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).

Solid July Tax Collections Start the Commonwealth’s Fiscal Year Out on the Right Foot

Pennsylvania General Fund collections in July totaled $1.84 billion, with $1.81 billion coming from taxes. This is the largest amount of tax collected in July since before the recession and $119 million, or 7%, higher than July 2011 tax receipts. This starts the 2012-13 fiscal year off on a positive note, at least in terms of the revenue side of the spending plan.

With one exception, all major categories of General Fund revenue collections in July 2012 exceeded those in the prior year.

Here are the details (in $ thousands):

Morning Must Reads: Austerity Economics for the Disabled In Pennsylvania

The Delaware County Daily Times interviews people impacted by the elimination of General Assistance in Pennsylvania.

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!

Morning Must Reads: It's Jobs Day

As it is the first Friday of the month. that means we get new data today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on national employment in June. The official release is at 8:30 a.m.

Ending Pennsylvania's General Assistance Was Penny Wise but Pound Foolish

Earlier this week, I was on The War Room with Jennifer Granholm on Current TV to discuss the end of Pennsylvania's General Assistance, a last resort program for very poor Pennsylvanians who cannot work because of an illness or disability and don’t qualify for other assistance. It has provided a ladder up and out of poverty for thousands of Pennsylvanians before that ladder was taken down on Wednesday.

Morning Must Reads: This Isn't The Dual Mandate You're Looking For

The Federal Reserve, which through its control of the money supply is in charge of one of the key levers for regulating the pace of economic growth, is guided by a dual mandate over inflation and unemployment. If consumer prices begin rising too fast, the Federal Reserve will act to slow economic activity. Likewise, when unemployment rises, the Federal Reserve will act to boost economic growth.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve acknowledged that the economy appears to be growing more slowly than anticipated but opted to take no steps to boost growth. This decision elevated concern about the potential of future inflation over the currently high U.S. unemployment rate of 8.2% (Pennsylvania's rate is 7.5%).

Pennsylvania Shuts Down Its Safety Net of Last Resort

By Liz Schott, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Originally published at the Off the Charts Blog

Pennsylvania ended cash assistance today for very poor residents who cannot work and don’t qualify for other assistance, joining many other states that have scaled back or eliminated their General Assistance programs even as the need has grown.

Morning Must Reads: The End Is Nigh for General Assistance

As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes this morning, Pennsylvania's General Assistance program ends today. 

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