Morning Economic News

Morning Must Reads: Soup Kitchens & Self Sufficiency Programs Under Pressure & Marcellus Public Health Issues

The Erie Times-News reports this morning that Governor Tom Corbett's decision to implement an asset test for food assistance in Pennsylvania is expected to drive more people to seek help in already overburdened soup kitchens.

In other news this morning, it has fallen to charitable foundations to fund programs to help identify the public health impacts of Marcellus Shale development.

Morning Must Reads:The Pain Caucus in Europe and Pennsylvania

Paul Krugman leads off this morning with a review of the havoc created in Europe and here at home by what he calls the Pain Caucus.

Morning Must Reads: Recovery Act Turns 3 and the Student Loan Debt Bomb

Three years have passed since the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Michael Linden of the Center for American Progress explains the impact of the Recovery Act on the economy. 

 

On the state budget, WITF shares a link to help you estimate the impact of cuts to education spending in your area.

Morning Must Reads: Delaying School Construction Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

This morning's theme is penny wise and pound foolish. We pass on news stories of state policy choices that are framed as reality-based budgeting but are, in fact, policy choices that will substantially raise future costs for taxpayers. 

First, the Corbett administration is taking steps that will delay school construction and renovation throughout the commonwealth. While there is no evidence that state prevailing wage laws raise construction costs, there is strong evidence that the cheapest time for school districts to build is during periods of high unemployment. By taking steps that will delay school construction, Governor Corbett risks raising the future cost of school construction substantially to the Commonwealth and local school districts.

Morning Must Reads: Unemployment Benefits Extended, Prevailing Wage Change Stalls and Running Government Like a Business

What a difference an election year makes. Last year was full of pointless brinksmanship over federal policy issues that will take several decades to solve. Those battles at times looked like they threatened the near term health of the economy. 

The New Year is shaping up to be very different. The New York Times reports this morning that a deal has been struck to extend the payroll tax reduction and extended unemployment benefits through the end of the year. Tentatively, it looks as if efforts to weaken the unemployment insurance system have been blocked. Both the payroll tax reduction and extended unemployment benefits were set to expire at the end of February, and the failure to extend them was on most economists' lists of things that could weaken the economy in 2012.

Morning Must Reads: Homelessness in Shale Country, Higher Education Cuts and the Federal Budget

NPR this morning broadcast a WPSU story about the rise in homelessness in Tioga County. The story provides a nice reminder that increased economic activity is often associated with rising demands on the social safety net.

In case you missed it on Monday, The Philadelphia Inquirer explored the impact of cuts in state funding for higher education.

Morning Must Reads: Haute Couture, Extended Unemployment Benefits and Nursing Home Cuts

ZoolanderProject Runway fans (don't judge) know that this week is Fashion Week in New York. So in a nod to our fashion forward readers comes a story about an effort to provide more workplace protections for fashion models.

Morning Must Reads: Hard Times, Unemployment Insurance and Marcellus Arm Twisting

Although the economy is recovering, it is important to remember that unemployment remains high and that means many households are struggling to make ends meet. WITF this morning reports on non-food aid from a Central Pennsylvania charity.

NPR's Morning Edition had a very good story on the national controversy surrounding food assistance. 

Meanwhile, the Allentown Morning Call reports that a bill required to enable 17,000 Pennsylvania workers to qualify for federally-funded unemployment insurance has cleared an important hurdle.

Morning Must Reads: Budget Day

The Philadelphia Inquirer this morning previews big cuts to state support for higher education in today's budget proposal from Governor Corbett. Last year's budget hit poor k-12 school districts hard. This year's cuts to higher education, as the Inquirer story illustrates, are likely to result in rising tuition, which will only make it harder for low-income students to gain access to one of the most important institutions we have for reducing inequality. 

Morning Must Reads: Charters A Drag On School District Budgets, One Good Jobs Report Does Not Equal Full Employment

Stories this morning out of York and Delaware County suggest charter schools in urban areas are making it harder for public school districts to balance their budgets.

Paul Krugman explains why one relatively good jobs report does not mean we are getting any nearer to full employment anytime soon.

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