A terrific editorial from Nolan Finley in the Sunday Detroit News. Entitled “The reason why we’re poorer”, Finley lays out, as well as we ever have, the connection between education attainment and per capita income. He clearly understands in an increasingly knowledge driven economy that states prosperity is linked to education attainment. As we have reported for years Michigan’s fundamental problem is that we are 34th in college attainment. (See our A New Agenda for a New Michigan report.) Basically end of story!
Finley also makes the case that cutting higher education in the state budget year after year after year is bad public policy. How it is that in the 20th Century when it didn’t matter economically so much Michigan built one of the best public higher education systems on the planet, and then this century when it may matter most to prosperity we have been, on a bi partisan basis, disinvesting in higher ed is almost beyond belief. Not smart!
For years we have concluded every presentation with the tag line unless we get younger and better educated Michigan will get poorer. It’s a one liner that sums up our belief that preparing, retaining and attracting talent is the key to Michigan’s future prosperity. It trumps everything else we label as economic development. Finley finishes his column with the same basic conclusion: Michigan’s choice is to either get smarter or get poorer.