Economy

Bipartisan Senate Farm Bill Aims to Strengthen SNAP, Not Undermine it Like the House’s Proposed Bill

Last Friday, June 8, the Senate Agricultural Committee came out with its plan for the Senate Farm Bill. Keeping with the Farm Bill’s long tradition of bipartisan support, this version was released by the Senate Agricultural chairman Pat Roberts, a Republican from Kansas and the ranking member Debbie Stabenow who is a Democratic senator from Michigan. Unlike the House version of the bill which included harmful work requirements connected to SNAP, the Senate Farm bill would reauthorize SNAP and make steps toward improving it.

Rep. Fitzpatrick Made the Right Choice On SNAP Cuts; Unfortunately Rep. Costello Did Not

Last week, the House of Representatives voted against the troubling Farm Bill that had recently passed through the Agricultural Committee. This version of the bill would have resulted in many Pennsylvanians losing access to SNAP, otherwise known as food stamps, which is often the last defense against hunger in our communities. The proposed House Farm Bill would cut SNAP benefits by nearly $19 million and take away food assistance from two million Americans who already struggle to make ends meet. It would particularly hurt families, children and the disabled by implementing strict and ineffective work programs, as well as unforgiving reporting rules, that would lead to people losing this critical benefit.

Wanted – A NAFTA and Trade Policy That Help Unrig the Economy Against Working Families

The Lamb-Saccone race in Western Pennsylvania upped the pressure on policymakers of both major political parties on trade. It expands the opportunity for progressives and progressive lawmakers to articulate and advocate for a fundamental change in U.S. trade policy in NAFTA renegotiations.

For the Trump Administration, the special election suggested that some working families are no longer willing to take the President’s word for it that he’s in their corner. That’s hardly a surprise given that the President’s actions so far have rigged the economy further against working families, the opposite of what he promised to do. That’s why some Trump voters have “buyer’s remorse” already.

Key Sources on the Value of Unions and the Importance of Protecting Workers' Real Freedom to Join Together

Today is a little like Labor Day except with a twist: because of oral arguments today in the Supreme Court on the Janus case, editorial boards, the media, social media, and the public are all focused on workers  in this case on their freedom to join together into unions.

Given the widespread interest, here are some links new and old on unions.
 
A "two-pager" on the value of unions that draws heavily from this longer piece by the Economic Policy Institute published last year.
 
A new report by the Economic Policy Institute that documents the orchestrated, decades-old funding by right-wing individuals, foundations, and non-profits that led up to the Janus case. Today's New York Times story appears to draw heavily from the new EPI report althought it does not reference it.

On President Trump's Infrastructure Proposal

The president has put forward a "plan" for infrastructure spending that identifies no new source of funding, that makes unbelievable assumptions about how much state and private spending can be leveraged by a limited amount of new federal spending and that proposes an end-around of environmental regulations in the guise of streamlining those regulations. 

In response to deep and long ignored needs in Pennsylvania and throughout the country for upgrading our roads, bridges, transit systems, airports and water and sewer works - needs that should be met by new investments that could create tens of thousands good jobs - the president has offered a glittering fantasy with little of the substance necessary to meet those needs. 

The GOP-Backed Tax Bill: A Lose-Now, Lose-More-Later Plan for Low- and Middle-Income Americans

GOP-backed tax bills have passed both the House and the Senate. Many of us have already seen charts which show how, under these plans, low and middle-income families will eventually see their taxes raised (by 2027), while the top 1% sees huge savings (see, for example, the chart below showing the Senate bill’s impact on Pennsylvania). What hasn’t been discussed as much is that these bills are step one in a two-part process, designed to severely cut critical government programs.

For PA and U.S. Manufacturing to Flourish, Policymakers Need to Be Beholden to Some Different Defunct Economists

This past Tuesday, Keystone Research Center co-sponsored “Manufacturing a Better Paying Pennsylvania” with the D.C.-based Century Foundation, the Steel Valley Authority, and others. The event laid out the case for the U.S. and Pennsylvania to implement comprehensive strategies for growing high-wage manufacturing. This Pittsburgh Post-Gazette op ed lays out the basic argument.

Rigging the Economy to Further Benefit the 1% -- the Pennsylvania Numbers

Last Friday, we got the first national estimates of who benefits from the Trump Tax plan -- the "Unified Code for Rigging Our Tax Code Further to Benefit the 1%." While that's not the official title, it's more accurate than the Trump Administration name -- "the Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code." Last week's analysis by the Tax Policy Center showed that, by 2027 (Table 3 in the Center's report), 80% of the benefits would go to the top 1%, an increase from 53% in 2018 (Table

State of Working Pennsylvania 2017

On Thursday we released the 22nd edition of the State of Working Pennsylvania in which we review the current state of the economy with an eye towards changes in the standard of living for working families in the commonwealth. One of the new pieces of information we present in this year’s report, with the help of the crack staff at the Economic Policy Institute, is the median wage for full-time full-year workers in Pennsylvania since 1968.

A Victory for Seattle "For-Hire" Drivers...and for the Next Labor Movement

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One regular theme on this blog is that area-wide unions that lift wages and benefits in industries that cannot relocate are the main way we're going to fix our income distribution and — thanks to the political power of such area-wide unions once they represent tens of millions — fix our democracy.

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