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Candidates for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Judge Dwayne Woodruff (center) and Justice Sallie Mundy (rear). Voters will select judges for the Supreme Court, statewide appellate courts and Philadelphia City courts in the November 7th election next week. LBWPhoto

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania compiles a lot of data on many things related to its administrative functioning and the operations of courts in each of the Keystone State’s 67-counties.

[OP-ED]: Trump is but the latest politician to serenade Youngstown

 08/04/2017 - 08:03
It’s no surprise that Trump returned to the familiar theme of demonizing Latino immigrants. The surprise is that he chose to do it in Youngstown of all places -- a city with a minuscule immigrant population, located in a state where the Latino population is just 3.7 percent. EFE

Youngstown again? As an avid spectator of politics, I’ve been hearing about that city in the Mahoning Valley of northeast Ohio for decades. Although it’s home to just 64,000 people, Youngstown gets more than its share of attention from politicians, media, filmmakers, and even a poetic singer/songwriter from Freehold, New Jersey.

[OP-ED]: Deficits forever?

 07/20/2017 - 12:15
The federal budget remains badly out of whack, even though we are near or at “full employment” (June unemployment rate: 4.4 percent). We cannot afford tax cuts; we need tax increases.

House Republicans, who are now deliberating the government’s 2018 budget, pledge to eliminate deficits within a decade. Well, good luck with that. It must be obvious that chronic deficits reflect a basic political impasse that can be broken only if majorities in Congress do things they’ve refused to do: trim Social Security benefits; raise taxes significantly; control health spending. There is a giant mismatch between what Americans want from government and what they’ll pay for with taxes.

[OP-ED]: Why robots won’t steal all our jobs

 07/14/2017 - 08:43
En un mundo ideal, los robots realizarían la mayoría de los trabajos repetitivos y monótonos, mientras que la fuerza de trabajo mejor educada y mejor paga se concentraría en trabajos que no pueden ser realizados por máquinas. Archivo

Don’t worry, the robots won’t destroy all our jobs. History suggests just the opposite -- that new technologies inspire new jobs. So concludes a study from leading labor economists. It’s a useful antidote to widespread fears that robots and “artificial intelligence” will displace millions of workers and lead to permanently high joblessness.

[OP-ED]: Postponing the next recession?

 06/30/2017 - 08:37
Economists from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, Switzerland -- a bank for government central banks -- find that the pass-through from wage increases to price increases has weakened. If this is confirmed and continues, it implies that inflation will remain tame for some time even if the economy continues to grow. EFE

This is not your father’s inflation -- and that’s good news. Business cycles often end when higher inflation causes a country’s central bank (the Federal Reserve in the United States) to raise interest rates, slowing the economy and, perhaps, triggering a recession. The good news: The next recession may be delayed, because the Phillips Curve has shifted.

[OP-ED]: America’s postindustrial blues

 06/22/2017 - 09:43
Says Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution in his new book “Dream Hoarders.” We should not be surprised that 58 percent of whites and 67 percent of whites without a college degree voted for Trump.

Ever since Donald Trump’s election, a cottage industry of politicians, journalists, scholars and commentators has sought to understand what motivates Trump supporters. Theories have ranged from globalization to a rebellion against Washington elitism to racism. But the true cause may have been overlooked: the “postindustrial society.”

[OP-ED]: What really happened to coal?

 06/12/2017 - 08:58
Even if environmental regulation and climate change didn’t exist, the coal industry would have faced intense pressures to change and adapt. Government isn’t killing the coal industry. “Progress is the culprit,” concludes Kolstad’s study.

 The coal-mining jobs that President Trump thinks were destroyed by government regulation -- adopted to combat air pollution and global warming -- were actually lost to old-fashioned competition from other American firms and workers. Eastern coal mines lost market share to Western coal, which was cheaper. And natural gas grew at coal’s expense because it had low costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

[OP-ED]: Will robots dis-employ us all?

 05/11/2017 - 10:11
The robots won’t steal all our jobs, because their efficiencies will create more purchasing power for other spending or new products that require human involvement and oversight. For proof, consider smartphones. In 2012, they had created nearly 500,000 jobs for “mobile apps,” up from zero in 2007.

 We have yet another study that debunks the widespread notion that robots -- and other forms of automation, including “artificial intelligence” -- will destroy our jobs and lead to a future of permanently high unemployment. According to the study, that would completely rewrite history, which has shown job creation to be an enduring strength of the U.S. economy.

Plain Text Author: 
Robert J. Samuelson