The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is funded solely by freedom-loving individuals and organizations that find value in its conviction of free-market principles. For this issue of IMPACT, we hear from Josh Beckett.
MCPP: Tell us about your family.
Josh Beckett: My parents were married when they were 19 years old. They were high school sweethearts and knew they were meant to be together the rest of their lives.
They had nine children, which I am one of. My mom sacrificed her time and resources to homeschool all nine of us. She could have done many other things during that time, but she chose to instill a quality education into all of us. Homeschooling is not for everyone, but everyone should have the choice of how their children should be educated. Why limit the educational choices of anyone? Not all children are the same. So why would we think that one style fits all?
Our education focused on instilling character into all of us. Being honest, hardworking and always fighting for the little guy. That’s how we were taught. We were taught to be productive. All of us kids have a role in our family business and we work very well together.
MCPP: What do you do?
Beckett: We created Beckett Family rentals back in 2000. Eight years later, we established Beckett Investments, and then Beckett Property Management in 2010.
We purchased 150 homes. Some of them had been drug houses and abandoned for years. We took a chance on these crumbling homes with no guarantee of a return. Now, we have renovated them to where the new owners and the neighbors can be proud of them. There’s now a greater tax base from these homes for the city of Grand Rapids.
It could have been a huge failure, but that’s the risk free people take.
Our grandparents grew up here. Some of the areas have been neglected over the years. Our mission is to redeem them and make things better for everyone.
My mother works in collections for our rentals. She has such a sweet demeanor and works with those who are struggling to pay their bills. She knows our clients by name. My mother helps educate some of our clients regarding personal finance and how to make wise money choices.
MCPP: How did you find out about the Mackinac Center?
Beckett: We have been fighting the land bank in our area. We believe it’s wrong for the government to be able to seize property and then choose who is able to buy it. That’s favoritism. We believe an auction is fairer for everyone. If someone has the money and wants to purchase a property, why should government stand in the way and deny one person from purchasing property and choose who will purchase the property? The government should not act as a “middle-man.” People should be free to make voluntary choices on their own.
Many times, government keeps these properties vacant when there are buyers with cash in hand ready to do something with them.
The Mackinac Center advances liberty and opportunity for all people. It doesn’t pick favorites or winners and losers. It believes everyone should have the same opportunity to achieve success and works to keep government in its proper place.
We found out that the Mackinac Center had written quite a bit on land banks, and that’s how we got connected with the organization. We love the work the Mackinac Center does and how it supports the freedoms that made America great.
MCPP: If you could change something in Michigan, what would it be?
Beckett: I think the government has gotten too big on the local, state and federal level. Every time the government increases restrictions and regulations, things often get more expensive and that hurts the low- and middle-income folks that we help with housing. Oftentimes the intention of a bigger government policy seems noble, but the results tell another story.
I would change the size of government, making it much smaller. I believe government should protect us and provide basic functions, but it’s gotten out of control. It’s no wonder many citizens have little-to-no confidence in their elected leaders.
I feel that our rights are being eroded every day. I’m glad the Mackinac Center is out there fighting to restore them.