Recession and Recovery

Morning Must Reads: Tough Times Discounted Salmon Versus High Anxiety

Bruce Bartlett this morning discusses the tendency for very high-income households to get press when they have fallen on hard times. 

Morning Must Reads: Government Spending, Top Incomes and adultBasic

Paul Krugman this morning caps off a series of blog posts over the last week with a column comparing government spending in the recovery following the deep 1981 recession and government spending in the recovery following the 2007 recession. The bottom line: the employment situation now would have been much better if the federal government had done more to provide aid to state and local governments.

Morning Must Reads: High Unemployment Strains the Safety Net and Underwater Mortgages

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports this morning on the continued strain that high unemployment is putting on the safety net in Pennsylvania.

Third and State This Week: PA Budget Summit, Revenue Update and Pressure on Food Programs

This week, we blogged about our 2012 Pennsylvania Budget Summit, the state's revenue performance in January, programs that serve the poor coming under increasing pressure, and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the state budget, Michael Wood wrote that Pennsylvania's revenue performance in January offered some hope with General Fund collections coming in close to estimate, although corporate taxes continue to lag. Chris Lilienthal shared resources from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's 2012 Budget Summit this week and a Fox 43 news report on it.
  • In the Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price blogged about news reports on soup kitchens and self sufficiency programs coming under pressure (as well as a new effort to identify the public health impacts of Marcellus Shale development); rising demand for Meals On Wheels in Reading and fines for a Hershey Co. subcontractor; and a look at policies in Europe and here at home that Paul Krugman has dubbed the "Pain Caucus."

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

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.

Third and State This Week: Human Services Block Grant, Mortgage Help and Rising Student Loan Debt

This week, we blogged about a proposed state block grant and funding cut for county human services, the end of a mortgage assistance program in Pennsylvania, high student loan debt and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the state budget, Chris Lilienthal shared a table from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center explaining the Governor's proposal to combine funding for a variety of county-level human services into a single block grant and cut it by 20%.
  • On housing, Mark Price wrote about how the state's decision to end the Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP) could harm Pennsylvania's economic recovery.
  • And in the Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price blogged about news stories on the student loan "debt bomb," the rise in homelessness in shale country, extended unemployment benefits and prevailing wage, and why delaying school construction is penny wise but pound foolish.

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

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.

End of Mortgage Assistance Could Undermine Economic Recovery

Economic forecasters predicting strong economic growth in the next several years rest those hopes on a robust recovery in residential construction. In light of that, The Philadelphia Inquirer has some troubling news this morning in a story about a surge in foreclosure filings over the last 12 months.

The rise in foreclosure filings may be the result of lenders moving forward with long planned foreclosures rather than a worsening of economic conditions. More troubling is the rise in 90-day delinquencies, which could be the result of the end of Pennsylvania's Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP). The permanent end to HEMAP also means rising costs for future taxpayers.

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.

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