Third and State This Week: States Cutting Budgets, the Debt Ceiling Debate, and a Middle Class 'Under Attack'

This week, we blogged about the looming debt ceiling crisis in Washington, how state budget cuts will hurt the economic recovery, Marcellus Shale job claims, a new report on the middle class in Pennsylvania and more.


  • This week was a busy one for Mark Price, who penned four of our five blog posts. On the Marcellus Shale, Mark corrected an inaccurate figure in a recent Wall Street Journal piece about jobs created in Pennsylvania from Marcellus Shale drilling.
  • On the economy, Mark wrote about a recent report from the Keystone Research Center and the national policy center Demos on a middle class that is "under attack" in Pennsylvania. He also blogged about a new policy brief analyzing Pennsylvania's June jobs report.
  • On the federal debt ceiling debate, Mark shared his op-ed on this "manufactured crisis" which ran on this week.
  • Finally, on the state budget, Chris Lilienthal highlighted a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finding that at least 38 of 47 states are cutting K-12 education, higher education, health care, or other key public services in 2012. According to the report, this cuts-only approach that most states have taken will slow the recovery and weaken the nation’s economy over the long term.

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

State Cuts to Education, Health Care Will Slow Recovery

We have written about the negative impact that deep cuts to state funding will have for Pennsylvania children, seniors and our economy. Now a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that we aren't alone.

At least 38 of the 47 states with new 2011-12 budgets are cutting K-12 education, higher education, health care, or other key public services, according to the report. As Policy Analyst Erica Williams writes at the Center's Off the Charts Blog:

While states continue to face rising numbers of children enrolled in public schools, students enrolled in universities, and seniors eligible for health and long-term care services, most states (37 of 44 states for which data are available) plan to spend less on services in 2012 than they spent in 2008, adjusted for inflation — in some cases, much less.

State lawmakers no doubt faced tough decisions this year, with revenues still far below pre-recession levels and emergency federal aid all but expired.  Still, our review shows that the cuts are unnecessarily harmful, unbalanced, and counterproductive.

A Manufactured Crisis

I was asked this week to pen an op-ed for (seriously) about the looming crisis surrounding the debt ceiling debate in Washington. Check it out.

More Analysis of Pa.'s June Jobs Report

As I said last week, Pennsylvania's June jobs report raises several concerns about the fragile economic recovery. It was the second month in a row of job losses, with total nonfarm employment dropping by 2,600 jobs.

The Wall Street Journal Hacked Our Voicemail!

OK, I'm kidding! Well, as far as we know The Wall Street Journal didn't hack into our voicemail. 

What the Journal did do, however, was badly mangle job numbers in an editorial pitch aimed at convincing New Yorkers to support Marcellus Shale extraction in the Empire State.

The Middle Class ‘Under Attack’

At the Keystone Research Center, we have been chronicling for years the forces that are putting a tighter and tighter squeeze on middle-class Pennsylvanians.

Last week, we released a new report in partnership with the national policy center Demos that takes the temperature of the state's middle class in the wake of the Great Recession. I'm sorry to say, once again, the patient is not well.

The state's annual unemployment rate is the highest it has been in nearly three decades and the cost of going to college is on the rise.

According to the report, times are particularly tough for Pennsylvania's young people, with state budget cuts to 18% of public university funding and a 7.5% tuition hike in Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education. Pennsylvania's young people already bear the seventh highest rate of student debt in the nation — at approximately $28,000 on average.

Third and State This Week: Marcellus Shale, Budget Cuts and the Economy, and a Pa. Jobs Update

This week, we blogged about new reports on the Marcellus Shale, the economic impact of state budget cuts, the latest Pennsylvania jobs report and a groundbreaking new study on the health and financial impacts of Medicaid.


  • On the Marcellus Shale, Sharon Ward shared her response to the final report and recommendations of the Governor's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, which reads like an industry wish list. Earlier in the week, Sharon shared her response to an industry-funded study that overstates the economic benefits and underestimates the costs of increased shale drilling. Chris Lilienthal, meanwhile, summed up the news coverage on the industry study.
  • On the state budget, Mark Price blogged about the impact of budget cuts on economic growth. Those states that made steep public spending cuts in the wake of the Great Recession have seen weaker economic growth in the years since, he wrote, citing research from the Center for American Progress.
  • On jobs and unemployment, Mark wrote that Pennsylvania's June jobs report provides cause for concern.
  • And, on health care, intern Emma Lowenberg highlighted a groundbreaking study out of Oregon showing that Medicaid has positive health and financial impacts.

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

Pennsylvania's June Jobs Report More Cause for Concern

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate rose to 7.6% in June from 7.4% in May, according to a report Thursday from the state Department of Labor and Industry. Overall, the seasonally adjusted number of nonfarm jobs in Pennsylvania was down 2,600 in June to 5,676,900.

I issued the following statement on the new jobs report.

Third and State This Week: Pa.'s 2011-12 Budget, Job Numbers, Medicaid Cuts, and Lost Drilling Tax Revenue

This week, we blogged about a new analysis of the 2011-12 state budget, $200 million in lost revenue from legislative inaction on a drilling tax, what's at stake with proposals to cut Medicaid, a look at the recent national jobs report and more.


  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward highlighted a new analysis from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on the recently-enacted 2011-12 state budget. Sharon also shared an op-ed she wrote grading the budget (it got a D).
  • On the Marcellus Shale, Chris Lilienthal wrote that the state has lost $200 million since October 2009 from legislative inaction on a Marcellus Shale drilling tax.
  • Intern Chaquenya Johnson made her Third and State debut, with two blog posts on jobs and the economy. One offers some analysis from experts on June's national jobs report ("a litany of bad news," in the words of one), and the other details the findings of a paper on the experiences of Denmark and Germany in the Great Recession and what we can learn from them.
  • Finally, on health care, guest blogger Athena Ford of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network explained what is at stake for seniors, families, jobs and more with proposals to cut Medicaid.

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

‘A Litany of Bad News’: What the Experts Are Saying about the June Jobs Report

Chaquenya JohnsonBy Chaquenya Johnson, Intern

As Center for American Progress senior economist Heather Boushey put it, the national jobs report in June is “a litany of bad news, with nothing below the headline number that can provide optimism that enhanced job growth is right around the corner.”

If the May report on unemployment and payroll statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was disappointing, June’s statistics are just as discouraging for the labor market.

The number of people unemployed (14.1 million), along with the unemployment rate (9.2%), remained essentially unchanged from May. The unemployment rates among the major worker groups — adult men, adult women, teenagers, whites, blacks, and Hispanics — showed little or no change.

What are the experts saying?

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