Posts by mark price

Strengthening the middle class

On Thursday, Derek Thompson, an associate editor at the Atlantic, wrote a guest post at Ezra Klein’s blog discussing how to rebuild the middle class.  Below is his list of possible interventions to cure what ails the middle class:

The Pinto leaves you with that warm feeling

Tom Ridge is in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review this morning talking about economic policy:

The shale gas industry is like the auto business — it might hurt some people, but the jobs it brings to a struggling economy make it worthwhile, gas industry pitchman and former Gov. Tom Ridge said Thursday.

'You don't quit building automobiles because some people are going to crash and kill themselves,' said Ridge, who spoke at Carnegie Mellon University. 'You have to manage the risk. Capitalism and entrepreneurialism is risk management.'

Anybody remember the Ford Pinto?

Teachable moments

Brad Bumsted of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review leads the latest news on Pennsylvania tax collections with the following:

Kenneth Gailey of Midland doesn't like the idea of raising state taxes or cutting benefits.

The 50-year-old contractor, who spent 16 years as a carpenter for
PennDOT, said he believes state government can make a huge dent in an
estimated $4 billion deficit by eliminating or cutting high-end salaries
for management and making government more efficient.

'Do we need more taxes? Do we need cuts in the few benefits we have?
What we need is fewer people on the high end of that pay scale.'

Is this true? 

Can we stop attacking people who lost their job because of the recession?

Capitolwire reports (paywall):

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, said there are ways to reform unemployment compensation... Turzai said: “Without a doubt, we have to look at enrollment…We have to look at what the array of benefits are and how they compare to competing jurisdictions.” He also said he favored a “strong work-search requirement” for unemployment, echoing one of the major points made by [Governor Tom] Corbett and business organizations.

Hundreds of thousands of working- and middle-class Pennsylvanian’s lost a job in the last three years for reasons beyond their control. The more people who are out of work, the longer it takes to find a job and thus the longer the period that people remain unemployed. This is why I stress time and time again that the chief challenge in the economy right now is the scarcity of job openings relative to job seekers. Concerns over whether unemployment insurance is a disincentive to find work are just not relevant when we have four unemployed people competing for each job opening.