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The Golden Calf of Democracy

In spite of this year’s candidates singing interminable paeans to “our democracy,” America is thankfully not one and never has been. Our founders established a republic, modifying democracy considerably.

Mental Health Care Reform Should Put Patients First

State compliance requirements divert enormous resources toward monitoring the process followed by local mental health authorities, while doing little to measure whether patients in the system actually get better.

“Milking the Cow” of State Development Departments (Viewpoint on Public Issues)

We cannot lose sight of the fact that selective favors discriminate against those who do not receive them and distract policymakers from the broader business-climate reforms that would benefit everybody.

Did Anybody Really Know What Time It Was?

“In every city and town,” historian Stewart Holbrook wrote in 1947, “the multiplicity of time standards confused and ewildered passengers, shippers and railway employees. Too often, errors and mistakes turned out disastrously. …”

Why Socialized Health Care in Canada Is Not the Model to Follow

“[Canadian health care] produces inferior age-adjusted access to physicians and technology, produces longer waiting times, is less successful in preventing deaths from preventable causes and costs more than any of the other [health care] systems that have comparable objectives.” — The Fraser Institute of Vancouver, British Columbia

Going Broke by Degree

I have looked carefully at the relationship between economic growth and state spending on universities. I found a strong negative relationship — higher state spending equals lower rates of economic growth.

The Record of “Economic Development” Policy in Michigan

Between 1995 and 2003, Michigan finished 51st among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in employment growth.

When Politics Trumps Science

There’s no shortage of examples in which public policy has proved deadly when divorced from science.

When Will Conventional Public Schools Be as Accountable as Charters?

Charter schools were created with the idea that “performance will be rewarded and poor performance will be sanctioned.”

Re-regulating Electricity Could Shock Michigan’s Economy

A reversal in deregulation would restrict choice in electricity supply, harming rather than benefiting consumers and the businesses that employ them.

America’s Scientific Leadership Imperiled by Weakened Curricula

As Intel CEO Craig Barrett told Congress, “The sad truth is that the longer our students stay in our schools, the farther they fall behind in math and science.”

Eminent Domain Extremism Runs Into Judicial Brick Wall

Judge Susan Borman delivered a stinging rebuke to government officials who could not show a public necessity for taking over the family’s bridge.

Union Subjects Religious Objector to Modern-Day Inquisition

The MEA is alone among NEA state affiliates in requiring objecting teachers of faith to do anything more than write a letter outlining their basic beliefs.

Lansing Bureaucracy Threatens New Communications Technology

The Michigan Public Service Commission says it wants a “consistent regulatory policy.” Aiming for “consistency in policy usually means protecting special interests.

What Is Real Compassion?

When we expect the government to substitute for what we ourselves ought to do, we expect the impossible and end up with the intolerable.

Cut Train Subsidies to Re-connect Rural Michigan

Michigan taxpayers are shelling out almost $40 per rider on two Amtrak lines, on top of paid fares. No one has explained why it’s worth that much tax money to put a rider on a train instead of a bus or car.

Governor’s Water Scheme Is All Wet

The governor can’t credibly call for improving the business climate and making Michigan more competitive with other states, while at the same time pushing for overregulation.

Jobs Outsourcing: Beneficial Trade by Another Name

Outsourcing greatly lowers our cost of consumption, raises our standard of living tremendously and directly supports many jobs.

Real World Entrepreneur Gives Economics Lesson to Government Officials

Sometimes the most penetrating economic insights come from “real people” in the rough-and-tumble world of small business capitalism.

Wetlands Case Proves Need to Curtail Abuse

The Army Corps of Engineers came up with the “migratory molecule” rule, which says that even isolated wetlands fall under federal jurisdiction because there is a theoretical chance that a water molecule from any location may reach a navigable waterway.

Time to Take Another Look at Teacher Certification

“I was told that I could not be hired because my degree is from outside of the state, because I have no union affiliation, or because it would be ‘too difficult to confirm my credentials.’ These were different ‘reasons’ on different occasions,” related Robinson.

Remembering a Classic, and the Man Who Wrote It

To Smiles, the road to riches was not paved with over-reaching ambition, disregard for others, or cutting corners when it came to matters of truth. It didn’t mean securing favors from government at the expense of the competition.

Sinful Sin Taxes

“Because the profits are so fantastic, we’re now seeing drug traffickers, other criminal organizations, and even terrorists involved in tobacco smuggling.”

Why Are Mighigan's School Districts Borrowing More?

School districts tempted to dodge the demographic bullet with deluxe buildings and beggar-thy-neighbor policies should think twice. Instead, they should work on what really matters: making their education programs better.

Privatize the University of Michigan (Viewpoint on Public Issues)

Tuition hikes could actually help those students who truly need help — by enabling the school to offer greater outright gift aid and tuition reductions to students from low-income families, as is often the practice at private universities.

Michigan's Poor: How Much Do Numbers Alone Really Tell Us?

Government school monopolies that typically spend more on failure than most private schools spend on success are, in our inner cities especially, veritable poverty mills.

"Proposal A," 10 Years Later

If the 1994 amendment needs amending at all, it needs it in the form of changes that would increase options for parents and produce greater accountability in the ways that education dollars are spent.

Black History Month: Remembering Ralph Bunche

“There is,” he said, “a steady tendency toward polarization of the white and non-white peoples of the world which can lead to ultimate catastrophe for all.”

Alexander Graham Bell Meets George Eastman

The stumbling blocks for further innovation today come not from entrepreneurs, venture capitalists or the marketplace, but from the regulators.

Let Cintas Workers Make Up Their Own Minds

There is no need to pressure Cintas into a neutrality or card-check agreement. When a majority of Cintas workers are convinced they want a union, they will vote to have one.

Why School Districts Can’t Save on Health Care

The MEA and MESSA have set up an obstacle course that prevents public schools from introducing competition for teachers’ health care coverage or putting reasonable limits on the extent of care.

The Granholm Administration: A Review of Year One

The governor’s handling of a $200 million proposal by Plymouth philanthropist Robert Thompson to build 15 charter schools in Detroit was her biggest leadership failure of the year.

Land Preservation Double-Cross

A slim majority of county commissioners has so far refused to put the millage on the ballot, citing significant unanswered questions about its economic effects.

Lack of Transparency Complicates State Budget Challenge

No one — neither the governor, nor the legislative appropriations committees, nor the heads of 20 state departments can know where all the money is going.

Solving the Organ Donation Crisis Through Incentives

As LifeSharers grows, so does the incentive to become a registered donor: preferred access to an ever-larger pool of donated organs.

The Candy Police

When state governments can tell local school districts what to do with regard to a detail as tiny as whether or not students can buy candy on school grounds, it’s time to question whether local control has become a thing of the past.

How to Make Cities “Cool”

Our state and its city governments would do better to focus on their more important functions (schools, roads and public safety, for example), which are often carried out in ways that are anything but cool.

French Fried by the Welfare State

The French can advance civil society only when they get serious about replacing government programs with private initiative, when discussion gets beyond such infantile reasoning as, “If you want to cut government subsidies, you must be in favor of starving the elderly.”

Air Travel: A Hundred Years of Safety

Rather than scrimp on safety measures to gain short-term profits, airlines have found it even more in their interest to ensure the safety of their passengers. No one makes money by putting passengers in danger.

Eliminate Intermediate School Districts

ISDs have become bureaucracies in search of a mission — funded to the tune of $878 million per year in property taxes statewide — with abuses such as those at OISD as the result.

Don’t Blame Deregulation for the Blackout

In the end, the blackout was primarily the result of failures at the transmission level — the level where almost no deregulation has occurred.

Will Michigan Have its First Unionized Parochial High School?

The risk for parochial and other religious schools in Michigan is that their mission could be undermined by having to cater to union demands.

Michigan’s Primary Land-Use Plan a Failure

By every measure, Michigan remains largely a rural state. More than 18 million of Michigan’s 36 million acres is forestland, a share that has actually grown by 2 million acres in the past 20 years.

A Hard Pill for UAW Members to Swallow

Gettelfinger no longer can shield UAW members from competitive pressure. Instead, the UAW must prepare domestic autoworkers for competition.

Repeal Michigan’s Anti-Takeover Law

Anti-takeover laws … often promote the very harms they are supposed to prevent, while imposing great costs and delays on the shareholders and other stakeholders in the corporations.

Reverse Robin Hoods at the University of Michigan

It makes no sense to hold tuition below market rates if it doesn’t achieve the goal of giving a financial leg up to students from poorer families.

The Headlee Amendment: Serving Michigan for 25 Years

We could have what Colorado has: a Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which limits spending growth to population growth plus inflation and requires immediate refunds of surplus revenues above that limit.

The Driving-Point Tax: River of Money Could Corrupt Cops, Courts

Minor offenses aren’t overlooked. For example, a motorist unable to find his or her proof of insurance when requested by a police officer — even if they were, in fact, insured — would be assessed $300.

Lessons from the First Airplane

Just nine days after Langley’s failure, the Wrights took turns flying their carefully designed plane for as long as 59 seconds at Kitty Hawk. The craft cost them about $1,000. It cost American taxpayers nothing.