Features and Highlights

Price Fixing and Sotheby's

The recent verdict for criminal price-fixing against 76-year-old William Taubman, the former CEO of Sotheby's, has destabilized the world of high-priced auctions. But is he really a criminal? … more

Keep Cutting Taxes

Mackinac Center President Lawrence Reed urges the Michigan Legislature to not only keep on track with scheduled tax cuts but to enlarge them to help revive a flagging Michigan economy. … more

Is Christmas Inefficient?

A Mackinac Center adjunct scholar takes on one Scrooge economist's contention that gift-giving results in a waste of economic resources. Merry Christmas to all from the Mackinac Center staff! … more

Fighting Statism at the State Level

"Think of the Mackinac Center as one of the chief laboratories for the laboratories of democracy," writes Detroit News columnist Tom Bray in a recent article for OpinionJournal.com. … more

Tolerating Zero-Tolerance

Are so-called "zero-tolerance" policies effective in reducing violence in public schools? … more

Making the Case for Liberty

Making the case for liberty "stick" requires a patient, long-term commitment to ideas and principles over the instant gratification of short-term obsessions with elections and legislation. … more

Does the MEAP Measure Up?

Mackinac Center education experts analyze the effectiveness of the Michigan Education Assessment Program. … more

Michigan Schools in Debt

Despite regular funding increases since the passage of Proposal A, Michigan public schools' borrowing is at an all-time high. … more

Corn Flakes and Greatness

Learn the story of a great Michigan entrepreneur and philanthropist, Will Kellogg, in this classic Mackinac Center Viewpoint… more

The Myth of "Predatory Pricing"

Over 40 years ago, Professor John McGee demolished a popular economic myth-but the myth persists. … more

Grant Helps Launch New Initiative

The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation of Midland has awarded grants totaling $480,000 to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy to help launch a new public policy initiative and support the Center's general operations.  … more

"Proposal A+" for Michigan Schools

U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra joins the Mackinac Center in calling for greater school choice for Michigan parents in a recent Detroit News op-ed. … more

War and the Growth of Government

After a crisis, a government inflated with "emergency measures" almost never shrinks to its pre-crisis size. That's why the time to trim the bloated federal establishment is now… more

Charles Dickens and Child Labor

The miserable lot of children during the British Industrial Revolution is a major theme in many Dickens' classics including "A Christmas Carol." Was capitalism to blame for the misery? … more

Public Schools and Choice

How is Michigan's public schools-of-choice law working? Michigan Education Report investigates. … more

Lack of School Choice Is the Problem

A privatized school monopoly is no better than a government school monopoly. … more

State's Broadband Plan A Bad Idea

The state's plan to wire all of Michigan, including sparsely populated rural areas, with high-speed Internet cable is redundant at best and harmful to the telecommunications market at worst. … more

Preserving History at Bayonet Point

Preserving historic buildings is a noble endeavor, but it is best accomplished using voluntary means, not the coercion of government "historic district commissions." … more

The New Three Rs

The Mackinac Center's new director of science, environment, and technology policy explains the public schools' new Three Rs: Recycling, Rationing, and Regulation. … more

Church and Sprawl

The Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit has come out swinging against "urban sprawl," but church officials could better serve Michigan citizens by engaging in a balanced debate on the issue of growth management. … more

How Much "Should" Gas Cost?

Michigan Attorney General Jennifer Granholm's crusade against gas stations that raised their prices after Sept. 11 is the wrong solution in search of a nonexistent problem. … more

How to Save Detroit

Former Indianopolis Mayor and current Bush advisor Stephen Goldsmith has some advice for financially troubled cities like Detroit in this Michigan Privatization Report article from 1998. … more

War, Freedom, and Government

Find out how U.S. soldiers overcame the bureaucratic bungling of a Michigan native to win the Spanish-American War in this classic Mackinac Center Viewpoint… more

Profit Motives and Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to reflect on how free markets help to deliver the bounty. A Happy Thanksgiving to you from the staff of the Mackinac Center! … more

Gasoline and "Gouging"

Is Michigan Attorney General Jennifer Granholm right to pursue charges of "price gouging" against gas stations that raised prices in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks? … more

Charity and Society

Mackinac Center President Lawrence Reed analyzes what it means when entrepreneurs are admonished to "give something back to society." … more

Managing Public School Debt

The Detroit Free Press reports that Michigan has "one of the highest public school debts in the country." Three years ago, a Mackinac Center scholar recommended responsible borrowing practices for schools. … more

Four Principles and a Challenge

Mackinac Center President Lawrence Reed challenges State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Watkins to embrace fundamental reforms in public education at a recent charter school conference. … more

Tocqueville's Warning

Inspirational remarks about the role of state-based think tanks as champions of the free society. Remarks from the 9th annual State Policy Network meeting, held Oct. 6 in Boulder, Colo. … more

School Choice--in Michigan and Beyond

Should Oklahoma expand school choice for its students? Sooner State legislators ask Mackinac Center Director of Education Policy Matthew Brouillette for the facts. … more

A Tale of Two Privatizing Cities

Two mid-Michigan cities, Flint and Saginaw, are quietly using Mackinac Center recommendations from Michigan Privatization Report to improve the quality of municipal services in the face of budgetary challenges. … more

Charter Schools and Accountability

Director of Education Policy Matthew Brouillette explains at a recent conference of charter school officials how charter schools must serve two masters-government and the education marketplace. … more

Repeal the Prevailing Wage Act

Michigan's Prevailing Wage Act of 1965 is a costly piece of special-interest legislation that forces public schools to waste millions of dollars each year on inflated construction costs. … more

Government and Accountability


Michiganvotes.org, a new web site that posts plain-English descriptions of every bill, amendment, and vote, is enhancing state government's already admirable record of accountability. … more

Improving Public Schools

Over the past decade, the state of Michigan has laid some important groundwork for improving public education, but the continued lackluster performance of many schools argues the need for more choice and competition in the system. … more

Cruel and Unusual

State legislators should reform harsh "mandatory minimum" sentencing laws that dramatically lengthen prison sentences for many first-time drug offenders--while doing almost nothing to punish the "kingpins" the laws were supposed to target. … more

Proposal A and School Funding

An influential Lansing newsletter asks the Mackinac Center about school funding, Proposal A, and property taxes. … more

State Should Mind Its Own E-Business

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is moving forward with its plan to "wire" the state for high-speed, "broadband," Internet access. Mackinac Center scholars explain why this is a bad idea. … more

Supply and Demand and Labor

A student Asks the Economist to explain how the law of supply and demand functions in the labor market. … more

Teachers Declare Independence

Teachers at Island City Academy, an Eaton Rapids charter school, voted 12-1 Monday to oust the Michigan Education Association (MEA) as their collective bargaining agent.  … more

Seven Pillars of Sound Policy

Mackinac Center President Lawrence Reed's speech to the Economic Club of Detroit is a "dismal science" guide for policy makers. … more

Reining in Ritalin

The Mackinac Center looks at the powerful drug Ritalin, given to schoolchildren diagnosed with a controversial "disease," in this Oct. 28 Detroit News op-ed. … more

Land Use and State Planning

A Mackinac Center scholar explains the deficiencies inherent in government-directed land-use planning. … more

Tax Cuts: Tonic for an Ailing Economy

Oct. 23, 2001 testimony of Mackinac Center President Lawrence Reed before the Michigan House Commerce Committee and Senate Economic Development Committee. … more

Cut Taxes to Boost the Economy

The Michigan Legislature takes up a package of tax cuts recommended by the Mackinac Center and Chamber of Commerce. (President Reed's testimony will be available online tomorrow.) … more

Education Innovation

Parents of students who struggle with traditional school environments or teaching methods often believe the public sector is the only place where they can get help. But that is not the case.  … more

Public Schools and Local Control

A 25-year veteran school teacher explains why maintaining local control of schools is vital if public education is going to improve. … more

A "Maximum Wage" Law?

A student asks what would happen if the government imposed a "maximum wage" law to prevent employers from offering job applicants "too much" money. … more

Why Energy Conservation Fails

As the president and Congress debate energy policy, they would be wise to note that while conservation can have some benefits, reducing the total amount of energy we use isn't one of them.  … more

See How Your Legislators Vote

A recent Detroit News editorial encourages citizens to check out the Mackinac Center's MichiganVotes.org, a "good bit of public service and a convenient way for voters to stay informed" in the democratic process.  … more

Freedoms Worth Fighting For

Government has a distinct role in protecting us from foreign attacks, but it is private citizens working individually and together who create wealth, build institutions, help those in need, educate our children, and defend our liberties from all threats. … more

Education Tax Credits or Vouchers?

After Michigan and California voters last year rejected two school voucher proposals, education tax credits are becoming the preferred vehicle to expand educational opportunities for children across the country. … more

School Finance Reform in Michigan

A Mackinac Center education expert testifies before a Pennsylvania House of Representatives education reform committee on Michigan's experience with Proposal A. … more

Putting More Teachers in the Classroom

Nearly two million new teachers soon will be needed due to class-size reductions, teacher retirements, and enrollment increases. One way to avoid a shortage is to cut the needless government barriers that keep many qualified teachers out of the classroom. … more

Gold Reserves and the U.S. Dollar

A student Asks the Economist what would happen if the U.S. suddenly sold all of its gold reserves. … more

School Funding and Proposal A

Proposal A of 1994 dramatically altered the way government schools are funded in Michigan. Seven years later, debate continues over Proposal A's effects. … more

Motor City Needs a Tune-Up

In November, the citizens of Detroit will elect a new mayor. Regardless of who they choose for the job, residents should insist that their new executive consider privatization of assets and services as a way to give the Motor City the financial tune-up it desperately needs. … more

Making Social Security Secure

The best option for younger workers, minorities, and low-wage earners shortchanged by Social Security is a new system that allows them to reap more retirement income by privately investing their payroll taxes in stocks and bonds. … more

"Streamlining" the Sales Tax

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that state and local governments cannot force out-of-state companies to collect taxes for them. But some public officials aren't content with that ruling and are casting about for ways to further enhance already overflowing government revenue coffers. … more

Regulating Charter Schools

Will more government regulation bring greater accountability to charter schools? A recent study suggests the opposite: that less regulation leads to increased accountability and student achievement.  … more

MEA vs. Teacher Salaries

Many Michigan Education Association union employees are earning salaries more than twice as high as the average teacher, according to recently released U.S. Department of Labor data. … more

Unions and Right-to-Work

Last week, with support from Mackinac Center labor experts, Oklahoma became the 22nd state to adopt a law affirming every employee's right to work without being compelled to join a union. Read how Michigan can work toward this same goal of a free market in labor representation for its workers. … more

Freedom and Fear

A Mackinac Center scholar examines free-market responses to terrorism and security precautions against future attacks that do not constrict Americans' liberties. … more

Surveying Schools

Many Michigan districts report satisfaction with the benefits-including cost savings and improved quality-that they've received from privatizing food, janitorial, transportation, and other non-instructional services. … more

Home Education and Public Schools

Families who home-school their children still must pay taxes to fund public schools, so many parents are taking advantage of those schools' extensive extracurricular programs in music, athletics, and other areas. … more

Charity or Commercialism?

Corporate donations have become increasingly popular as a way for school districts to raise extra education dollars, but critics fear the "commercialization" of public schools. … more

Students Tackle Timely Issues

Media coverage of the Mackinac Center's 2001 High School Debate continues as hundreds of Michigan students gather to discuss sound methods for dealing with terrorism and the threat of weapons of mass destruction. … more

Killing the Economy?

The federal government's response to the September 11 attacks threatens to harm even more Americans as economic freedom is undermined. … more

Charter Schools: Lessons from Arizona

A former Michigan teacher's experience running a successful charter school in Arizona has valuable lessons to teach policy-makers. … more

Timely Workshops Help Students

Detroit News and Free Press coverage of the Mackinac Center's 14th Annual High School Debate Workshops highlight our expert speakers from New York and Washington, D.C. on the subjects of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. … more

Keep Your Government Accountable!

Log on to the Mackinac Center's new MichiganVotes.org to track legislators' votes on the issues that are important to you and make your voice heard. … more

A Time for Charity

The American spirit of charity is greater than any government program, as shown by the millions of people now volunteering to help the victims of violence in New York and Washington, DC. … more

Tax "Fairness" and the Internet

A National Governors' Association scheme to tax Internet commerce is neither "fair" nor economically sound. It could cost many jobs in Michigan and other states and lead to even worse things-including a new federal sales tax. … more

Economies of School

School districts that are too small to outsource can band their operations together to entice for-profit firms to perform non-instructional services. … more

Politicians and Protectionism

A student learns a lesson about the harmful economic effects of protectionism and the reason many politicians continue to embrace protectionist policies anyway. … more

School Story Missing Some Chapters

A recent PBS series purports to provide viewers with an unbiased history of public education in America. But with programs produced by a government-run network, Americans are treated to only the government's point of view. … more

Smile! You're on Traffic Camera!

More cities and states across America are adopting controversial traffic cameras in an attempt to crack down on speeders. Should Michigan join them? Mackinac Center scholars weighed the pros and cons in a 1995 Viewpoint… more

Drop the Microsoft Suit!

On Thursday, the Justice Department announced it would not seek a breakup of software firm Microsoft, which is being sued by the federal government and 18 states, including Michigan, for antitrust violations. A better decision would be to drop the suit altogether. … more

Savings Rates and Living Standards

How and why do high rates of saving lead to higher standards of living? A student Asks the Economist for the answer. … more

The High Cost of Higher Ed

A little-known provision of the new federal tax relief law makes affording college a bit easier for many Michigan families. … more

The Brawl over Sprawl

Lansing policy-makers should consider how and why local goverments and the free market are best equipped to deal with "sprawl" issues. … more

Those Lazy, Hazy Days of Labor

This Labor Day weekend, take a little time in between drinking beer and grilling burgers to learn about the past, present, and future of the labor movement. … more

Schools and Money

Some public school officials are blaming Proposal A for their present budget woes. But school revenues are up, raising the question, "Can districts better manage the resources they already have?" … more

Michigan and the Info Age

Michigan cities need to slash onerous taxes, cut burdensome regulations, and deliver high-quality services in order to attract the high-tech firms so essential to the new economy. … more

Public Schools and Success

Mackinac Center education experts respond to The Detroit News's question, "Do Michigan public schools succeed?" … more

Union Dues and Politics

Have you heard the one about the union that spent none of its members' dues on political campaigns and lobbying? National Review Online readers got the scoop in a recent Mackinac Center op-ed. … more

The Wonderful Washing-ton Machine

Hot on the heels of the government-mandated "low-flow" toilet comes the new, more "efficient" Washing-ton machine. … more

The Vanity Clause

The Washington Post likes the Mackinac Center's idea for funding transportation needs by auctioning off vanity plates to the highest bidder. (Scroll down to "All Is Vanity.") … more

Tax Relief for All, Not Some

While Gov. Engler stumps for tax "fairness," his administration continues to dole out special favors only to selected firms. In a recent Detroit Free Press article on state incentives for a single corporation, the Mackinac Center continues to champion real fairness: across-the-board tax relief for everyone. … more

Let Freedom Ring

Forty years ago this month, the Berlin Wall was erected to prevent refugees from communist brutality from escaping to the West and freedom. The Mackinac Center remembers in a National Review Online article. … more

The Great Depression Overseas

A student Asks the Economist why Germany suffered particularly badly during the Great Depression. … more

The Myth of Overpopulation

A new book pays tribute to the late Julian Simon, an economist who debunked fears about "overpopulation." Read this 1998 article on the subject from Mackinac Center President Lawrence Reed. … more

Running on Empty

By every measure of science or economics, the federal ethanol program is a costly failure. The Bush administration should pull the plug on this special-interest boondoggle. … more

Parental Involvement in Education

A teacher cites Mackinac Center research in her Detroit Free Press op-ed arguing for more parental involvement in education. … more

"Market Failure" and Fishing

Is "overfishing" in the Great Lakes an example of Keynesian market failure? The Economist, of Ask the Economist fame, answers. … more

Pioneers and Privatization

The history of Michigan reveals fascinating stories of how the state's settlers embraced private solutions to public problems following many failed government attempts. … more

Political Labels vs. Critical Thinking

"Liberal" and "conservative" are just two of the labels many people unthinkingly apply to the ideas of others. It's time to re-assess our terminology and develop a more nuanced and thoughtful way to frame the important issues of our time. … more

Tax Rebates and Spending

As millions of Americans receive checks from the IRS for a change, Detroit News columnist Laura Berman ponders the economic ramifications of tax rebates with help from a Mackinac Center policy analyst. … more

Giving (Tax) Credit Where Due

National Review Online recently highlighted the Mackinac Center's case for K-12 tuition tax credits over vouchers. … more

Unions and Financial Disclosure

Workers have a right to know exactly how their unions are spending their dues dollars. … more

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