Most of the ideas from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s population growth council report are either bad, ineffective or have little to do with population growth. But give credit where it is due: The council did have some good ideas on labor regulation laws.

The council recommended making it easier for people to come to Michigan and more likely to want to move here. It called for lawmakers to “conduct a full review of professional licensing requirements to identify which can be maintained, improved, updated or eliminated.” Lawmakers, the report said, should “remove unnecessary bureaucratic barriers to workforce entry without sacrificing workplace/consumer safety or the quality of work provided to Michiganders.”

The Biden administration is pushing extremely costly policies that encourage the adoption of Low Carbon Fuel Standards and force the production of electric vehicles under the guise of reducing carbon emissions. However, these measures would have a very small impact on emissions. Rather than improving the capabilities and efficiency of vehicles on our roads, these measures empty Americans’ pockets and upend consumer choice.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has pledged to do something about the costs that Michigan residents face. What she’s done doesn’t fit her comments, though. The governor hands out favors to some people and does nothing but raise taxes on everyone else.

Lawmakers approved $4.1 billion in selective business subsidies last year alone. That’s taking money from everyone to hand out to big corporations. The handouts are a response to the siren song all politicians hear that they need to do something about jobs. Instead of improving the business climate, they write checks to big business. It never works. The fastest-growing states aren’t the ones writing the biggest checks.

Brian Riedl has been trying to get the United States government to avoid catastrophic levels of debt for more than two decades. On this week’s Overton Window podcast, I speak with Reidl about his work on budget issues as a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He’s got a lot to say.

This article originally appeared in Fox News November 30 2023.

What good is a right if you don’t know you have it? What if you know about your right but are blocked from exercising it?

That’s the situation for millions of public workers. They have a constitutional right not to pay dues to government labor unions, yet unions are furiously trying to prevent workers from realizing it. The Supreme Court will decide any day whether to hear a case from Alaska that would ensure that all of America’s nearly 15 million teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other public workers have the information and opportunity they need to exercise their fundamental rights.

Michigan appears on a new list of anti-free speech states compiled by a prominent George Washington University law professor.

Johnathan Turley’s end-of-the-year list of “anti-free speech states,” includes states that signed an amicus brief supporting the Biden administration’s position in Missouri v. Biden, a case currently before the Supreme Court. The administration is defending its past actions to combat "harmful content" and "misleading information” on the internet, much of which relates to policies on COVID-19 lockdowns and vaccination mandates. Michigan made Turley’s “definitive list” by being one of those states.

An anonymous donor decided in 2005 to pay for college for everyone who graduated from Kalamazoo Public Schools, and Michigan lawmakers wanted to try to encourage more of that kind of generosity. They created Promise Zone Authorities back in 2008 to tap into local property tax revenue as a way of luring donors to give more for scholarship programs.

State and national teachers unions continued to lose members in 2023. The drop comes despite an increase in the number of public school employees in Michigan.

The NEA is down to 2.45 million active members in 2023. That’s a loss of more than 12,000 since 2022. The union has lost nearly 215,000 members since 2018, which is the year of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME. That decision found that every public employee across the country has the right to opt out of a labor union. Overall, that’s a membership loss of 8.1%.

The new report from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Growing Michigan Together Council offers up old ideas and asserts that they will be effective at reversing Michigan’s population decline. The report’s authors offer little evidence that these recommendations will succeed and ignore the mountain of evidence to the contrary.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently signed legislation mandating Michigan utilities use 100% alternative energy sources by 2040. This package of laws allocates billions of taxpayer dollars to various subsidies to accomplish the goal of eliminating traditional energy sources.

Student achievement continues to decline despite record spending on K-12 education. Yet the Growing Michigan Together Council believes Michigan officials can improve results — and increase the state’s population — by spending even more on public schools.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Growing Michigan Together Council released its final report last week with recommendations purportedly designed to help grow Michigan’s population. One thing the report doesn’t mention is how the governor’s pro-union actions this year make Michigan a less welcoming place for people who might consider moving in, as well as a harder place for people who already live here.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s council on population growth just published its official report. I don’t recommend it for reading. It was stitched together by a 27-member committee representing interest groups, bureaucrats and politicians who were informed by other interest groups, bureaucrats and consultants. The resulting groupthink seems to have squeezed out all creative or useful ideas.

The growing environmental costs of the forced transition to electric vehicles are becoming clear. Unfortunately, these costs are only the tip of the iceberg. The human costs of reworking global transportation options are proving to be much more worrisome.

After working on fiscal policy issues in a number of other states, Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation Research Director Sarah Curry was surprised to find that nobody in the Hawkeye State compiled a list of all the debts and taxes voters were being asked to approve. So, she set about to change that. I speak with her about that effort, and her drive to deliver more information to voters, for the Overton Window podcast.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Growing Michigan Together Council released a final report on ways the state could increase the state’s population Thursday. The report of the council’s findings mentions “funding” 54 times. It’s a good bet that means higher taxes to fund government solutions the council thinks are necessary.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and some lawmakers are targeting homeschoolers in response to recent reports of abuse in a foster care home. They seem to want homeschooling families to register with the government, but it is unclear how such a requirement would prevent child abuse.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is concerned about the size of Michigan’s population and has created a council to study the issue and generate policy recommendations. She’s not the first governor to worry, though. Fifty years ago, Gov. William Milliken wanted to create a similar commission. Back then, though, the problem wasn’t too few people, but too many. Today’s policymakers could learn from this previous episode of population anxiety.

A draft of the state population growth council’s recommendations report contains little that has a demonstrated effect of increasing state population. Lawmakers should look instead to the latest review of the economic research performed by Mackinac Center scholar Hannah Kling.

Michigan seems to be ending 2023 the way it began, with surprise news about Ford Motor Company’s $1.7 billion, taxpayer-subsidized deal to build an electric vehicle battery plant in Marshall. In February, the head of a local development authority predicted the plant would directly employ 2,500 people. In late November, Ford announced a scaled-down version that would employ just 1,700. That’s a 32% reduction – just in the number of promised jobs, not even jobs that may ultimately exist.

Electric vehicles are marketed as having negligible impacts on the planet when compared to standard cars. However, electric vehicles have significant environmental drawbacks. They are proving to have at least as much environmental impact as conventional vehicles due to the demands of power supply, manufacturing processes, materials extraction, and waste disposal.

Families across the country are gaining access to more education options, thanks to new laws that allow tax dollars to follow students to the school of their choice. But not in Michigan, where families are limited in their schooling options due to a discriminatory amendment in the state’s constitution.

It took three-and-a-half years and $96.4 million ($1.1 billion today) to build the Mackinac Bridge in the 1950s. It’s been five years since the $500 million plan to build the Great Lakes Tunnel was first approved, and we’re still waiting for ground to be broken.

Government overreach is threatening consumer choice in automobile markets. Through a mix of mandates and subsidies, state and federal governments are forcing electric vehicles into the market. At the same time, intrusive regulations are making it increasingly expensive to continue manufacturing vehicles with internal combustion engines.

The people of Michigan have one energy win they can look to as they go into the weekend.

This week has been a difficult one for Michigan residents as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed her extreme net-zero energy bills into law, leaving Michiganders with the dual specter of spiking electricity prices and impending electric grid instability.