Worth Reading

When I committed to writing a blog twice a week I worried that I wouldn’t have enough to write about. Boy was I wrong. The exact opposite has been the case. I keep putting aside articles that I want to write about and then never get to them. So here are links to three articles I found particularly interesting:

• An article in Nature on Pittsburgh’s resurgence. A frequent question I’m asked is what is the model for metro Detroit/Michigan to make the transition from a factory-based to a knowledge-based economy. Metro Pittsburgh sure is one. They lost steel – their dominant industry – more than two decades ago. As the article indicates today they are knowledge-based and on the upswing. We are going to feature metro Pittsburgh in our next annual Progress Report.

• Another terrific editorial in the Grand Rapids Press. This time on the need for higher taxes to fix our roads. Now with a gas tax, ultimately with a tax based on road usage using new technologies. The notion that we are better off not raising taxes and with crumbling roads, not to mention hardly any transit, is simply wrong.

• Finally a really disturbing article in the New York Times over the weekend on problems with for profit trade schools. Far too many students leaving with high debts and low wages. The article portrays an industry that makes its money from federal grants and loans rather than student payments. But leaves many of its students unable to earn the kind of middle class incomes the schools advertise. The problem is complicated by big student loans which reduce further the standard of living of trade school graduates. Not mentioned in the article, its even worse for those who don’t graduate who also have big student loans and even lower wages.

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