[Photo of Lawrence W. Reed]

Lawrence W. Reed

President Emeritus

After serving as President for the Center’s first two decades, Lawrence W. (Larry) Reed, became president emeritus of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Midland-based research and educational institute on September 1, 2008. The Center's mission is to equip Michigan citizens and other decision-makers to better evaluate Michigan public policy options and to do so from a "free market" perspective.

On September 1, 2008, Reed assumed the presidency of the Foundation for Economic Education, headquartered in Irvington, New York. In this article, FEE: A Lighthouse for Freedom, FEE's history and importance were highlighted by Reed.

Reed holds a B.A. degree in Economics from Grove City College (1975) and an M.A. degree in History from Slippery Rock State University (1978), both in Pennsylvania. He taught economics at Midland's Northwood University from 1977 to 1984 and chaired the Department of Economics from 1982 to 1984. He designed the university's unique dual major in Economics and Business Management and founded its annual, highly-acclaimed "Freedom Seminar." In 1982, he was a major party candidate in the general election for the U. S. House of Representatives from Michigan's 4th district. He moved to Boise, Idaho in 1984 to direct a policy institute there before moving back to Michigan to head up the Mackinac Center in December 1987.

Under his leadership, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy has emerged as the largest and one of the most effective and prolific of over 40 state-based "free market" think tanks in America. He served a term as president and 15 years as a member of the board of directors of the State Policy Network, a national organization whose membership consists of those state-based groups.

In 1994, Reed was invited to give the Commencement address to the graduating class of the Colleges of Education, Health, and Human Services and Extended Learning at Central Michigan University (CMU) before an audience of 6,000. CMU conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Public Administration. In 1998, Grove City College (his undergraduate alma mater) bestowed upon him its "Distinguished Alumni Award." In 2008, he delivered a Commencement address to an audience of 3,500 at Northwood University and received a second honorary doctorate, Doctor of Laws.

In the past twenty years, he has authored over 1,000 newspaper columns and articles, 200 radio commentaries, dozens of articles in magazines and journals in the U. S. and abroad, as well as five books. His articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Baltimore Sun, Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, among many others. Reed's most recent book is Striking the Root: Essays on Liberty. Since 1978, he has delivered more than 1,000 speeches in 40 states and 15 foreign countries, including one at Peoples University in Beijing, China.

Reed's interests in political and economic affairs have taken him as a freelance journalist to 69 countries on six continents since 1985, including five visits to Russia, five to China, four to Nicaragua, three to Poland, five to Kenya, and others to such places as Cambodia, East Germany, Mozambique, Haiti, Japan, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Honduras, Greece, Italy, Australia, Slovenia, Croatia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Singapore, Israel, Egypt, Malaysia, Vietnam, Iceland and New Zealand.

From firsthand experience, he has reported on hyperinflation in South America, voodoo in Haiti, black markets behind the Iron Curtain, reforms and repression in China and Cambodia, the recent stunning developments in Eastern Europe, and civil war inside Nicaragua and Mozambique. Among many foreign adventures, Reed visited the ravaged nation of Cambodia in 1989 with his late friend, Academy Award winner Dr. Haing S. Ngor; recorded an authentic native voodoo ceremony in a remote region of Haiti in 1987; traveled with the Polish anti-communist underground for which he was arrested and detained by border police in 1986; interviewed presidents and cabinet officials in half a dozen nations; spent time with the contra rebels during the Nicaraguan civil war; and lived for two weeks with the rebels of Mozambique at their bush headquarters in 1991, at the height of that country's devastating civil war.

Reed was elected in 1994 to the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) in Irvington, New York -- one of the oldest and most respected economics institutes in America and publisher of the journal, The Freeman, for which he writes a column entitled "Ideas and Consequences." In 1998, he was elected chairman of FEE's board of Trustees and reelected chairman in 1999 and 2000.

In 1993, he was appointed by Governor Engler to the Headlee Amendment Blue Ribbon Commission. In 1994, he was named to a task force of the Secchia Commission on Total Quality Government, which was charged by Governor Engler with the mission of streamlining Michigan state government.

In December 2007, he was named Visiting Senior Fellow with the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

His spare-time interests include reading, travel, flyfishing, hiking, skydiving, and animals of just about any kind.

Reflections at Year-End From The Mackinac Center for Public Policy Staff

The holiday season and the end of a year is a time of reflection and introspection. In that regard, I recently asked the Mackinac Center staff three questions:
Which freedoms mean the most to you and why?

What fruits of freedom do you treasure the most and why?

What is it about the work we do at the Mackinac Center that gets you excited, motivated, and passionate?

The answers reveal much about the things our staff members hold dear, especially our institutional commitment to freedom, without which it would not be possible to freely celebrate the holidays as we do in America. I have assembled the answers below. For brevity’s sake, I have added very little narrative and in any event, the comments speak well for themselves.
Visit our "Current Comment" feature again on December 30-January 2 when we post the responses of our staff to the question, "What are your hopes for 2003?"

----Lawrence W. Reed … more

A Green Light for Choice

The Forgotten Robber Barons

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John Engler’s Impact on State Government

The Message of the Nonvoter

An Inspiration for All Time

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Banning the Straight-Party Vote Option

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The November 2002 State Ballot Proposals

Straightening Out Straight-Party Voting

The True Meaning of Patriotism

Politics and the Race for Michigan Governor

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If Marx Had Been Groucho

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Charity and the Presidency

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Digging the Big Ditch

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Berlin, August 1961: An Anniversary We Should Never Forget

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Cigarette Taxes Are Hazardous To Our Health

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Would Privatization Cure the Ills of Blue Cross Blue Shield?

Should Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan be privatized, and what would be the effects if it were? … more

Jefferson's Words Best Choice for July 4

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Evaluating New Drugs: Remember the Bigger Picture

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The Gold Standard and Unemployment

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It Wasn't Government That Fixed Your Clock

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"Statesmanship: A Most Worthy Cause"

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Statesmanship: A Most Worthy Cause

What's the difference between a statesman and a politician? … more

Is there a case for election consolidation across the state or should such matters be decided at the local level?

A package of bills making its way through the Legislature would make major improvements in the way in which public schools handle school board and finance elections. … more

Education Reform, School Choice, and Tax Credits

Currency and Exchange Rates

Are flexible exchange rates and floating exchange rates the same thing? … more

Straightening Out Straight-Party Voting

As the Michigan Democratic party works to secure on the ballot a referendum on the Legislature's removal of straight party line voting as an option, is the law as passed true election reform or a GOP power play? … more

Unfair Competition from Prison Labor Requires a Congressional Fix

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Two Michigan Towns with the Same Name

All across Michigan are places whose names are rich with interesting but sometimes forgotten history. In the Upper Peninsula, two towns one hundred miles apart were named for the same man: Kipling and Rudyard, after British author Rudyard Kipling. Who he was and how the towns came to honor him is a story worth retelling. … more

Keeping Michigan on Track:

New legislative opportunities will come with the fall elections for the Michigan House, Senate, and governorship. Read the Mackinac Center's policy recommendations for the next Legislature and governor below. … more

Education Reform, School Choice, and Tax Credits

Based on Mackinac Center President Lawrence Reed's April 16, 2002, testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Education Committee. … more

Prison Monopoly Threatens Michigan Jobs

Federal Prison Industries Inc., a division of the U.S. Department of Justice that employs prisoners as laborers and pays no taxes, unfairly competes with the private sector. … more

Perils and Pitfalls of Privatization

Privatization should be done right or not at all. Author John Stainback has written a new book on how to avoid many of the problems commonly encountered when establishing public-private partnerships. … more

Time to Repeal or Revise Term Limits?

As Michigan voters prepare to go to the polls in 2002, the full impact of term limits will swing into effect. What have been the observable impact on residents and on the efficacy of the Legislature and state policy of the 1992 constitutional amendment? … more

Government and Recessions

What steps should be taken to bring the economy out of recession? … more

Did Anybody Really Know What Time It Was?

The U.S. government didn't set up America's system of standardized time zones-private citizens did. Until 1883, time was purely a local matter. Then railroad officials set up the current system, to "make the trains run on time." Turns out they performed a service for the rest of us as well-but Detroit resisted the change until 1905, and the U.S. government didn't "approve" the system until 1918. … more

Supply and Demand of Labor

What causes shifts in the supply and demand curves for labor? How are equilibrium wage and quantity of labor determined? … more

Government Intervention and "Unrestrained" Competition

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Is the New State Budget a Quick Political Fix?

The state budget: getting us through the tough times, or a quick political fix? … more

A Privatization Revolution-In a Most Unlikely Place

Rwanda, in the heart of Africa, is engaged in the continent's most ambitious privatization campaign. … more

Lighting the Way on the Dark Continent

A candle has been lit in east Africa in the form of the region's first free-market research and educational organization, and the man who lit it is one remarkable 31-year-old Kenyan named James Shikwati. … more

CAFE = Causing Auto Fatalities Everywhere?

The U.S. Senate will devote most of March to debating a $35-billion energy package that supposedly will protect Americans from both greedy sheikhs and global warming. But if enacted as proposed, the measure actually would result in a good deal of American blood needlessly spilled on U.S. highways. … more

Fix Michigan Schools with Proposal A+

Of Meat and Myth

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The Importance of Ideas

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