Income Inequality

Can the Right Afford to Acknowledge Low Upward Mobility in the U.S.?

Michael Laracy of the Annie E. Casey Foundation emailed around an opinion piece by Fareed Zakaria on the boffo new study on upward mobility in the United States. The Zakaria piece appeared in the Amazon, I mean Bezos, I mean Washington Post.

Third and State This Week: Nutrition Assistance Cuts, Fast Food Worker Strikes, Modest State Revenue Growth & More

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a pending cut and other threats to federal nutrition assistance, what the one-day strikes by fast food workers tell us about the future of the middle class, a post-recession pay cut for the nation's low-wage workers, state revenue growth in the year ahead, and the role of public safety net programs in keeping people out of poverty.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On food insecurity, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a report on the significant impact that a pending cut in nutrition assistance will have on low-income families across Pennsylvania and the nation. He also shared a New York Times report on a new study finding that additional cuts proposed by the U.S. House would cost more than 5 million Americans needed food assistance.
  • On unions and the economy, Stephen Herzenberg wrote that the fast food workers engaging in one-day strikes across the country may be on the verge of cracking the code to the next U.S. middle class.
  • On income inequality, intern Ellis Wazeter blogged about a recent study showing that low-wage American workers have taken a post-recession hit to their paychecks.
  • On state taxes, Michael Wood shared a chart showing that General Fund revenue collections are projected to grow very little in the 2013-14 fiscal year.
  • And on poverty, Chris Lilienthal passed on a blog post by Arloc Sherman of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities highlighting just how much public safety net programs have helped keep people out of poverty in the United States.

IN OTHER NEWS:

'This Is What the Middle Class Looks Like' ... Fast Food One-day Strikes and the Next Upsurge in Unionism

"This is what democracy looks like." Even though this chant originated with the Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO), which haven't yet led to major reforms, the phrase nonetheless captures the idea of a social movement that has crystallized its demands and has a better chance to succeed because of it. Other examples include the right to vote in the civil rights movement, or the fight to legalize gay marriage, a simple modern demand that culminates a fight for equality in all its dimensions.

Low-wage Workers Take Post-Recession Hit to Paycheck

By Ellis Wazeter, Intern

Since the end of the recession, Americans working in low- and mid-wage occupations have taken a bigger hit to their paychecks than their counterparts in higher-paid jobs, according to a study by the National Employment Law Project (NELP).

Third and State This Week: Upward Mobility, Pittsburgh and Detroit, Revenue Wrap, and Diversion Politics

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new study showing the American Dream of upward mobility is more alive in Pennsylvania than in many parts of the country. We also wrote about 2012-13 revenue collections and a well-oiled effort to distract middle-class families from the real cause of their economic struggle. Plus, a guest post on how Pittsburgh avoided Detroit's fate.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On wages and mobility, Stephen Herzenberg blogged about a new study by Harvard and Berkeley economists showing that Pennsylvania enjoys substantially more upward mobility than many other parts of the United States.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood explained some of the key takeaways from General Fund revenue collections in the 2012-13 fiscal year.
  • On nutrition assistance, Stephen Herzenberg responded to the latest salvo in an organized right-wing assault on nutrition assistance and other safety net spending. Steve wrote that the real kitchen table issue facing most Americans is rising income inequality.
  • And on the Marcellus Shale and the economy, guest blogger Tim Stuhldreher shared his thoughts on why Pittsburgh has fared much better than Detroit after taking huge economic hits in the 1980s. Hint: it is not all about shale drilling.

IN OTHER NEWS

Pennsylvania, Land of Opportunity

We're not always the "good news bears," but today we're thrilled to give greater visibility to a landmark new study that shows the American Dream of upward mobility is more alive in Pennsylvania than in most parts of the country.

Diversion Politics and Factual Errors with 'Americans for a Tiny Sliver of Rich People'

Jennifer Stefano, the Pennsylvania director of Americans for Prosperity, published an op-ed in the Patriot-News Friday — the latest salvo in an organized right-wing assault on nutrition assistance and other safety net spending.

Third and State This Week: Fewer College Grads Starting Businesses and State Revenue Collections in 2012-13

This week at Third and State, we blogged about student loan debt deterring college grads from starting their own businesses, income inequality and efforts to turn back prevailing wage laws for construction workers, and revenue collections during the now-completed 2012-13 Fiscal Year.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On higher education, Jamar Thrasher blogged that more and more American college graduates are declining to start their own businesses partly because of the rising costs of tuition and crushing student loan debt.
  • On income inequality and the prevailing wage, Stephen Herzenberg wrote that too many people in the "1%" (and the smaller groups at the very, very top) seem to have convinced themselves that they are not only more deserving but also somehow different than — better than — other people.
  • And on state budget and taxes, Michael Wood shared the following chart tracking monthly revenue collection trends in the now-completed 2012-13 Fiscal Year.
    2012-13 General Fund Revenue Surplus/(Deficit) by Month

STATE BUDGET RESOURCES:

Toshi Seeger and Respect for the Working Man and Woman

Toshi Seeger's obituary last week in The New York Times brought a smile to my face.

Toshi provided her husband, the folk singer Pete Seeger, with the organizational skills without which he would have not been so influential or commercially successful.

Toshi also kept him grounded. “I hate it when people romanticize him,” she said. “He’s like anybody good at his craft, like a good bulldozer operator.”

That simple sentiment works in both directions. It helped make sure Pete Seeger would not become too big for his britches. It also communicates deep respect for the bulldozer operator — and for hardworking people more generally.

Third and State This Week: Corporate Tax Cuts Without Closing Loopholes, Challenges Face Poor College Students

This week at Third and State, we blogged about how a corporate tax cut bill in the state House will come at the expense of schools and health care in Pennsylvania, the challenges facing low-income students attending college, and an honor bestowed on one of our own for his workforce development work.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On state budget and tax policy, Sharon Ward shared how state House lawmakers voted on an amendment that would have taken steps to close the Delaware loophole. She also shared a podcast from a media briefing on a House bill enacting hundreds of millions in new corporate tax cuts over the course of a decade. And Chris Lilienthal had more on the tax cuts, which will come at the expense of investments in schools, infrastructure and local services.
  • On higher education, Jamar Thrasher wrote that too many low-income students who pursue college are sidetracked by economic and other challenges — in some cases, leaving them with big debts but no degree.
  • On workforce development, Steve Herzenberg blogged about receiving the Workforce Professional of the Year award from the Manufacturers Association of South Central Pennsylvania and what he took away from hearing awards dinner keynote speaker Steve Forbes.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) released an analysis of House Bill 440, legislation that advances the Governor's corporate tax cut plan at the expense of investments that really matter in our schools and communities.
  • The Keystone Research Center (KRC) released a summary of testimony on the negative social impacts of retail liquor privatization delivered at a roundtable discussion this week hosted by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

MARK YOUR CALENDAR:

  • Join Steve Herzenberg and Senate staffer John Raymond on Tuesday, April 30 for a "Pensions 101" webinar. If you have wondered what is fact and what is fiction in the pension debate, and how to respond to it, this webinar is for you.
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