Economic News and Opinion for September 22, 2011

Good morning! Here is today's news:

... The Association of American Railroads backs a new business coalition that wants Congress to cut the top U.S. corporate income tax rate ... The railroads have joined AT&T, Boeing, FedEx, Lockheed Martin, UPS, Verizon, and Walt Disney in pushing for the change. Nike, Time Warner Cable, and the National Retail Federation (Sears and other stores) have also joined the tax-cut group, which calls itself RATE ("Reducing America's Taxes Equitably") ... Why now, when so many big American corporations report high and rising profits, and American individual taxpayers face falling wages and scarce jobs?

National Weakness in Economy Spreads to PA in August

Sean Brandon, InternBy Sean Brandon, Intern

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate rose to 8.2% in August but remains below the 9.1% national rate. Pennsylvania has been below the U.S. unemployment rate for 40 consecutive months, and at or below the U.S. rate for 58 consecutive months. This trend is in jeopardy, however, as Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate has risen eight-tenths of one percentage point since May.

Economic News and Opinion for September 21, 2011

For those of you not obsessed with the coming Pumpkin Shortage, here is your morning run down:

Which brings me to reaction to Friday's column from two executives about whether more government action is needed. Roger Colley, a former president of ... Betz Laboratories and Envirogen, would try to reduce uncertainty for business by doing the following: First, put all new regulations on hold and freeze federal spending, both for five years. Next, cut the corporate net income tax rate to 15 percent from a top rate of 35 percent and make the current rates for individuals permanent ... Tom Callahan, senior vice president of Bristol's Modern Group Ltd, ... would also cut the corporate tax rate so that businesses are not 'incented to do business overseas all the time.' Instead of a freeze on government spending, Callahan suggested it be cut, saying, 'The wars should be ended.'

From his Mouth to Lawmakers' Ears: Governor Corbett Calls for Gas Drilling Fee

Last week, Governor Tom Corbett signaled his support for enacting an impact fee on Marcellus Shale gas drillers. His plan would use fee revenue to pay for statewide environmental cleanup and local impacts, such as road and bridge damage, the Governor said on his new radio show. He plans to release more details as early as this week.

Economic News and Opinion for September 20, 2011

Here is a rather grim run down of the morning economic news and opinion:

”Right before Labor Day, Mr. Myricks, of La Palma, Calif., near Los Angeles, lost his position as a factory machine operator, a job hard-won after a long spell without work. That painful loss was an echo of July 2009, when a supermarket eliminated his position as an assistant manager. Mr. Myricks joined the 28 percent of teenage men in the work force — 39.7 percent of black teenage men — who were idle and looking for a job then. He spent over a year looking for work, and moved into a cheaper home with his wife, Briana, 20, to help make ends meet. After a few months delivering pizzas part time for Pizza Hut, he finally secured a full-time job in April 2010 at a box factory where his brother is an assistant manager. ’It is a very, very dangerous job,’ Mr. Myricks said of his work at Georgia-Pacific. ‘There are operators in my plant who are missing fingers, or missing legs. They’re still working there, though.’

Economic News for September 19, 2011

Your morning economic news:

"The toughest point, said Brittany Modlesky, may have been when she had to sell her bedroom furniture to help pay for a class. She got $350 — a good amount, more than she earned in a week of waiting tables and tending bar while juggling courses. Modlesky graduated last year from Shippensburg University with a degree in communications, high hopes for the future and $60,000 in debt."

Third and State This Week: Record Poverty, Public-Sector Job Losses, and Ending Loser Liberalism

This week we blogged about new data on poverty in America, public-sector job losses putting a drag on the economy, and a new book by economist Dean Baker explaining how we can put an end to "loser liberalism."


  • On poverty, Michael Wood blogged about new Census data showing the American poverty rate has risen to its highest level since 1993 and that the number of people living in poverty is at a record high. Christopher Lilienthal shared charts from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities interpreting the Census data and linked to another Center analysis showing that by several measures poverty is worse than it has been in decades. 
  • On health care, Sharon Ward highlighted a recent policy brief from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center showing that on the six-month anniversary of adultBasic's end, few former enrollees have signed on to the alternative insurance options offered to them.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price commented on the increase in Pennsylvania's unemployment rate last month and how declining public-sector employment is continuing to be a drag on the economy. 
  • Finally, Stephen Herzenberg blogged about a new book by economist Dean Baker with the provocative title The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive and an online discussion of the book planned for Sunday from 5-7 p.m.

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

Are YOU a Loser Liberal? Read on and Find Out

The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets ProgressiveOur friend Dean Baker at the Center for Economic and Policy Research has a new book out with the provocative title The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive.

You can download the book for free HERE. You can also listen to an online discussion of the book this Sunday from 5-7 pm by clicking HERE (You will have to register with firedoglake to participate in the discussion). Let us know what you think of the discussion by writing a comment on this blog post.

And read on to learn the core argument of Dean's book and why we at the Keystone Research Center are NOT loser liberals.

Weak National Economy Being Felt in PA

The weak national economy is being felt in Pennsylvania as the unemployment rate climbed from 7.8% to 8.2% in August, according to the state Department of Labor and Industry's August jobs report.

As I noted in a media statement, declining public-sector employment is continuing to be a drag on the economy, as private-sector job growth limps along. This chart illustrates just how much public-sector employment has dropped off over the past year.

Job Losses in Public sector Continue to be a Drag on Employment Growth in Pennsylvania

The August report clearly demonstrates the need for a jobs plan to meet the vast challenges our economy faces. On that point, my colleague, Stephen Herzenberg, will be on WITF-TV's Smart Talk at 8 pm tonight discussing that very issue. Tune in if you can, or watch it later online.

Poverty Worst in Decades by Several Measures

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The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a stunning table showing that poverty levels in 2010 were the worst in many years, if not decades, by several measures. The share of adults (18-64) and suburbanites living in poverty are at their highest levels since the 1960s. The total number of Americans in poverty is the largest on record, and the poverty rate overall and for children is the worst since 1993.

Poverty worst in decades by several measures

Check out the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' full analysis of the new Census data. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center also has an analysis of the Census data.

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