Here are a few of my comments to today's news:
I encourage Basu to listen to Smith and McCord comment on statistics in the WYPR Maryland politics segment today so as to present a balanced view in his economics segment. The reason New York and New England states, Maryland, and California are ranking high on social mobility is that all practice extreme baseline practices......high recruitment of immigrant labor, whether from Latin America or Asia with laws allowing for wages below an already low minimum wage that keep all wages artificially low. It is easy to track mobility growth from this starting point......people only have to reach poverty to grow from immigrant wealth.
He is right to say the Southern states are worse as they don't let even their domestic workers grow out of double poverty. I think both camps have some work to do!
Maryland's economic mobility is among the best in U.S. 'Where you live matters' for earnings potential, Pew researchers say By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun May 10, 2012
If you're aiming to be upwardly mobile, living in Maryland might help.
The state is one of the best in the country for moving on up, what the study calls positive economic mobility, a new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts concludes. States doing better than average are largely in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, while those doing worse are in the South, according to the report, released Wednesday.
Researchers at Pew's ongoing Economic Mobility Project say they're trying to answer a big question: Is the American dream alive and well? The report, which they say is the first to look at economic mobility by state, raises troubling questions.
"It shows that there is not equality of opportunity across the states," said Diana Elliott, the project's research manager.
"Where you live matters," added Erin Currier, the project manager.
The center tracked about 65,000 workers — all born between 1943 and 1958 — on three measures:their earnings andwhether those earnings went up or down relative to others in the period between their mid 30s and late 40s.
The Maryland residents saw a 21 percent average gain in earnings over that period, compared with 17 percent nationwide, Pew found. That was after accounting for the sapping effect of inflation.
More Marylanders in the bottom half for earnings saw their incomes rise relative to others, 42 percent vs. 34 percent nationwide. And fewer Marylanders in the top half saw a downward slide on the earnings ladder than people nationwide, 22 percent vs. 28 percent.
Just two other states beat the national average on all three measures, Pew said — New Jersey and New York. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Utah topped the national average on two measures.
Louisiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina had worse upward mobility than the nation on all three measures, with six other states in the South falling behind on two.
Pew's researchers said it was beyond the scope of the study to explain why certain states did well and others didn't, but they noted that education beyond high school, savings, assets and neighborhood poverty during a worker's childhood can all affect economic mobility, up or down.
Several economists thought education was key: The top states have some of the largest shares of residents with advanced degrees.
Also, many jobs added to the state in the past generation, particularly in the Baltimore-Washington corridor, are in higher-wage professional and business services fields, said Stephen Fuller, director of George Mason University's Center for Regional Analysis. He and Daraius Irani, director of Towson University's Regional Economic Studies Institute, pointed to employment trends as a reason Marylanders might have better economic mobility.
"You're not seeing a lot of IT firms, say, in the South," Irani said.
Federal spending has played a role. Per capita, Maryland is one of the biggest beneficiaries of money flowing to federal contractors of all sorts. However, economists warn that the state is likely to feel an outsized hit when looming budget cuts arrive — a downward mobility risk for local workers.
"Since we are so entrenched with the federal government, this could have a disproportionate effect on our economy, with the caveat that perhaps the cuts won't be so severe in the cybersecurity arena," Irani said.
The Pew report, at economicmobility.org, followed residents now in their 50s and 60s — largely baby boomers — but looked at their earnings history from their prime working years. The most recent data was from 2007, just before the recession.
Workers who moved to a different state were more upwardly mobile than those who didn't, Pew found. But movers didn't drive the overall results. That's because most Americans don't leave their home state, Pew said.
I encourage the Baltimore Sun to listen to WYPR's Smith and McCord comment on statistics in the Maryland politics segment today so as to present a balanced view in his economics segment. With income inequity at a nation's high in Maryland, you must look at tax rankings by personal wealth not total revenue. The Maryland legislature taxes regressively so that the masses do indeed feel overtaxed creating an anti-tax mentality to the benefit of the lightly taxed rich.....that is a Republican strategy. The Fox News story below looks for this to push anti-tax fever when we know we need a strong tax base that is PROGRESIVE. If local media gave the tax ratio using personal wealth, you would see that Maryland ranks in the middle nationally. Someone tell Mike Miller that the structural budget deficit is the ballooning business tax credit bonanza for corporations. Simply cutting this program will shore up the deficit without creating a casino economy!
It's estimated the total of tax hikes passed during O'Malley's administration tops 200 billion dollars.
Political Analyst Blair Lee has been keeping track of tax increases saying the state has increased 20 different taxes.
If taxes continue to increase, the cost of living may be rise as well.
Melinda Roeder of Fox News has the story.
The Federal government is legislating the Post Office out of business by restricting the government agency from expanding into services that would compete with private business while at the same time opening private business to many of the postal services revenue makers…..that is discrimination with prejudice against public sector unions. The law requiring a 100% funding of pensions just for the Post Office would be good for workers if it was made for private corporations as well. As it is, it is another overt attack on competitiveness.
It is true that the snail mail is dropping, but divestment in revenue streams is all that is needed. For example, I have proposed the Post Office expand its mail fraud investigation unit to cover all business fraud. That would be a trillion dollar revenue source given to public union workers who may be a bit more interested in protecting the American people from massive business fraud. No taxpayer money needed….all expenses paid by fraudulent profits recovered!
Postal Service loses $3.2B in 2nd quarter Posted: 12:25 pm Thu, May 10, 2012
By Associated Press Maryland Daily Record
WASHINGTON — Drowning in red ink, the U.S. Postal Service on Thursday reported a quarterly loss of $3.2 billion and blamed Congress for blocking the agency’s cost-cutting efforts to offset declining mail volume and mounting costs for future retiree health benefits.
From January to March, losses were $1 billion more than during the same period in 2010. The mail agency said that without legislative action, it will be forced to default on more than $11 billion in health prepayments due to the Treasury this fall.
The Postal Service is seeking new leeway from Congress to eliminate Saturday mail delivery and reduce health and other labor costs. The Senate last month passed a bill that would give the agency an $11 billion cash infusion while delaying a move to five-day delivery for two years; the House remains stalled over a separate bill allowing for aggressive cuts.
“We are aggressively pursuing new revenue streams and reducing costs within our control,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “These actions are not enough to return the Postal Service to profitability.”
Overall, the post office had income of $16.2 billion from January through March, the second quarter of its 2012 fiscal year. That was down a fraction from the same period last year. But quarterly expenses this year climbed to $19.4 billion, up 5 percent, largely driven by the health prepayments.
The Postal Service also has been rocked by declining mail volume as people and businesses continue switching to the Internet in place of letters and paper bills. The number of items mailed during the last quarter was 39.5 billion pieces, a 4 percent decrease, much of it in first-class mail.
On Wednesday, due to strong public opposition, the Postal Service backed off a cost-cutting plan to close thousands of rural post offices after May 15 and proposed keeping them open, but with shorter operating hours. The new strategy, which would take place over the next two years, would save the mail agency about $500 million a year.
Donahoe has said he hoped the latest plan will help allay much of rural America’s concern about postal cutbacks. He wants Congress to act quickly on legislation that will allow the agency to move ahead with its broader multi-billion dollar cost-cutting effort and return to profitability by 2015.
The agency has forecast a record $14.1 billion loss by the end of this year; without legislative changes, it said, annual losses will exceed $21 billion by 2016.
“These grim numbers should reinforce that the House of Representatives needs to address postal reform now,” said Art Sackler, coordinator of the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service, a group representing the private sector mailing industry. “More than 8 million private sector workers will have their jobs put at risk if Congress fails to enact fundamental reforms of the Postal Service.”