 2013-14 and all of the 2014-15 fiscal year — to the tune of roughly $375 million. That's a little over 1% of what is expected to be spent in 2014-15.

Towards a Moral Economy: Is NOW the time?

The Moral March: Photo from ThinkProgress.orgThe Philadelphia Daily News' Will Bunch had an uplifting column this past Sunday on Saturday's "Moral March" in Raleigh, N.C. It was the South's largest protest march since Dr. Martin Luther King and the Selma-to-Montgomery march in 1965.

Unlike Other States, No Revenue Surpluses in PA

While most states are finally recovering from the worst recession in decades, and seeing revenue surpluses for the first time in several years, Pennsylvania has missed the boat. And costly corporate tax cuts have a lot to do with it.

Reid Wilson of The Washington Post explains more in a blog post:

Punxsutawney Phil and Governor Corbett

I published a commentary this week on Governor Corbett's 2014-15 budget proposal this week in the Allentown Morning Call. Check it out.

Punxsutawney Phil is predicting more chilly weather ahead, but a winter-weary Gov. Tom Corbett must have spring on his mind. His budget address Tuesday painted a bright and rosy picture of Pennsylvania's future even as we remain in the grip of a long economic winter.

Syndicate content