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EPA's Bad Science Targets Michigan Farmers

Federal anti-pollution edicts based on faulty data could threaten the state's agriculture industry.

Deauthorization: The Union Workers' Trump Card

Private-sector workers can hold an unresponsive union accountable by voting to withhold their dues payments.

MEGA: Real Jobs or Smoke and Mirrors?

One state program takes credit for 74,000 jobs, but a closer look reveals its claims to be greatly exaggerated.

Shattering the Myth of the "Glass Ceiling"

Women are said to be held back from positions of corporate leadership by a discriminatory "glass ceiling," but factors other than sex discrimination help account for fewer female executives compared to males.

Economic Freedom, Not Government Favoritism, Brings Jobs to States

Companies base their decisions about where to create new jobs not on government programs that offer them selective subsidies or tax credits, but on the overall freedom of a state's business climate.

Why Punish Senior Citizens Who Want to Keep Working?

The Social Security "earnings test" discourages senior citizens from working past age 65 by decreasing their benefits if they do. Why do this at a time when employers are desperately seeking experienced workers?

Anti-Jitney Laws Take People for a Ride

Detroit and other cities that outlawed "jitneys"-low-fare transportation service providers-at the urging of higher-priced taxi and bus companies should repeal their bans and let jitneys legally serve poor citizens who need a ride.

The Crash of 1929: Could It Happen Again?

The 1929 stock market crash and subsequent Great Depression caused widespread suffering in Michigan. Could such economic disaster happen again today? Only if government pursues the disastrous policies of the 1920s and 1930s.

School Choice Has Been Tried — And It Works!

Allowing parents greater freedom to choose the schools their children attend will lead to educational disaster, claim defenders of the status quo. But examples of school choice in modern-day and historical America show otherwise.

Time to Repeal the Politically Correct Toilet Law

In 1992, Congress banned the standard 3.5-gallon toilet in favor of "water-saving" 1.6-gallon toilets. Seven years later, it is clear the new toilets not only don't flush properly-they don't even save water.

Organ Donation: Saving Lives through Incentives

Medical demand for transplantable organs in Michigan far exceeds the number of people willing to donate them. An incentive-based system that encouraged more people to donate organs could save thousands of lives each year.

A Ferry Tale of Two Cities: Lansing and Muskegon

Does it make sense for Michigan taxpayers to subsidize a Wisconsin-based Lake Michigan ferry business so that it can unfairly compete with an unsubsidized, Michigan-based, ferry service?

Michigan's Prevailing Wage Act: Will Common Sense Prevail?

Michigan's Prevailing Wage Act mandates that artificially high union wages be paid for all state-financed construction projects. Repealing the law would save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in unnecessary construction costs each year.

Economic Freedom among the States: How Does Michigan Compare?

A recent report ranked the 50 states according to how much economic freedom each government allows its citizens to enjoy. How free are Michigan citizens?

Privatization Brought Ecorse, Michigan, Back from Bankruptcy

Michigan's first-ever bankrupt city government was a tragic example of mismanagement and unaccountability, but privatization of numerous city services put the Detroit suburb of Ecorse back on the path to financial health.

"Jobless Ph.D. for Hire: Will Teach Students Who Cannot Afford College"

Permitting Ph. D.s to provide instruction for college credit in independent, off-campus settings would ease the glut of underemployed doctoral degree holders and make higher education much more accessible to poorer students.

One of the Century's Major Books: Kirk's The Roots of American Order

Michiganian Russell Kirk's quarter-century-old book, The Roots of American Order, has become one of the most important explanations of America's unique rise to greatness and warnings of the erosion of her freedom and prosperity.

School Employee Unions Oppose School Choice to Protect Their Turf

A study of union membership rates among Michigan public, charter, and private, school teachers reveals that unions have powerful political and financial incentives to oppose school choice proposals.

Ernest Hemingway and Art Subsidies: A Farewell to Alms

The one-hundredth anniversary of famous author and former Michigan resident Ernest Hemingway's birth serves to remind us that art is too important to depend on government.

Cost of Government Goes Up While Costs of Living Go Down

Government taxes, spending, and regulation gobble up roughly half of the average American's earnings. Lawmakers must work to rein in Leviathan's out-of-control growth.

Picking Winners and Losers with Tax Credits is Unnecessary and Unfair

The state's four-year-old MEGA program discriminates against many businesses when it doles out tax credits to a few favored companies. The legislature should eliminate this costly, unfair, and ineffective program.

Detroit's Reform School Board Would Be Wise to Privatize

Detroit should join Chicago, Philadelphia, and other big-city school districts to contract with private firms to save money and improve the quality of such support functions as busing, custodial, and food service.

Disability Discrimination: Good Intentions Can Produce Bad Law

Laws intended to help disabled people find and keep jobs have encouraged anyone with a personal problem to file frivolous lawsuits in the hopes of winning huge cash awards from employers.

Are High School Economics Textbooks Reliable?

A review of the 16 most-used high school economics textbooks in Michigan reveals that many contain gross errors and dangerous myths about the market economy and the proper role of government.

Taxation by Litigation Threatens Every American Business

The Clinton administration that is contemplating a new lawsuit against tobacco companies is the same administration that has denied veterans' requests for coverage of diseases thought to be related to smoking.

No Taxation Without Respiration!

Over time, eliminating the estate tax would actually increase federal revenues above current levels.

What's Wrong with the Progressive Income Tax?

President Franklin Roosevelt proposed a 99.5 percent marginal tax rate on all incomes over $100,000. After that proposal failed, Roosevelt issued an executive order to tax all income over $25,000 at the astonishing rate of 100 percent.

"Living Wage" Law Is Public Policy at Its Worst

The people who push these cockamamie ideas never seem to ask why any employer would hire someone at $8.23 if that person's services are only valued in the marketplace at, say, $5.00.

State "Teacher Bill of Rights" Is Needed

Schools are not factories, teachers are not line workers, and students are not widgets. The factory model of labor relations-with its legalized compulsion funded by forced dues-has failed Michigan's teachers as well as its students.

Which Is Better: Cutting Income Tax Rates or Increasing the Exemption?

In addition to lowering your current taxes, cutting the tax rate would also reduce the penalty on earning additional income. Lansing would now take only 3.9 percent of it.

Detroit Admits Problem; Now It's Time to Deal with It

Mayor Archer has blamed his troubles on the fact that he "inherited a dysfunctional city." But after six years at the helm, he can no longer avoid either the tough decisions that must be made or the responsibility for not making them.

Note to Michigan Municipalities: A Tax Is Not a User Fee

The Michigan Supreme Court affirmed that the voters intended to place limits on taxes and governmental expansion.

Intuition and Good Intentions Are Not Enough to Help Disadvantaged Workers

As counterintuitive as it may seem, the minimum wage harms the very workers whom we want to help-unskilled, inexperienced teenage workers and disadvantaged minorities.

Worried to Death

Do not call your Congressman and ask him to make the world safer; call your airline instead and book a flight. These days, on an airplane is probably the safest place you can be.

Saginaw Children's Zoo: From Privation to Privatization

"Before privatization," said one zoo worker, "we were just basically trying to keep the animals alive. Now we can really care for them."

Can Mayors Solve School Problems?

A recent Detroit Free Press poll showed that 77 percent of Detroit parents support amending the constitution to allow for tax credits for tuition at nonpublic schools. Parents seem to be saying they would rather pick their children's school than pick the politicians who run the schools.

George Washington's Unimpeachable Character

Congress advised General Washington to feed his troops by having them steal food from farmers. Instead, he promised to hang any soldier caught stealing food. Such theft might have solved a short-term problem, but it failed Washington's character test.

Must Teachers Be Certified to Be Qualified?

Second only to parental involvement, teacher quality dramatically affects student academic success. By relaxing certification requirements, Michigan can actually increase the quality and energy of teachers in the profession

Working Works in State-Based Welfare Reform

One important lesson from the many reforms in Wisconsin, Michigan, and elsewhere is that those programs that emphasize work placement over training have better results.

Black History Month: The Crusade of Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth criticized those blacks who were living "off the govern-ment." "Get off the government and take care of [your]selves" she urged them.

IMF Bailouts: Foreign Aid or Recovery Delayed?

The International Monetary Fund 's efforts to bail out failing foreign economies with American tax dollars harm not only those economies but also Michigan workers whose jobs depend on exported goods.

School Elections Should Be in November

Irregular school board and bond election dates confuse voters, decrease turnout, and enable narrow special interests to unduly influence school governance. Consolidating all school elections on the Novermber ballot would alleviate these problems.

A Grand (Hotel) Lesson in Free Enterprise

The International Monetary Fund 's efforts to bail out failing foreign economies with American tax dollars harm not only thoseeconomies but also Michigan workers whose jobs depend on exported goods.

Trying to Define a Foreign-Made Car Will Drive You Crazy

The UAW and other unions routinely urge Michiganians to "buy American," but the growth of the global economy has forever blurred the lines between "foreign made" autos and those "made in the USA."

Paycheck Protection: First Aid for Michigan Workers

A law known as "paycheck protection" would shield Michigan employees' union dues from unauthorized expenditures and allow the state's nearly one million union workers to keep more of what they earn.

Could Charter Schools Mean Fewer Educational Choices?

Charter schools offer parents greater choices, but they shouldn't be the only available choice. Tuition tax credits would help offset the unfair competitive advantage that tax-funded charter schools enjoy over tuition-charging nongovernment schools.

Russell Alger and the Spanish-American War

One hundred years ago, former Detroit lumber baron and U. S. Secretary of War Russell Alger signed the treaty ending the Spanish-American War. Historians agree that Alger made a much better businessman than bureaucrat.

School Choice for Whom: Government or Parents?

Bridgeport parents Ed and Becky Kohlhoff wanted their four-year-old son Justin to join his brother in neighboring Birch Run's schools, but their home district refused, preferring to keep Justin-and the state subsidy for educating him.

Global Warming: Mother Nature Is Still In Charge

Global warming alarmists want to impose burdensome energy restrictions on U. S. citizens, but scientists disagree over the role human use of fossil fuels plays in the earth's climatic changes.

Better Debt Policy Can Help Schools Earn Voters' Trust

Michigan school districts that want to pass bond issues for needed building projects often face skeptical voters. Adoption of sound guidelines for debt issuance would help assure voters that their money would be wisely spent.

Class Size Reduction is Expensive

The latest silver bullet to cure what ails failing government schools would bankrupt the state treasury and swell the ranks of teacher unions, but do little to improve student performance.

Politics before Progress: How to Kill Regulatory Improvement

Michigan Senator Carl Levin's efforts to improve the way federal regulations are issued have been stymied by political wrangling. State and local regulatory reform could help Levin's sensible reforms pass at the federal level.

Using Sugar to Wash Down the Pork: The Joe Fordney Story

One hundred years ago, Saginaw Representative Joe Fordney was first elected to the U. S. House of Representatives. His 24-year career shows how protectionist tariffs hurt everyone-even the people they're supposed to help.

Food Irradiation: Markets or Mandates?

Astronauts and people in 28 countries eat food made safer by exposure to small doses of bacteria-killing radiation. Why aren't more American consumers able to take advantage of this potentially life-saving technology?

School Boards Should Fix Problems in Collective Bargaining

Politicians promise to help children learn better by passing new laws and spending more money, but Michigan school districts could improve education themselves simply by negotiating better contracts with teacher unions.

What Indianapolis Can Teach Michigan

Detroit and other Michigan municipalities can learn a powerful lesson from the city of Indianapolis, which has used free-market competition to improve the quality of over seventy-five government services and dramatically slash costs to taxpayers.

The Civil Rights Issue of the ’90s

Nostalgia for the 1960s civil rights movement runs strong in the 1990s, and polls show that Michiganians believe that government recognition of parents' right to choose their children's schools is today's civil rights struggle.

Billy Durant and the Founding of General Motors

Billy Durant wouldn't let his daughter ride in a car because he thought they were too dangerous. So he took advantage of Michigan's free-market business climate to found General Motors and make safer cars himself, ninety years ago.

In Wake of Daimler-Chrysler Merger, Michigan Needs Labor Law Reform

Competition for jobs among states and other countries is heavy in the global marketplace, but Michigan's labor market is burdened by a policy of compulsory unionism that damages the state's long-term potential for prosperity and economic growth.

Teachers and School Choice

Increased competition among schools would not only improve education for all children, it would reward dedicated teachers who excel in the classroom with good benefits and greater job satisfaction.

The Injustice of Environmental Justice

The Environmental Protection Agency's latest edict on "environmental justice" discriminates against poor minorities by discouraging industries from bringing good-paying new jobs to the disadvantaged residents of inner city neighborhoods.

Take Out a Contract on Detroit Metro

A nationwide survey of air travelers recently ranked Detroit Metro Airport dead last in quality and convenience. Contracting out the airport's management to a private firm-as other cities have done-could solve Metro's woes.

Dow Didn’t Sue Powerful Competitors; He Outsmarted Them

Government interventionists argue that antitrust laws are needed to protect the public from Microsoft, but a lesson from Michigan history shows that brainpower and some old-fashioned free-market competition can break even the most powerful cartels.

Home School Heroes

Children whose parents take an active role in their educations are among the most academically successful. The thousands of Michigan parents who teach their children at home should be applauded for demonstrating the ultimate in parental involvement.

Market-Oriented Approach to Farmland Preservation Best Bet for Michigan

Over ninety percent of Michigan is rural, yet environmental alarmists want government to restrict the use of land to curb the loss of farm acreage, creating a solution far worse than the perceived problem.

Teachers Deserve Good Benefits; Schools Deserve To Know What They Cost

School districts being manipulated by union-controlled health insurance providers should look instead to less expensive alternatives to providing their teachers with high quality health care benefits.

Time to Change Michigan's Revenue Sharing Program

Each year, over one billion dollars in state sales taxes are divided among Michigan municipalities. Why are cities with the highest tax rates rewarded with the lion's share?

Do Dollars Equal Scholars?

Eighty-three percent of all spending on public education goes toward employee salaries and benefits, but over half of Michigan school employees never set foot in a classroom.

Minimum Wage Causes Maximum Pain

The minimum wage hurts low-skilled workers by pricing them out of the labor market. Sixty years ago, New England textile workers afraid of Southern competition were counting on just this fact.

Government's Hidden Bite out of Michiganians' Take-Home Pay

Hidden payroll taxes are one reason Michigan ranks twelfth from the bottom nationwide in take-home pay. Workers should be informed of the full cost that government imposes on their pocketbooks.

Property Doesn't Commit Crimes, People Do

American citizens are presumed innocent until proven guilty, but when government accuses their property of criminal activity, it's a whole new ball game.

Michigan to Washington: Privatize Social Security or Let Us Opt Out!

The looming bankruptcy of Social Security threatens the retirement security of millions of workers. Michigan lawmakers should call on Congress to either privatize the system or let states design alternate plans.

Greenhouse Gas Reduction Is No Simple Task

President Clinton is telling Americans they must reduce carbon dioxide emissions to comply with the unratified Kyoto treaty, but he has yet to say how this will be done without sacrificing jobs.

Pay Up, Michigan: Using Tax Credits to Subsidize the Sunbelt

President Clinton wants to curb "greenhouse gas" emissions by encouraging solar energy use through tax credits. Those in sunny states would enjoy blue skies and lower taxes as Michiganians went without both.

A Tax Credit Is Not a Voucher!

Opponents of school choice for Michigan's children are misrepresenting tuition tax credits in order to recycle their shopworn anti-voucher arguments.

Senator Arthur Vandenberg: A Profile in Courage

While 1930s Washington was abuzz with interventionist bureaucrats and politicians, Michigan Senator Arthur Vandenberg championed the free-market economy and was rewarded-by being elected to four terms.

Urban Sprawl: Michigan's Bogeyman of the 1990s?

What policy makers term "urban sprawl" may actually be a sign of social progress. Lowering tax burdens, not restricting growth, is how to lure people back to our cities.

Union Workers: Know What Your Rights and Options Are!

Recent court decisions have limited the ability of labor unions to compel membership and dues money for their political causes. Rank-and-file members should be aware of their rights.

Michigan Resists the New Deal

The sixty-fifth anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt's inauguration is a good time to recall how two prominent Michigan businessmen upheld free market competition against the government's massive economic intervention.

The Rediscovery of Booker T. Washington: Lessons for Black History Month

Booker T. Washington's formula for entrepreneurial success-strong character and an "I can do it" attitude-is undergoing a revival among black inner city students.

Berry Gordy and Motown Records: Lessons for Black History Month

The story of how Berry Gordy borrowed $800 and built his Detroit home-based business into a multimillion-dollar music empire is a powerful reminder of what black entrepreneurs can achieve in America.

School Choice: 1998 is the Year!

More than 65 percent of Michigan citizens favor allowing parents to choose the schools their children attend. Which political party will have the courage to take the lead on educational choice initiatives?

Consumers Should Be Wary of "Securitization"

Electricity deregulation lowers prices by offering consumers a choice of service providers. But Michigan's big monopoly utilities want you to pay them for the privilege of shopping around.

Applying the "Kaitlyn Test" to Recycling

An inquisitive four-year-old tests the proposition that recycling is always the best way to preserve precious resources.

Governor Groesbeck: Road Builder and Defender of School Choice

In the 1920s, a daring three-term Michigan governor took bold stands against unfair taxation and the Ku Klux Klan's anti-school-choice efforts.

When the Telegraph Came to Michigan

Even more than e-mail today, the telegraph changed the way Americans communicated with each other in 1847. Michigan's first telegraph line, from Detroit to Ypsilanti, was a free market triumph.

Boosting Savings and Growth through a Flat Tax

Savings are the "seed corn" of the economy. A flat tax would improve the savings rate and promote economic growth.

Tickets As Taxes: A Cautionary Tale from California

As voters resist tax increases, municipalities turn to increased traffic fines for funding. Should exorbitant fines be used to fund local government?

Beware the Global Warming Treaty

The existence of man-made global warming is highly uncertain, but the climate treaty's potential negative effects on Michigan's economy are clear.

Charter Schools: A Reform That Deserves Support

An audit that found flaws in Michigan charter schools suggests the need for more education reform, not less.

Changing Michigan's Constitution: An Idea Whose Time has Come

Other states are racing past Michigan in improving education by giving parents freedom to choose schools. A Universal Tuition Tax Credit and constitutional amendment can keep Michigan from lagging behind.

Are the Merits of Wind Power Overblown?

Wind power farms are noisy, land intensive, unsightly, hazardous to birds, and uneconomical despite massive government subsidies. Do their benefits outweigh these costs?

Private Sector Schools Serve the Difficult-to-Educate

Nonpublic schools and organizations are helping thousands of students with special needs, laying bare the myth that private schools only "skim the cream" and leave the toughest kids to the public schools.

Term Limits Are Constitutional

Michigan citizens voted in favor of term limits in 1992 but lawsuits may derail the referendum-if the courts choose to recraft the state's constitution.

Michigan and the Fantastic Federal Fur Failure

In 1822 the nation's first experiment with a federally subsidized industry-the Michigan fur trade-showed how entrepreneurs can succeed where government fails.

Michigan Cigarette Policy Ignores Lessons of History

Since Michigan tripled its cigarette tax in 1994, smuggling has become big business in the state, exactly as it was before in Britain and Canada. Michigan can learn from their history.

Why Does the Michigan House Want Schools to Waste Money?

Outsourcing noninstructional duties saves money and improves quality for schools and taxpayers, but the Michigan House of Representatives voted to make doing this more difficult and costly for the state's school districts.

Corn Flakes and Greatness

From "dim-witted" dropout to one of the century's wealthiest Americans, Will Kellogg reminds us that personal and economic freedom encourage great achievement from even the most unlikely individuals.

Union Racial Discrimination is Alive and Well

Unions have a long history of petitioning government for special protections from competitive nonunion industries. The result has been a kind of institutionalized racism.

Let's Swap the Income Tax for a Sales Tax

The onerous federal income tax system is anti-jobs, anti-savings, and anti-worker. Replacing the IRS with a national sales tax would be an improvement.