Features and Highlights

The Ethics of Ethanol

While some politicians demand that automakers produce vehicles that consume less gas, the federal ethanol program continues to increase gas usage in America. … more

CAFE Standards: Markets or Mandates?

This week the U.S. House rejected stringent new fuel efficiency standards for SUVs that could have cost more-in dollars, jobs, and lives lost in auto accidents. A Mackinac Center adjunct scholar argues instead for eliminating government CAFE mandates entirely and letting the free market determine fuel efficiency standards. … more

How the Midwest Was Won

Mosquitoes may vex us now, but thanks to Michigan's early settlers, they no longer spread the dreaded illness malaria throughout the state. … more

A Popular Road Tax?

Auctioning off to the highest bidder popular "vanity" license plates for motor vehicles could be a less painful way to raise more transportation dollars. … more

Michigan Schools Deep in Debt

The Detroit Free Press cites Mackinac Center research in a recent front-page story on debt in Michigan school districts. … more

Government Unionism and Detroit

Detroit News columnist Bill Johnson consults the Mackinac Center to assess the harmful effects of excessive public-sector influence on Detroit politics. … more

The Proper Role of Government

Read this provocative open letter challenging the beliefs of "statists"-people who tend to view government as the solution to every social problem. … more

Flight Project Crashes and Burns

A proposed $120-million "Legacy of Flight" theme park-which includes $3 million in state funds-may never get off the ground, according to recent news reports. Months ago, the Mackinac Center criticized the project as wasteful and reminiscent of Flint's AutoWorld and other failed government theme parks. … more

Three Centuries of Motor City History

Anyone strolling by 58 Bagley Street in Detroit early in the morning of June 4, 1896, would have seen a strange sight: Henry Ford, ax in hand, smashing a hole in his garage. Read this classic Mackinac Center Viewpoint to find out what he was doing. … more

Heated Debate over Global Warming

In rejecting the flawed global warming treaty, the Bush administration is following the dictates of sound science and economic principles outlined years ago by the Mackinac Center. … more

Fighting Inflation?

A student wonders: Couldn't the government fight inflation simply by destroying excess currency? … more

Truth vs. Politics

As proponents of central planning weave new and seductive visions of political society, we need calm and reasoned scholarship to speak the truth in defense of liberty. … more

The Basics of Bonds

With the Federal Reserve on an interest rate cutting spree, one student Asked the Economist why bond prices rise as interest rates fall. … more

Flexing Our Policy Muscle

The "progressive" American Prospect looks at the state-based think tank movement and concludes the Mackinac Center's size and influence are "comparable to national organizations." … more

Stretching Education Dollars

A July 16 Detroit News editorial urging schools to improve their spending practices cites the Mackinac Center's offer to help a financially struggling school district save $350,000. … more

Trimming Wasteful Spending

Mackinac Center research recently indentified another opportunity for the state to save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars by eliminating a redundant government web site. … more

Welfare Reform and Incentives

For good or ill, human beings really do respond to economic incentives, as the unintended consequences of government welfare programs show. … more

Spendthrifts in Lansing

The Lansing State Journal quotes a Mackinac Center policy analyst on the dangers of politicians recklessly spending other people's money on such things as a $111-million "Hall of Justice." … more

School Districts: Less Is More?

Should Michigan's over 560 school districts be consolidated into larger districts for efficiency, or do more and smaller districts better serve students and parents? … more

State "Economic Development" Fails Again

Online grocery retailer Webvan Inc. announced Monday it is ceasing operations. In January, the Mackinac Center criticized state officials for unfairly singling out Webvan and other firms as "economic winners" deserving of special tax breaks unavailable to other companies. … more

Certified... or Qualified?

A Mackinac Center op-ed in the Detroit Free Press argues in favor of letting local school leaders, not distant state bureaucrats, determine who is qualified to teach in the classroom. … more

Local Control of Schools

Many parents and educators are concerned that Lansing and Washington are increasingly calling the shots in local schools. The Detroit News asked a Mackinac Center expert to comment. … more

The Fed and Interest Rates

The market is still reacting to a recent Federal Reserve cut in interest rates. A student Asked the Economist to explain the role of central banks and interest rates in the economy. … more

Declaring Independence-from Government

In a stirring 1995 testimonial before the U.S. Senate, Mackinac Center President Lawrence Reed reminds legislators why government must be strictly limited to the role of guarding our American birthright of liberty. … more

Microsoft and Anti-Trust

On June 28, a federal appeals court unanimously threw out a lower court's ruling that Microsoft must be split into two companies. Almost two years ago, a Mackinac Center Viewpoint wondered, "What was Microsoft's crime"? … more

A New Direction for Education Reform

One million readers of Hillsdale College's journal Imprimis consider the Mackinac Center case for education tax credits. … more

Michigan's Taxing Sales Tax

Gov. Engler is pushing to apply taxes to Internet purchases, but the sales tax as it stands now is already confusing and contradictory. … more

Does Wealthy Equal Healthy?

Research suggests that economic growth and prosperity, rather than being the enemy of environmental protection, may in fact be key to reducing pollution and preserving resources. … more

Tax Cut Lessons from the 1980s

As Americans begin to receive tax refund checks in the mail and some politicians talk of further tax relief, it's important to keep in mind the lessons from the tax cuts of the 1980s. … more

Free Markets and "Urban Sprawl"

A Mackinac Center scholar extols the virtues of freedom and property rights over coercive government land-use planning in testimony before the state House. … more

Worker Rights and the NLRB

In a special Detroit News letter, a Mackinac Center labor expert calls on the National Labor Relations Board to vigorously defend union workers' rights, following the lax enforcement of the past eight years. … more

Those Taxing Taxes

A new proposal to "streamline" Michigan's sales and use tax system could result in lost jobs and a heavier tax burden for citizens making purchases from out-of-state vendors. … more

The Economics of Prohibition

A special Mackinac Center op-ed in the Detroit News calls for a new approach to curbing drug use--an approach that applies the lessons of economics to a thorny social issue. … more

Educators Reforming Education

Education Week asks a Mackinac Center expert about a new association of educators dedicated to reforming the system from within. … more

The Basics of Bonds

With the Federal Reserve on an interest rate cutting spree, one student Asked the Economist to explain why bond prices rise as interest rates fall. … more

Does Blight Make Right?

A Mackinac Center scholar argues in the Detroit News against a proposal to combat "urban blight" by making it easier for government to confiscate private property. … more

Separation of Powers

Gov. John Engler has been a powerful and influential governor. Have his 10 years in office tilted the balance of power toward the executive branch at the expense of the Legislature? … more

The Road to Privatization

The Michigan Department of Transportation recently ended its experiment with privatized road maintenance. What were the results of the experiment? … more

Violence, Media, and Government

President Lawrence Reed responds to questions about the media and government's role in promoting or curbing youth violence. … more

Privatization and Public Employees

Many believe that privatization results in massive public employee layoffs. Evidence suggests, however, that public employees actually benefit in the long term from private-sector management of public services. … more

Capitalism and Growth

A student Asks the Economist why laissez-faire capitalism is the best way to achieve prosperity for the greatest number of people. … more

People and Privatization

At its core, privatization is about people coming together to find ways to solve their own problems, without relying on the cumbersome and coercive power of government. … more

Term Limits and Michigan

Barred from running for re-election in 2002, Gov. John Engler is lending his voice to a growing chorus of current and former public officials who want to extend or eliminate term limits. Is it time to rethink the law? … more

Vouchers or Tax Credits?

Mackinac Center policy analysts weigh the pros and cons of these two school-choice options in the current issue of School Reform News. … more

The ABCS of School Reform

Mackinac Center education experts tout the benefits of boosting competition among schools in a recent Detroit News op-ed. … more

Environment and Economy

Economic prosperity-rooted in private property, free markets, incentive, and entrepreneurship-is the best driver of environmental improvement, not top-down bureaucratic mandates. … more

Lessons from Detroit's Past

Detroit's next mayor should learn from his predecessor of 100 years ago and cut taxes to bring jobs and people back to the city. … more

Are SUVs Safe?

New research that shows motor vehicle fatalities decrease as more SUVs appear on American roads is not only good news for motorists, but also for the automakers that drive Michigan's economy. … more

Time for Tax Cuts

Americans are suffering under the largest federal tax burden since World War II. The time is most certainly right for Congress to provide tax relief. … more

Celebrating Our Free-Enterprise Past

This year Detroit celebrates its tricentennial, but 2001 marks another important anniversary for Michigan. … more

Tax Cuts and Growth

The power shift in the U.S. Senate, which recently passed a $1.35-trillion tax cut, provides a good opportunity to recount the economic benefits of tax relief. … more

Better Services, Lower Costs

A special report from WNEM5 TV on privatization in Michigan schools includes an on-air interview with a Mackinac Center expert. Watch the video. … more

Education and the Feds

Congress is set to boost the responsibilities of the federal Department of Education. So what are the goals and beliefs of U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige? Michigan Education Report investigates. … more

Free-Market Education?

History shows market incentives improve schools, says Mackinac Center Senior Fellow in Education Policy Andrew Coulson. … more

Public Money, Private Charities

President Bush's plan to federally fund private, religious charities ignores an important lesson from ancient Rome. … more

When Public Schools Choose

The Flint Journal explores the reality of how public school districts discriminate against students based on where they live, with comments from the Mackinac Center's director of education policy.  … more

The Alternative Minimum Tax

One tax expert says it's time to reform or abolish this tax designed to punish the very wealthy, but which is now ensnaring an increasing number of middle- and lower-income Americans. … more

Re-Institute the Gold Standard?

One student who Asked the Economist learned how using gold as the basis for a nation's currency is a more reliable way to ensure a strong economy than is relying on Alan Greenspan. … more

Economic Planning and the State

Syndicated columnist Amity Shlaes turned to Mackinac Center economists to help explain for Financial Times readers how government "economic development" programs are wasteful and counterproductive. … more

Thinking About Think Tanks

How does a think tank become more successful and effective in getting its message across? Lessons from the Mackinac Center's bi-annual Leadership Conference. … more

Pro-Freedom, Not Anti-Union

The Mackinac Center explains to Detroit News readers why opposition to compulsory unionism is not the same thing as being "anti-union" (scroll down to third letter). … more

Free Trade Agreements

President Bush wants "fast track" authority to negotiate more free trade agreements with other countries. Freer trade has been good for Michigan workers and consumers, according to a Mackinac Center analysis of the North American Free Trade Agreement. … more

Unions and School Reform

It's time to re-evaluate the wisdom of forcing school teachers to join labor organizations whose interests may not always align with those of parents, students, and teachers themselves. … more

Policy and Politics

The Mackinac Center's willingness to criticize poor public policies emanating from both sides of the political aisle is a major reason for the organization's success, says a syndicated columnist. … more

Term Limits and Michigan

Barred from running for re-election in 2002, Gov. John Engler is lending his voice to a growing chorus of current and former public officials who want to extend or eliminate term limits. Is it time to rethink the law? … more

Socialism's Appeal

Most economists now agree that socialism is a seriously flawed economic theory, yet many American politicians continue to embrace it in one form or another. Why is this so? … more

Schools and Privatization

Many Michigan school districts are outsourcing food, janitorial, and other services to improve quality and save more money for use in the classroom. The Detroit News recently asked a Mackinac Center privatization expert about this growing trend. … more

Taxes and the Internet

Congress is set to vote again on the thorny issue of Internet sales taxes. A Mackinac Center report sorts through the arguments to offer lawmakers policy recommendations based on sound economics.  … more

Social Security and the Stock Market

President Bush proposes to let workers invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in private retirement accounts. But given the recent stock market volatility, wouldn't the president's proposal be too risky? … more

Homework Requires Teamwork

Evidence is strong that homework improves student achievement, especially when coupled with parental support. … more

Prescription Drugs

The high cost of prescription drugs is causing many legislators to embrace Canada's government health-care system as a solution. But Canadian-style reform would come with costs of its own. … more

"Parity" and Scarcity

Government health-care mandates to help the uninsured too often drive up premiums, pricing insurance beyond what many people can afford. A proposal to require "parity" in mental health insurance shows some in Lansing have not yet learned this lesson. … more

Presidents and the Economy

President Bush is under fire from critics who blame the economic slowdown on his rhetoric, saying he is "talking down the economy." What is the role of the president in the success (or failure) of an economy? … more

Accountability and Education

Residents are petitioning the state to investigate questionable expenditures made by members of the Highland Park Board of Education. … more

School Funding

Seven years after Proposal A shifted the lion's share of school funding from local communities to the state, many districts are now wondering if the twin goals of equalized funding and local control can be reconciled. … more

Serving Public Servants

When police officers and teachers need help protecting their paychecks--and sometimes their jobs--from overbearing unions, they contact the Mackinac Center's labor experts. … more

Paycheck Protection

The Florida Legislature is considering a bill to require unions to get permission from teachers before spending dues on political lobbying. National Review Online cites the Mackinac Center's labor expertise, which Florida lawmakers have relied on in crafting legislation. … more

Striking at the Root

To make progress in creating and sustaining a free and prosperous society, policy-makers must first correct many deeply rooted problems in labor law and in our education system. … more

Urban Sprawl and the American Dream

Freedom is the best policy when it comes to issues involving economic growth and the environment, according to a statement signed by Mackinac Center staff members, authors, and scholars and over 100 other policy professionals. … more

Democracy or Republic?

A high-school debate student has some questions about American government to Ask the Debate Coach. This free Mackinac Center service provides students with expert help within 48 hours. … more

A Fair Field and No Favor

A Mackinac Center policy analyst criticizes as unfair a new scheme to attract high-tech businesses to just 11 state-approved regions, and makes the case for across-the-board tax relief that benefits all Michigan citizens. … more

Taxes, Taxes Everywhere

So it's April 16, and you think your taxes are done. Think again! The taxman strikes again and again throughout the year. … more

Reforming Campaign Finance Reform

Onerous laws that stifle healthy political discourse must be repealed, according to Mackinac Center adjunct scholar and Federal Election Commissioner Bradley Smith.  … more

Partners in Education

The current issue of nationally published Education Week highlights the groundbreaking new school-choice partnership between the Mackinac Center and Arizona's Goldwater Institute. … more

Airline Avoids Strike

Summer travelers breathed a sigh of relief Monday as Northwest Airlines reached a contract agreement with its mechanics' union, averting a possible strike. The Detroit News's coverage includes comments from a Mackinac Center expert. … more

Tax Cuts and the Economy

Critics of President Bush's tax cut proposals say they are skewed toward the wealthy, won't help the economy, and will even hurt charitable giving. What is the truth? … more

Are We Undertaxed?

The U.S. Senate voted last week to drastically reduce President Bush's already-modest tax relief package, raising the question "Do legislators believe we are undertaxed?" … more

Public School Choice in Michigan

Participants in an April 2 symposium at Howard University's School of Law heard how Michigan children are benefiting from choice in the form of charter schools and other public-school alternatives. … more

Unions and Airline Strikes

As the peak travel season approaches, rumblings of airline strikes are making some travelers nervous. The Mackinac Center assessed the situation in a recent Detroit News op-ed. … more

Joe Louis vs. the IRS

This year, the Mackinac Center celebrates 300 years of Detroit history. The advent of tax season is a good time to again recall when the Motor City's greatest fighter faced his toughest opponent: the federal government. … more

Redirecting Dollars to the Classroom

The Detroit News is urging the financially troubled Redford Union school district to accept a Mackinac Center offer to help it save $350,000 and minimize teacher layoffs.  … more

Politicians: It's Not Your Money!

State and federal legislators who caution against tax cuts would do well to remember who really owns the money they insist on spending. … more

Energy Costs and Michigan Consumers

Michigan consumers will be paying higher rates for natural gas once government price controls begin coming off in April. Fortunately, state lawmakers are resisting urges to intervene in ways that might lead to California-style energy shortages. … more

Union Workers & Campaign Finance Reform

Although a measure to protect employees from being forced to fund union politics died in the U.S. Senate, the battle for union workers' right to control their dues dollars is still very much a live issue. … more

Gladiators and Economic History

Director Ridley Scott's Oscar-winning epic, Gladiator, is partly fictional, but the part that isn't should serve as a reminder of some important lessons from one of history's greatest civilizations. … more

Government-Run Job Boards

The state of Michigan's two Internet-based job boards are doubly redundant: They not only compete with each other, but also with hundreds of private job recruitment firms whose work doesn't cost the taxpayer a cent. … more

Global Warming
and Energy Costs

Citizens already struggling with high gasoline and energy costs should welcome President Bush's decision not to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. … more

Stock Markets and Recession

As the stock market plummets, many economists are wondering if today's politicians will make the same mistakes officials in the 1920s and 30s made when they turned a recession into the Great Depression. What were those mistakes? … more

Tax Cuts and Government Revenue

Politicians often talk of tax cuts "costing" the government money, but a student who Asked the Economist found out how past cuts have actually led to increased government revenue. … more

Parents and Schools

Kids suffer when schools spend more of their time and resources taking on non-educational responsibilities better left to the family unit.  … more

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Quality Scholarship

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is committed to delivering the highest quality and most reliable research on Michigan issues. The Center guarantees that all original factual data are true and correct and that information attributed to other sources is accurately represented.

The Center encourages rigorous critique of its research. If the accuracy of any material fact or reference to an independent source is questioned and brought to the Center’s attention with supporting evidence, the Center will respond in writing. If an error exists, it will be noted in a correction that will accompany all subsequent distribution of the publication. This constitutes the complete and final remedy under this guarantee.