Posts by stephen herzenberg

A New Year's Resolution That Lawmakers Should Find Easy to Keep: Increase the PA Minimum Wage in 2015

As we close in on the end of 2014, here's our suggestion for a New Year's Resolution PA lawmakers should make along with losing weight and spending more time with the family: increasing the Pennsylvania minimum wage.

As detailed in our end-of year press release, 20 states and the District of Columbia will raise their minimum wages tomorrow but Pennsylvania will not.

New Study Suggests that Low Wages Imperil Future of U.S. Manufacturing and Innovation

Debates about manufacturing wages and jobs require the ability to walk and chew gum at the same time. Let's see if we can do that.

For a half century or more the mantra has been that manufacturing jobs pay better and support a family. But a new report by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), profiled in today's New York Times, shows that  manufacturing wages for production workers have dropped below wages for all private sector workers. NELP also finds that “more than 600,000 manufacturing workers make just $9.60 per hour or less. More than 1.5 million manufacturing workers – one out of every four – make $11.91 or less.”

Germany Makes University Education Free Again -- Pennsylvanians Take Note

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Our just-released report on Pennsylvania higher education points out that student tuition and fees at Pennsylvania's four-year state-owned universities now cover nearly 75% of university costs. Prompted by this, our friend Charlie Bacas sent us today a story on states in Germany making tuition free again.

Pennsylvania Needs to Stop Shortchanging Its Future and Invest Smartly in Higher Education

While there's been a lot of focus recently on K-12 school funding cuts in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania higher education has experienced even larger state funding cuts in percentage terms. Pennsylvania's starting point for investing in higher education, moreover, was already near the bottom.

The list of poor rankings that reflect Pennsylvania's underinvestment in higher education is somewhat mind blowing.

For example, Pennsylvania is 48th for investment in higher education per capita.

Memory Lane -- Larry Summers on Why Some People Mow Lawns and Others Don't

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While searching for something else online, I just tripped over a letter to the editor from 1988. The letter was published during the 1988 presidential campaign, in response to a New York Times profile of the economists' advising George H.W. Bush ("Poppy") and Michael Dukakis ("Tankman").
 
Larry Summers was the economist advising Mr. Dukakis. The profile of Prof.

Pennsylvania is now dead last in job growth since January 2011

As we reported on Monday new jobs data for September were not encouraging with payrolls in Pennsylvania falling 9,600 jobs over the month.

According to data for all the states released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 39 states.

Another Thumbs Down on Ride Sharing...Unless It Catalyzes New (OK, Old) Union Forms

A good friend earlier this week shared this story on ride sharing.

The story underscores the strong parallels between ride sharing and the deregulated trucking industry, which we pointed out a few months ago.

The Real-Life Impact of Undermining Public Schools: A Philadelphia Inquirer Profile

A profile of a teacher in this morning’s Philadelphia Inquirer brings to life the real-life consequences, for teachers and for children, of the deep funding cuts in the School District of Philadelphia in the past several years.

Why Triad Strategies is Wrong on Ride Sharing

Our recent blog on 'the Non-Sharing Economy' prompted a response from Roy Wells at Triad Strategies. Triad is the Harrisburg lobbying and public relations firm secured by Lyft to make the case that its services should not be subject to the same rules that govern cabs. We appreciate Roy's weighing in and giving us the opportunity for a deeper back-and-forth.

Pension Update - Time to Go Back to the Drawing Board

We're closing in on the end game of the Pennsylvania budget process and lawmakers are considering two different pension proposals -- both of which would be a step backward. Here's an update on these options, with links to where you can find more information.