Federal Budget and Taxes

The Fiscal Cliff: New Heights of Sensationalism

Dean BakerIn recent months, the media have frequently raised the specter of the federal government falling off the "fiscal cliff."

Next Wednesday evening, economist Dean Baker will take on the "fiscal cliff" in a talk at Dickinson College in Carlisle. If you plan to be in the Harrisburg-Carlisle area, come out and hear Dean explain why much of the discussion about "falling off the fiscal cliff" fundamentally misrepresents both the short- and long-term budget challenges we face as a nation.

Small Biz Owners Support Ending Top Tax Cuts, Poll Finds

A majority of small business owners agree that ending the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% of earners is the right course for the nation, according to a new poll from the Small Business Majority.

The poll reflects a pragmatic spirit among small business owners, with nearly 6 in 10 saying that government can play a productive role in helping small businesses thrive. 

Third and State This Week: Confusion About Voter ID, Payday Lending in the Senate and Poverty-wage Jobs

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new report on the Voter ID Law, a bill to legalize high-interest payday lending now before the state Senate, poverty-wage jobs in Pennsylvania, and much more!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On voter ID, Sharon Ward blogged about a new report from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on confusion surrounding the new law among PennDOT staff and voters alike. You can check out PBPC's full report here.
  • On payday lending, Mark Price wrote about legislation before the Senate to legalize payday loans with annual interest rates of 369%. He also explained that the writer of a letter to the editor in the Patriot-News supportive of the bill forgot to mention her group represents payday lenders.
  • On economic development, Mark Price wrote about local incentives in a Tennessee town intended to lure web developers.
  • On poverty, Mark Price reported that about 24% of Pennsylvania workers earned poverty wages in 2011.
  • On monetary policy, Mark Price highlighted two views on what the Federal Reserve can do to boost the economy. 
  • On education, Mark Price shared an Allentown Morning Call column offering a midterm report card on Governor Corbett's education policies.
  • And in a Friday Funny, we bring you an article by the satirical newspaper The Onion on how voter suppression in Pennsylvania isn't as fun as it used to be. 

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

Morning Must Reads: The Pennsylvania Senate Considers Payday Lending, Really?

Last week, the Pennsylvania Senate Banking and Insurance Committee held a hearing on payday lending. The testimony, time allotments and treatment of testifiers was biased in favor of the out-of-state companies seeking to permit the entry of storefront payday lenders in Pennsylvania by way of Senate passage of House Bill 2191.

Morning Must Reads: Honoring Work and Calling for a New Middle-Class Friendly Economic Policy

It is almost here, Labor Day weekend. That means family parties, celebrations and, of course, reverence for the holiness of work that ALSO affords us what workers in the last century called bread and roses. In that spirit, Rick Bloomingdale has an excellent op-ed this morning celebrating the creation of the middle class in this country and calling for a new direction in economic policy.

Third and State Recap: Weak Jobs Report for July, Water Polo and the Economy, and the Ryan Budget in PA

Over the past two weeks, we have been busy blogging about July reports on jobs and state revenues, how much the Ryan budget would cost Pennsylvania, what water polo swimsuit malfunctions have to do with the economy, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price analyzed Pennsylvania's jobs report for July, and the news was not good.
  • On the state budget, Michael Wood wrote that July tax collections were solid, starting the commonwealth out on the right foot in the new fiscal year.
  • On the federal budget, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a new Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report estimating that Pennsylvania would lose more than $1 billion in federal funding for education, law enforcement, clean water, and other projects under the federal budget proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan.
  • On the economy and regulations, Steve Herzenberg noted that the need for rules to discourage water polo players from ripping off each other’s swimsuits underscores the need for regulations to promote more constructive competition in our economy. (You can also listen here to Steve discuss this theme while guest hosting The Rick Smith Show August 8.)
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article detailing how charter schools play by a different set of rules than public schools.
  • In Morning Must Reads over the past two weeks, Mark Price highlighted news reports on the Corbett administration's decision to end programs that help low-income households file their taxes; people impacted by the elimination of General Assistance in Pennsylvania; the need for paid sick leave for more than 40 million American workers; and even more resources on the Ryan budget plan.
  • And in a Friday Funny today, Chris Lilienthal shared a Monty Python clip about some rather enthusiastic Mosquito Hunters that had some of us thinking about the state's new Voter ID Law.

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

Morning Must Reads: Helping the Poor Not a Core Mission of the PA Department of Public Welfare?

The Philadelphia Inquirer this morning reports on the move by the Corbett administration to end programs that help low-income households file their taxes.

These programs are especially important because they raise the rate at which low-income households file for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The credit provides these households with much-needed income that ends up getting spent in the local community.

Asked about the cuts, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Welfare, an agency that spent thousands on a flagpole recently, noted that helping people to apply for the EITC is not a core service of the Department of Public Welfare.

Ryan Budget Would Cost Pennsylvania More Than $1 Billion in Federal Funds

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates Pennsylvania would lose more than $1 billion in federal funding for education, law enforcement, clean water, and other state and local government projects under the federal budget proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan. The plan also includes cuts to Medicaid and highway projects, costing Pennsylvania jobs.

Morning Must Reads: Your End of Summer Reading Assignment - Understanding the Ryan Budget

Hi all, a combination of vacations and the rush to finish the State of Working Pennsylvania 2012 mean our blogging could be a bit spotty over the next week or so. Bygones!

Onto today's Morning Must Reads.

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.

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