As a new year begins, most of us give thought to the good things we would like to see the coming months bring to our families, friends, coworkers and the nation as a whole. Millions of Americans will construct their own personal resolutions, some of which will be kept and many of which will not. I recently asked the nearly 30 members of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy staff what their hopes were for 2003 and the responses, listed below, were both interesting and wide-ranging.


What hopes do you have for 2003?

I hope that friends of the Mackinac Center will realize more than ever that our work is so critically important to the future of this state and country. So many of them give so generously to politics and political candidates, who almost always let them down. Or they give heavily to universities because it’s the fashionable thing to do, with hardly a thought to the fact that much of the money will be spent to teach state-worshipping nonsense in the classroom. I hope our friends realize that we — and the ideas we advance — are worthy of a far greater investment than they may be currently making.

I hope that we will make great strides in helping people realize that the state doesn’t have a legitimate right to exercise moral authority over their children by forcing them to attend failing government-assigned schools and that parents will begin demanding the power to choose their own schools. I hope that parents are given more control over the schools their children attend and the money to make it happen through programs such as vouchers or tax credits. Who knows the needs of and cares more for a child than his/her loving parent?

I hope that the new governors and legislators across the country will understand that entrepreneurs and free enterprise are what makes everything else possible; that they are easily crushed by high taxes, overregulation and infringements on property rights; and that those destructive policies can’t be mitigated by handouts or "incentives" for certain favored firms and industries.

I hope people more fully realize how much government takes from them which, if left in their own hands, they could use to more directly, efficiently and effectively to help each other.

I hope that legislators will not only re-read our May 2002 document in which we proposed 77 great policy ideas, but that they will enact them posthaste.

I hope that people realize that reforming the world begins by reforming ourselves, each and every one of us, one at a time, on a very personal level. Too many people want to meddle in the affairs of others and run their lives for them, even though their own lives are in need of vast self-improvement.

I hope more people come to realize that anything government gives, it first took from someone by threat of force. Government robs Peter to pay Paul.

I hope education improves for everyone. I enjoy learning and thinking. And more thinking and learning can happen if people embrace openness, competition, and choice.

I hope that everyone involved in supporting political campaigns will realize that even the best politicians act only within the confines of acceptable policy that have been determined by visionary advocates of new ways of doing things. When you give to a politician, you help somebody move around on a road no farther than the end of that road — not necessarily to your destination. When you give to a think tank like the Mackinac Center, you help somebody build a new road that extends to policies that were previously unreachable by mere politicians.

I hope all the people I love will be safe, warm, and healthy in 2003.

I hope angry people will become more forgiving, impatient people will become more understanding, and that peace will reign instead of terror. And I hope the Red Wings win the Stanley cup, again!

I hope that America solves its Iraq problem in short order. Uncertainty is a stock-market and economy killer. Getting a major military campaign out of the way will lift spirits and the stock market, enabling people to retire in greater comfort, and for charities to enjoy more donations from appreciated stock gifts.

I hope that America adopts a flatter tax system. The U.S. tax system is an embarrassment. We should follow the leads of nations like the former Soviet Union and Estonia and flatten and lower our tax codes to help create more overall economic growth for the nation.

I hope the U.S. adopts genuine Social Security Reform through allowing citizens more private options. The U.S. should join other nations and reform their pension systems, just as other nations around the world have. Other countries with private retirement accounts include, Chile, Denmark, the Netherlands, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, Uruguay, Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Poland, Latvia, Sweden, Hong Kong, El Salvador and Croatia (and coming soon) China.

I hope to see the work of the Mackinac Center and other organizations further advance the cause of freedom through defending school choice, property rights, and free-market principles.

I hope that even more Michigan children have the opportunity to go to a charter school alternative in the coming year, and that state regulations on charter schools do not impede their ability to education children.

I hope that there will be an increased awareness of the resources that the Mackinac Center provides, such that more people will join us in changing public policy as we work together to improve the life of every human being.

As a homeschooler, I really do hope states like Michigan start moving toward education tax credits this next year! I can hardly imagine how much richer of an educational experience my child could have if we spent even half of what our state spends on each child.

I hope that the media will finally understand that the Mackinac Center, if it must be labeled, is best described as a "free market" organization. We are not Republican or Democratic. We are not conservative. We don’t address all issues, especially those that are predominately social or ethical. We deal with issues that are predominately economic in nature, which is why we enjoy the support of people from across the political spectrum, but there are still some in the media who prefer unthinking and inaccurate labels to describe us.

I hope our Web hits, which are already off the charts, will double again in 2003 and that people will regularly visit both our sites, www.mackinac.org, and www.michiganvotes.org, to see the great material we post there every day!

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From the entire staff of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, to all our friends, supporters, and visitors to our Web sites, HAPPY NEW YEAR!