Worth checking out

Some interesting items that are worth checking out:

• CNN did a terrific report on high tech job growth in metro Detroit.  Going so far as to ask whether Detroit is the new Silicon Valley. Yes dead and gone Detroit! Not to mention the state with the worse business tax in America that drives away business investment. Both of course are nonsense. As we have written repeatedly Michigan’s lost decade was caused by the collapse of our preeminent industry – not state policy – and as the auto industry restarts we are creating jobs again with the same state policy that was in place when we had the worst economy in the country. What is most important about the CNN story is that the job growth they feature is knowledge-based. As the story points out the auto industry is a major employer of technology workers. It is the growing part of the industry and we need to make sure that as much of that growth as possible happens here.

• Two articles on gay rights. The first by Thomas Costello, CEO of the Michigan Roundtable, points out the price we pay in terms of economic growth by being anti-gay as the Legislature works to deny benefits to same sex partners of state employees and to impose financial penalties on state universities that do the same. The second from the New York Times which reports that more and more firms are increasing domestic partner benefits for gays. They are doing this both because it is the right thing to do but also because it is a competitive advantage in recruiting talent. The Times writes: The competition has become most apparent in a handful of industries, notably law firms, big consulting companies and in Silicon Valley. More Wall Street firms, meanwhile, are said to be considering the policy. Knowledge-based industries where most of the job growth in the country is occurring. The kind of companies Michigan needs to attract. When will we learn that welcoming to all is an essential characteristic of the most prosperous places?

A terrific column in Metromode by Francis Grunow on regionalism in Portland, Oregon. We have written previously about Portland needing to be the model for Ann Arbor. Restricting growth in the hinterlands, high density in the city. Francis makes the case that they are a model for all of Michigan’s big metros – particularly metro Detroit. They have created a region anchored by a vibrant central city and have made regionalism work and are reaping the benefits from both. Francis writes: Detroit is our state of mind, our gold standard … a single economic unit. And whether we like it or not, Detroit is our common denominator and common destiny. If we agree that Detroit’s destiny and the region’s destiny are one and the same, we must certainly also agree that we all have common issues with common solutions. Another lessons we need to learn sooner rather than later.

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