Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Society and Culture, Education, Pethokoukis, Economics, U.S. Economy

Study: A fourth of public school spending goes to salaries and benefits of nonteachers

A new Thomas B. Fordham Institute study finds that the number of non-teaching staff in the United States has grown by 130% since 1970. These three millions employers now account for half of the public school workforce with their salaries and benefits absorbing one-quarter of current education spending. read more >

Image Credit: MPD01605 (Flickr) CC
Economics, International economy, Pethokoukis, U.S. Economy

Look out, America, here’s how Europe’s debt crisis might reignite

I would be more confident in the US economy’s ability to withstand a new euro fiasco if, say, a nasty bout of weather hadn’t contributed to one of the worst non-recession GDP quarters since WW II. History suggests a 2%-growth economy is a fragile economy. And newspaper headlines suggest the eurozone is still stuck in a long recession or depression, which threatens to eventually reignite the region’s debt crisis. read more >

Image Credit: shutterstock
Economics, Society and Culture, Education

How to reform the federal PLUS college loan program

The Department of Education has released a proposal to ease credit check requirements for the federal PLUS loan program. The PLUS loan program allows graduate students and parents of undergraduates to borrow up to the cost of attendance with no annual or aggregate limits, leading many to worry that these programs encourage over-borrowing and tuition inflation. read more >

081514uncertainty
Economics, Pethokoukis, U.S. Economy

Study: Economic uncertainty has cost the US a million jobs since 2010

The new study “The Asymmetric Effects of Uncertainty” by Kansas City Fed economist Andrew Foerster looks at heightened uncertainty — as measured by the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, or VIX — from three specific events: the May 2010 European sovereign debt crisis, the August 2011 US debt ceiling crisis, and the June 2013 confusion about the Fed’s plan to wind down its bond buying program. Foerster finds that uncertainty generated by those key events had a big negative impact on economic growth and job creation. read more >

Image Credit: shutterstock
Economics, Pethokoukis

Economist: ‘Americans have lost a lot of confidence and replaced it with fear’

Recall the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll from last week that found that (a) 49% of Americans think we are still in a recession, (b) an all-time higher of 76% “lack confidence that their children’s generation will have a better life than they do, and (c) 71% think the country is on the wrong track, up 8 percentage points from June. Which brings us to today’s new report on consumer confidence from the Reuters/University of Michigan. What really got the attention of economists was the expectations bit. Kind of sour. read more >