A Recovery for the 1%

By Jheanelle Chambers, Intern

Even in a Down Year, Top 1% Have More Total Income Than Bottom 50 Percent CombinedWhile many middle-class Americans are still struggling in a down economy, the 1% is doing quite well.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has an eye-popping chart (right) showing that in 2009, despite the weak economy, the top 1% of households captured $1.32 trillion in gross income while the bottom 50% earned $1.06 trillion.

Morning Must Reads: All Together Now, It's Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

The New York Times reports this morning that a labor organizer and advocate for a higher minimum wage in Bangladesh has been brutally murdered. 

PA Revenue Picture Brightens

Pennsylvania tax collections came in better than expected in March, lowering the state's total revenue shortfall for the current fiscal year. It was also the first March ever in which tax collections exceeded the $4 billion mark. 

With three months left in the 2011-12 fiscal year, the revenue shortfall stands at $387 million, much lower than the year-end revenue shortfall of $719 million estimated by the Corbett administration and built into his 2012-13 budget.

Third and State This Week: Taking on Prevailing Wage, Loopholes vs. Budget Cuts and a Growing Menace

In a number of blog posts this week, we debunked the claims of advocates for repealing or scaling back the state's prevailing wage law. We also shared a chart comparing state tax breaks to budget cuts and posted a Friday Funny featuring the scariest movie trailer this year — on the growing menace of corporate tax loopholes.


  • On jobs and wages, Mark Price published Part 2 and Part 3 of his series fact-checking inaccurate claims about Pennsylvania's prevailing wage law. Part 1 ran last Friday. Mark also explained that to save 50% on public construction projects from repealing prevailing wage, workers would have to pay to work. Finally, Stephen Herzenberg made the case that employing low-wage, low-skill workers on small and medium-sized state-funded construction projects, with no benefit to taxpayers and negative impacts on local economies, is a dumb policy.
  • On the state budget, Chris Lilienthal shared a chart detailing funding cuts that could be restored by closing tax loopholes.
  • In the Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price highlighted news reports on young workers in the Great Recession; a profile of a pacemaker-dependent child who was denied health care by the state; and the fallout from cutting state support for pre-k and higher education.
  • And the Friday Funny featured a video from Ed Voters that begins: "There's a growing menace and it's coming after you and your family. The horror ... the corporate tax loophole!"

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

Friday Funny: A Growing Menace

Ed Voters has one of the scariest movie trailers this year. Problem is, it's not a movie. It's reality.

There's a growing menace and it's coming after you and your family. The horror ... the corporate tax loophole! 

Check out the full video. Fair warning: It's rated R for "Ridiculous" and is unsuitable for children and the middle class.

Tax Breaks Vs. Budget Cuts

Right now in Harrisburg, there is a debate going on over whether the state should make more cuts to schools, universities and protections for our children and grandparents. Unfortunately, the Governor has put forth a budget that would do just that.

The chart below from Better Choices for Pennsylvania compares existing tax loopholes with funding cuts that could be restored by closing loopholes. In each case, additional revenue could help fund vital services without raising taxes on the middle class.

Adventures in Mathematics: To Save 50% from Prevailing Wage Repeal, Workers Would Have To Pay To Work!

If you are in the Harrisburg area, tune in to WITF's Smart Talk at 8 p.m. tonight to hear a debate about the prevailing wage, including comments from yours truly in the opening news report.

In answering a reporter's question on prevailing wage, I was told about one claim that repealing the prevailing wage could lower total costs by as much as 50%.

Get out your calculator. If you lowered labor costs on a construction project by 99.99%, at most you would lower total costs by 24% (see the table below).

Dumb and Dumber State Construction Policies

I've got an idea: let's employ low-wage, low-skill, and sometime out-of-state workers on small and medium-sized state-funded construction projects, with no benefit to taxpayers and negative impacts on local economies.

Sound like a stupid idea? That's because it is.

Here's the backdrop: Pennsylvania's prevailing wage law requires that workers on state-funded construction projects be paid a wage in line with what most other workers in their trade are paid within a certain geographical area.

Morning Must Reads: Cutting Support for Pre-K and Higher Ed & Trouble in Altoona

Topping the headlines this morning: state budget cuts mean fewer providers of high-quality pre-kindergarten in York County.

The YWCA York plans to close two of its early learning centers located in East Manchester and York townships for financial reasons, according to Deb Stock, CEO...

Syndicate content