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Land O Links

*Home prices are rising across the country again – even in Detroit.

The city saw an 18.5 percent increase over the last year in home prices, tracking nicely with the recoveries seen in other epicenters of the housing crash: Las Vegas, 20.6 percent; Phoenix, 22.5 percent.

For some Midwest points of comparison, Cleveland gained about 5 percent and Chicago about 8 percent over the same period.

*It’s hard to argue against the results reflected in this chart, which show earnings and employment rates by level of educational attainment. Short version: Having college degrees, especially advanced ones, are pretty good guarantees for employment and higher wages.

What might be lost here is how this educational imperative now plays out in our economy. After all, rushing to earn a Ph.D in literature is hardly a sure-fire way to gain steady employment or big bucks. But as we all know, the economy has changed and even manufacturing line jobs that once were the domain of the high school grad or even dropout now belongs to a college grad. In other words, those without post-high school training are being squeezed into a shrinking number of jobs and fields that don’t pay well. And some are being squeezed out entirely – going from working to unemployed to off the official employment radar.

*Another list with Detroit on it – in this case a list of suburban areas where poverty soared in the 21st century.

What’s interesting about this list is the diversity of location. Both Rust Belt areas (Detroit, Dayton, Ohio) and gleaming symbols of high-tech, new economy wealth (Austin, Texas, Atlanta, Ga.) are on it.

land-o-linksThis might just mean that poverty isn’t as confined to urban cores as the stereotypes would imply. Suburban poverty will be a major story in Michigan and elsewhere in the coming decade.

*Mark Perry of the University of Michigan makes the case for compensating people who donate kidneys: “The situation for those with renal failure waiting desperately to receive a kidney continues to worsen every year under the current policy that prohibits donor compensation.”

His charts detail the declining prospects for transplants patients. We simply have more people in need of kidneys than we have kidneys.

I know plenty of people are squeamish about the idea of an organ market, but what’s the alternative?

In Michigan and elsewhere, organ donor registrations are on the rise, but that trend is not compensating for the organ gap. Do we go to mandatory participation in organ donation programs?

In the end, though, technology may make the whole matter moot: Push a button, print a kidney, or a heart, or whatever.

*Poughkeepsie, N.Y., hasn’t had much to crow about since the 19th century, but the 21st century may offer it a renaissance – thanks to climate change.

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