Features and Highlights

Vindicating Property Rights

The Michigan Supreme Court restores individuals' defenses against government seizures of their property. … more

Make America Safer by Making Government Smaller

Government will fail to do what it is supposed to do if it does too much of what it is not supposed to do. … more

The Better Choice for School Choice

The National Conference of State Legislatures hosted Joseph Lehman to compare vouchers and tuition tax credits. … more

Detroit Schools’ Deficit Appears Linked to Staffing

A review of Detroit Public Schools figures suggests the district engaged in unrealistic hiring as enrollment declined. … more

Michigan Education Digest

ISD reforms signed; Detroit enrollment drops while employment grows; vouchers vs. tax credits; remedial costs. … more

'Offshoring' State Services Benefits Michigan

Preventing the state from using foreign companies results in higher costs, fewer services, or both.  … more

Union Subjects Religious Objector to Modern-Day Inquisition

A teacher trying to exercise her rights finds herself forced to substantiate her religious beliefs to a panel of her peers. … more

Michigan Education Digest

Michigan teachers paid 2nd-highest; NCLB progress; Detroit union may sue to stop charters; grants for failing schools; EMU construction scandal. … more

Zogby/Mackinac Center survey: Union members question union organizing tactic

A national survey of union members suggests that a majority would prefer the current secret-ballot system for unionizing a workplace to the “card check” favored by union officials.  … more

Proposed Electricity Bills in Lansing Would Harm Consumers and Decrease Reliability of Supply

Bills introduced this month in the state Senate threaten to end the lower prices and improved service enjoyed by Michigan’s electrical consumers since deregulation in 2000.  … more

Lansing Bureaucracy Threatens New Telecommunications Technology

Impending regulations could stifle Internet phone calling, killing high-tech jobs and slowing economic growth. … more

Eminent Domain Extremism Runs into Judicial Brick Wall

A Michigan Circuit Court Judge stopped Grosse Ile township supervisors from seizing a privately owned bridge, recognizing limits to government’s use of eminent domain power.  … more

Do Economic Development Programs 'Feed the Sparrows through the Horses?'

Fiscal Policy Director Michael LaFaive outlines four problems with state-directed economic development programs. … more

Playing Monopoly with Detroit's Kids

Detroit's student enrollment falls while school employment grows. Only a monopoly education system can behave this way and avoid accountability. … more

Michigan Education Digest

California districts withhold special ed cash from charters; school property taxes go back up; superintendents testify under threat of subpeona; teachers with fake degrees dismissed. … more

Cities that Cry Poverty Should Sell Their Money-Losing Ski Slopes

Traverse City's budget has a million-dollar deficit, 8% of which is due to its money-losing ski area. … more

Detroit Should Take Advantage of Teacher Placement Program

Michigan’s largest school district has stopped using one of the most promising ways to get good teachers into the classroom. … more

Calling the Bully's Bluff

The Institute for Justice explains how its attorneys helped the Mackinac Center defeat the MEA's attempt to silence free speech. … more

Michigan Education Digest

Feds tell states to spend cash; Michigan ranks low in college grads; Detroit drains 'rainy day' fund; voters could dissolve ISDs. … more

When Will Conventional Public Schools Be as Accountable as Charter Schools?

Last week a charter public school was closed for financial and educational problems. If only the rest of the public schools were held to the same standards. … more

Are Targeted Tax Incentives Constitutional?

Does it violate the Commerce Clause when states offer some businesses special deals to lure them to locate inside their borders? … more

The True Meaning of Patriotism

Real patriotism is rooted in the ideas that gave birth to a nation -- the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness -- and a government limited to protecting those rights. … more

Michigan Privatization Report "Around the State"

Privatization initiatives, opportunities and controversies gleaned from headlines around the state. … more

Michigan Education Digest

Colorado high court rejects voucher plan; charter school dissolves itself; voters could eliminate intermediate districts; college aid up. … more

New Cigarette Tax Should Have Gone Up in Smoke

On July 1 Michigan's cigarette tax will become the second-highest in the nation. The new tax will hamper economic recovery and encourage more unnecessary state spending. … more

Should We Pay Sales Tax on Services Too?

One group recommends more than 200 consumer services that could be newly taxed. See the list here. … more

Beggars Can Be Choosers

Adjunct Scholar Dr. Robert Murphy refutes the claims of a reporter that charitable gifts to poor countries makes them poorer. … more

Prison Privatization: A Growing National Trend

Michigan could join other states that are saving millions of dollars by privatizing an increasing share of their prison operations. … more

Michigan Education Digest

Teachers prepare to strike illegally; Kentwood imposes contract; protesters disrupt Detroit board meeting; and fraud charge in 'wired' classrooms.  … more

Is Affirmative Action the Right Fight?

No one would be talking about affirmative action in education if we had a market-driven school system that produced good results. … more

Competing for Prize Launches the New Space Race

Private teams vying for a $10 million prize are about to prove that space travel is not the exclusive province of government. … more

Improving Michigan's Air Permitting Program

Businesses will create fewer jobs in states where they cannot predict when, or if, the state will grant them air emissions permits for new plants. (pdf) … more

Lower Gas Prices by Scrapping Counterproductive Regulations

The governor can't control OPEC, but she can help eliminate the most costly regulations that add little or no benefit. … more

Cut Train Subsidies to Re-connect Rural Michigan

The lack of bus service between cities in most of Michigan is about to get worse because of competition from government-subsidized trains along populated bus routes. … more

The U.S. Economy Is Booming

Mackinac Center Adjunct Scholar Dr. Mark Perry argues that the economy is gaining strength, against the opposite view presented by California Congressman George Miller.  … more

Government Policies and Gas Prices

In a recent survey, three-quarters of respondents said that high gas prices are because of a desire to boost profits. Are they right?  … more

'Smart Growth' Does Not Equal Intelligent Planning

Diane Katz, writing for the Michigan Townships Association, explains why central planning in land use leads to poorer choices and less freedom. (pdf) … more

Strange Lessons in School Discipline

Odd outcomes are the result of zero-tolerance discipline policies coupled with a dearth of real educational choices.  … more

Bioavailability Study Needed for Dioxin

The DEQ is threatening to declare a large portion of the city of Midland 'contaminated' without understanding the health effects of dioxin. … more

On the Passing of Ronald Reagan

Reagan's legacy means Americans can look to the future with the hope and optimism that he gave us reason once again to embrace. … more

Education for All: Choice, Reform, and Optimism

U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige delivered a special policy address to the Mackinac Center's boards of advisors and directors in Ann Arbor on June 4. … more

Will We Run Out of Energy?

Mackinac Center Adjunct Scholar Mark Brandly explains the economics that govern energy supplies. … more

State Stops Subsidizing Its Ski Resort

After the Mackinac Center revealed how much the state could save by privatizing its ski resort, DNR officials contracted out management of the facility. … more

Michigan Education Digest

Teacher health insurance stalls contract talks; Detroit leaves schools without power; students may work longer hours; and University of Michigan minority admissions down. … more

A Setback for Workers

The Granholm administration decides to stop informing state workers of their legal rights. … more

Why Limit Government?

On Memorial Day we honor those whose military service protected our freedom from foreign aggression. But why must we also limit our own government? … more

Michigan Education Digest

Sin taxes for schools; new MEA member fees; non-union school construction; and disruptive students. … more

Give MDOT a Potty Break

The state should sell its 68 highway rest areas and 13 welcome centers to save millions of dollars annually. … more

Downtowns Need Less Government, Not More

Proposed new tax districts would just give downtown residents and businesses more ways to tax each other – without lowering a single government barrier to enterprise. … more

Homeschooling: An 'Encouraging and Robust' Movement

Up to 100,000 Michigan children learn at home, achieving high academic marks and saving taxpayers $600 million annually. … more

Making a Difference for Liberty Around the World

Mackinac Center President Lawrence Reed finds good news for freedom lovers in China, South Korea, and Vietnam. … more

Cutting Taxes on Smokeless Tobacco Could Improve Health

Instead of raising taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products, lawmakers should cut taxes on smokeless tobacco and achieve health gains. … more

Private Firms Can Lock Up Jail Savings

If the state allowed counties to privatize their jail operations, local governments could reap savings of 10-15 percent. … more

What Can't Brown Do for You?

There are some problems courts can solve and some they can't. Fifty years after Brown, both racial segregation and black student achievement remain problems. … more

Groundwater Regulation Would Threaten Michigan's Economy

Groundwater permits are unjustified by scientific evidence and would impede job creation for little or no environmental gain. … more

"Free Speech 1, MEA 0"

The Monroe Evening News calls the MEA's failed lawsuit against the Mackinac Center "a frivolous assault" on free speech. (pdf format) … more

AFL-CIO Says: Union Rules Hurt Us

A unit of the AFL-CIO cites high union labor costs as the reason it will not hold a convention at Detroit's Cobo Hall. … more

100,000 Public School Employees Near Deadline to Save $200

Teachers have until June 1 to avoid the MEA's automatic extra deductions from their paychecks. … more

Jobs Outsourcing: Beneficial Trade by Another Name

Outsourcing debate focuses on the visible loss of some U.S. jobs. The less visible benefit of outsourcing -- net job gains -- is seldom acknowledged.  … more

Wetlands Case Proves Need to Curtail Abuse

A Bay County property owner faces jail time in a wetlands case a federal judge has called "our system gone crazy."  … more

Back to Basics: State Tax Policy and Economic Development

Should states give special tax breaks to a few hand-picked businesses, or should they reduce tax burdens for all employers?  … more

Michigan Education Digest

This issue covers changes in teacher pension payments; superintendent salaries; trial of a former ISD official; college vouchers; and the cost of small classes. … more

Lawmakers Can Balance State Budget with Spending Cuts & Asset Sales

A Mackinac Center report shows how Michigan's $1.3 billion budget deficit could be closed with no tax increases.  … more

Detroit Medical Center Needs Private Turnaround

A former bankruptcy judge recommends privatization after the center lost $500 million in just six years. … more

Jobs, Outsourcing, and the Purpose of Businesses

If businesses could provide goods and services without hiring anyone at all, should they?  … more

Picturing Successful Government

Government should be as small as possible because it lacks the market-pricing mechanism needed to assure efficiency.  … more

Is Golf an Essential Government Service?

Losses incurred by municipal golf courses are routinely covered by unrelated parts of the budget. Auburn Hills actually used police funds to help build a new $1 million clubhouse.  … more

Michigan Education Digest

This issue covers MEAP test replacement; sale of school naming rights; Paige comments on 'No Child Left Behind'; and student loan regulation.  … more

Former Public School Employee Speaks Out

Union lawsuit against the Mackinac Center leaves questions in the mind of this letter writer.  … more

Suit Against Think Tank Leaves MEA Looking Defensive, Foolish

This Oakland Press editorial explains why the MEA may be keeping a low profile these days. … more

Legislature May Give Away $1.6 Billion 'Racino' Windfall

Lawmakers could wipe out the state's entire $1.3 billion budget deficit by auctioning gambling licenses instead of giving them away. … more

Earth Day or Doomsday?

Actual pollutant levels are a better measure of environmental quality than the number of government enforcement actions. … more

Principles of a Proper Tax System

These principles of sound taxation first put forward by economist Adam Smith were the subject of Jack McHugh's WWJ-TV interview in Detroit. … more

No More Czars, Please

Gov. Granholm has vetoed bills to create state-level "czars" while advocating a federal manufacturing czar. In the land of the free, czardom has become a bipartisan fetish. … more

"Not Yours to Give"

Disney's movie "The Alamo" is reintroducing Americans to a backwoodsman-turned-politician who gave a principled defense of limited government. … more

Good News from Korea, China and Vietnam

Liberty and free market ideas are gaining hold in Asian nations through think tanks and classic free market literature, especially the writings of Ludwig Von Mises and F.A. Hayek.  … more

Time to Take Another Look at Teacher Certification

Many highly qualified individuals with real life working world experience are denied access to Michigan's public school classrooms by the state's teacher certification requirements. … more

Seven Principles for Selecting a New DNR Director

On Monday, April 19, Michigan's Natural Resources Commission will interview candidates for the new director of the Department of Natural Resources. … more

Remembering a Classic, and the Man Who Wrote It

"Self Help," by Samuel Smiles, published in 1859, was the precursor of today's self-help literature. It inspired a generation to the virtues of honesty, integrity and personal excellence. … more

Victory for Free Speech Against MEA Lawsuit

The MEA's window to appeal its loss in court is closing. Lawrence Reed and Joseph Lehman explain the significance of the union's unsuccessful attempt to suppress the Mackinac Center's freedom of speech. … more

Sinful Sin Taxes

Gov. Jennifer Granholm's plan to hike cigarette taxes by 75 cents a pack to $2.00 will not only kill Michigan jobs -- it will increase cigarette smuggling and might even help fund terrorism. … more

Of Architecture, Philosophy and Individualism: The Alden B. Dow Story

April 10 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of Michigan's most famous and accomplished sons, Architect Alden B. Dow.  … more

Laptops for Sixth Graders?

The Grand Rapids Board of Education has accepted a state grant to hand out laptop computers to sixth graders, despite a lack of evidence that computers do anything to improve student achievement. … more

Drain Code Bill Harnesses Unconstrained Tax Power to a New Environmental Mission

A bill being considered by the Michigan Senate would expand even further the nearly unlimited authority of county drain comissioners to impose heavy new property taxes.  … more

MEA Wastes Dues

A letter to the editor of the Lansing State Journal questions whether the MEA wasted member dues on a frivolous lawsuit. … more

Michigan on the Wrong Track?

After giving her administration a good start with responsible budget cuts to reign in the state deficit, Gov. Granholm is moving in the wrong direction on several fronts. … more

Has Proposal A Been a Success?

A story on WOOD-TV 8 in Grand Rapids examines whether Michigan's Proposal A has lowered property taxes and increased school funding. … more

Threat to Jobs Is Politicians, Not "Outsourcing"

Michigan and the United States "insource" a lot more jobs than they "outsource." … more

China's Break from Serfdom

Nobel Prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek, whose free-market ideas form much of the Mackinac Center's intellectual underpinnings, published his seminal work, "The Road to Serfdom" 60 years ago. Today, the book is helping China recover from communism.  … more

Proposed Landfill Fee Really a Tax

The Legislature is considering a new fee on landfill trash to curtail Canadian waste disposal in Michigan. The fee is bad policy and may even be unconstitutional.  … more

Spurring Economic Growth and Jobs in Michigan

Systemic, across-the-board economic reforms will be necessary if Michigan wishes to increase its economic competitiveness. … more

$1.2 Billion State Deficit Is Really Only $327.4 Million

Gov. Granholm and state lawmakers are citing a "billion-dollar deficit" to justify raising taxes. But the deficit is mostly smoke and mirrors. … more

A Museum You Don't Want to Miss

In formerly communist Prague, Czech Republic, "above McDonald's and across from Bennetton," as its advertisement ironically says, is the Museum of Communism. … more

Court Rejects MEA Lawsuit Against Mackinac Center

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 that the Mackinac Center was within its First Amendment rights to quote MEA President Lu Battaglieri after he told reporters he admired what the Mackinac Center has done.  … more

Brownfield Redevelopment and "Cool Cities"

Gov. Granholm's plan to target specific, favored areas with tax credits for "brownfield" redevelopment will suffer the same fate as all government attempts to direct economic activity.  … more

Why a Statewide Property Tax Increase Is a Bad Idea

Even though Michigan's public schools are not spending their money wisely, the state's entire political and educational establishments are clamoring for a tax increase. … more

Political Correctness Suppresses Education

One of the nation's leading educational researchers says a mindless orthodoxy is being imposed on our children's textbooks and tests. … more

Entrepreneur's Son Gives Government an Economics Lesson

There's no telling precisely how small businesses will react to tax cuts. What you can be sure of is that their reaction will be good for the economy.  … more

Remembering a Classic, and the Man Who Wrote It

"Self Help," by Samuel Smiles, published in 1859, was the precursor of today's self-help literature. It inspired a generation to the virtues of honesty, integrity and personal excellence. … more

Seven Environmental Challenges Facing Michigan

It's time for Michigan to allow private property owners and the market to have a bigger hand in keeping our environment healthy.  … more

Guarantee of
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.