This article originally appeared in the summer 2001 issue of IMPACT!, the quarterly newsletter of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
Timely. Accurate. Effective. These adjectives are often applied to Mackinac Center for Public Policy research in policy areas ranging from the environment and taxation to labor and privatization. The most recent example of all three adjectives is a Viewpoint commentary by Mackinac Center Policy Analyst Michael LaFaive that exposedand helped correctthe wasteful redundancy of two state-run Internet job boards.
The job boardsone operated by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the other by the Michigan Department of Career Development (MDCD)carry out the exact same function: bringing together job seekers and job providers. An MEDC brochure about its "Michigan Careersite" even makes a virtue of the redundancy: It brags about the fact that Michigan Careersite is able to "grab" and post jobs off of the MDCD's "Talent Bank."
The MEDC and MDCD sites not only compete directly with each other, but also with hundreds of privately owned and operated Michigan-based job recruitment companies. "It really is irksome to see the state using our tax dollars to compete against us," remarked an owner of one private job site. "Moreover, it's bizarre watching the agencies competing against each other."
But LaFaive's research is changing that. In March, his Viewpoint was reprinted statewide by numerous newspapers including the Detroit News. Soon after, Lansing sources informed the Mackinac Center that the MEDC Michigan Careersite soon will be merged with MDCD Talent Bank, leaving only one state-run Internet job board. The sources credited LaFaive's solid research for calling attention to the redundant state sites, resulting in a victory for fiscal prudence and sound economics.
"I hope public officials will recognize there is no reason to spend tax dollars running any job board, when so many private firms provide job recruitment services at no cost to taxpayers," says LaFaive.