An associate recently sent me a news release published by the Center for Biological Diversity in January 2022. According to the release, the number of oil and gas drilling permits approved by the Biden administration in its first year “stomps Trump’s by 34%.” My associate wondered how, or if, I had a response to the numbers quoted by the environmental group.

Michigan has yet to recover all the jobs it lost during the pandemic. Its recovery is the ninth-worst in the country, and 25 states now have more jobs than they did when the pandemic began. The incoming Democratic legislative majorities in Michigan will want to help the state add more jobs. One way they can help is to change the way state government taxes business expansion.

There have been underappreciated changes in the state economy. The decline in Michigan’s auto manufacturing jobs speaks for itself.

In 2021, Michigan had 175,745 motor vehicle and parts manufacturing jobs. This remains the most auto jobs of any state. But the number of auto jobs in Michigan is just 37.2% of what the state had at its peak.

Editorial cartoonists can say a lot with few words. And their work has been beloved by newspaper readers for decades. I speak with editorial cartoonist Henry Payne about how it works and the effect cartoons have on the policy debate for this week’s Overton Window podcast.

America’s choice to remain dependent on unreliable foreign energy is costing us. This is true at the pump, where gas prices are hovering around 60% higher than when President Biden took office. It’s also true on our monthly heating and electric bills. Early closures of reliable fossil and nuclear plants, paired with an increased reliance on Chinese-manufactured renewables, expose us to inclement weather and less reliable, more expensive electric service.

It used to be that environmentalists could make a lot of progress by outlawing pollution and hiring bureaucrats to monitor and regulate potential sources of environmental harms. But it’s time to give up this hammer and take up better and smaller tools for the job. At least, that is the idea Todd Myers — the environmental director at the Washington Policy Center — argues for in his new book, Time to Think Small.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has proposed a new, 96-page rule it claims will streamline Medicaid services. The rule’s practical effect, however, would be to make it harder to ensure that beneficiaries are even eligible for the program.

This article originally appeared in the Grand Rapids Business Journal October 15.

Grand Rapids-Wyoming ranks third among Michigan’s 14 metro areas in a new index of economic freedom, suggesting a bullish future for the region’s business and employment growth.

Michigan has fallen behind on jobs, and policymakers who want to help the state catch up have their work cut out for them.

Michigan has 335,900 fewer jobs than it did 22 years ago, a 7.2% employment decrease. Only three other states — Ohio, Connecticut, and Mississippi — have lost net jobs over this period. Ohio, the closest, lost 150,000 jobs.

Have Michigan administrators and lawmakers learned anything from the incredible public expense of subsidizing battery manufacturers in the 2000s? It doesn’t seem so. Administrators have recommended handing out almost 400 million taxpayer dollars to new battery plants.

Tennessee sent a clear message around the country yesterday: Worker freedom is a constitutional right that must be protected.

Voters approved Amendment 1 by a two to one margin, elevating right-to-work from law to a constitutionally protected right in Tennessee. The amendment swept all 95 counties in the Volunteer State.

This article originally appeared in The Hill October 15, 2022.

For centuries scholars have studied economic growth and development with an eye toward explaining what makes some places wealthy and others less so. We recently added to the large volume of studies by examining the relationship between economic freedom and labor market outcomes in the 383 local economies, or metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), in the United States.

In mid-September, President Joe Biden admitted the COVID-19 pandemic was over. But a few weeks later, Elizabeth Hertel, Michigan’s health director, indicated just the opposite. She didn’t directly contradict the president, but Hertel did unilaterally issue new “epidemic orders” in October related to COVID-19.

In response to her campaign opponent Tudor Dixon’s claim that students were kept out of schools, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asserted in the final gubernatorial debate that “kids were out for three months.” The governor later backtracked by saying that she was only referring to the closures mandated directly by her administration, but even this claim doesn’t hold water.

Some commentators think Michigan is suffering from what they term disinvestment. It sounds like they mean that state spending is down. A look at tax revenue and spending trends ought to unravel that yarn. State taxes collect more revenue and the state budget has gone up by a lot.

Voters are being inundated with appeals from the candidates running for election. They get mail, hear about them on radio, on television, on the internet, and often directly as candidates knock on doors. The points candidates make as they’re trying to win votes, and the stances they take in positioning themselves for victory, matter. I speak about issues and campaigns with Adrian Hemond, CEO and Chairman of Grassroots Midwest, a bipartisan political consulting firm, for this week’s Overton Window podcast.

This article originally appeared at Real Clear Policy September 2 2022. The first sentence has been modified.

We feel compelled to alert policymakers of a robust movement of manufacturing and other jobs and opportunities from Ohio to Michigan and Indiana, our home states.

If you’re looking for a different kind of horror movie this Halloween, a new documentary from the Freedom Fighters Project, “Stand with Marlena” might be just the thing. Rather than resorting to cheap thrills such as vampires or ghosts, “Stand with Marlena” features the monstrous problem of government infringement on the rights of small-business owners. Once the opening scene’s upbeat music ends, the movie tells a tale that should make all Americans shiver.

The Bon Secours Richmond Community Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, is a small 104-bed hospital in a low-income area, and it has an emergency room and psychiatric ward. Yet it earns up to $100 million in profits annually, more than any other hospital in Virginia. How? By taking advantage of a government drug discount program.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer demonstrated the skill of a long-serving politician Tuesday while pettifogging her role in the Line 5 stalemate.

“There has been no change to Line 5,” Whitmer said during her debate with challenger Tudor Dixon. “No change.”

This is precisely true. The necessary, long-delayed environmental improvements to Line 5 remain on hold. The governor’s quixotic campaign to shut down the pipeline is also stalled, facing opposition from federal, state and provincial authorities on both sides of the border and having lost two key rounds in federal court. Nor has the regime uncertainty over the future of the international pipeline improved during Whitmer’s tenure.

In her election advertisements, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer promotes her success at balancing the budget without raising taxes. Michigan has gone without tax increases during her tenure, but that wasn’t for lack of trying on Whitmer’s part.

In her first year of office, Whitmer proposed to increase fuel taxes by $2.5 billion in order to spend $1.9 billion on roads and the rest on her other priorities. She mocked legislators for proposing “phony political ‘fixes’ and half-measures,” by not increasing taxes. And she claimed that anything less than a tax increase that raised $2.5 billion tax was not serious.

A rise in contested school board races has led many in the media to start paying attention to these races.

The Detroit News reports:

Nonpartisan school board races across Michigan are anything but this election season. Super PAC money, attack ads and expensive social media campaigns have elevated once-quiet, historically independent races into emotional battlegrounds between parents and nonparents, conservatives and progressives and everyone in between with an opinion or agenda.

This article originally appeared at Townhall October 15, 2022.

When a teacher pays dues to a union, how is that money used? Probably not as the teacher expects.

Consider a timely news report out of Ohio. Teachers in the state’s Hilliard City Schools recently participated in an initiative backed by the National Education Association’s LGBTQ+ Caucus, which urged faculty to wear badges featuring the words “I’m Here.” The goal, according to the initiative’s website, is for teachers to “Show your students you’re a safe person.”

This article originally appeared in The Hill Sept. 17, 2022.&

President Biden’s plan to have taxpayers cover the cost of canceling student debt has come under fire from many sides, but there is one thing everybody can agree on: The cost of college has gotten out of hand.

This article originally appeared in The Hill September 3, 2022. 

Workers have been trying to unionize Starbucks, Amazon, news groups and automakers, sometimes successfully. This has caused commenters to wonder — again — whether this means unions in America are back.

Medicaid for all