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The Government’s Plan to Fix Wall Street Will Do More Harm

Washington’s response to the mortgage crisis ignored the very government policies that created the problem.

American Greetings Says Hello to More Incentives

Policymakers are quick to issue press releases about how many jobs will be created when they give discriminatory favors to certain businesses. Where are the press releases when those predictions fall short?

Public Education: Time for Change Based on the Merits

A merit-pay program for Michigan's public schools would reward teachers based on student achievement, rather than longevity and advanced degrees.

Michigan Supreme Court Decision Limits Agency Powers

In practice, this ruling will make it more difficult to achieve policy change through executive fiat because the courts will engage in a meaningful review to determine whether the agency action was permitted by the Legislature’s statute.

Smart Growth Is Neither

Implementation of smart growth policies frequently results in the loss of private property rights.

State Checkbook Still Missing From Internet

The decision to “show Michigan the money” — or not — is a matter of priorities, not resources.

Eight Ballot Measures We Would Like to See

Michigan lawmakers are unlikely to pass any of these eight ideas into law any time soon, even though a case can be made that each one would help turn around Michigan’s moribund economy. Sometimes the people have to act when legislators won’t.

Survey 2008: School Service Privatization Grows Again

Done right, school support service privatization can save money and improve services — even if the privatization option is used solely to persuade public employee bargaining units to sharpen their pencils.

UVL Data, Migration Study Underscore Michigan Troubles

The Mackinac Center has long recommended a “Big Three” of tide-turning policies: Eliminate the Michigan Business Tax, prohibit employers from mandating union membership as a condition of employment and rein in oppressive regulation.

Do Unions Really Need the Money?

But even with this very generous definition of what constitutes a representation expense, our review of union financial reports reveals that a typical union local in Michigan spends little more than half of its money on representing its members.

Amending the State Constitution for Partisan Advantage?

To the extent that this document is what it appears to be, it leaves little doubt that the Reform Michigan Government Now ballot initiative is a partisan power play.

Great Lakes Directional Drilling Ban Should Be Lifted

Our leaders in Washington and Lansing should encourage the responsible development of our abundant oil and natural gas reserves by eliminating arbitrary road blocks such as the ban on directional drilling.

Keep Michigan’s Successful Electricity Competition Law

Given a state unemployment rate of more than 8.5 percent, Michigan cannot afford to abandon competition in electricity supply for the benefit of its two biggest utilities.

Changing Direction. Are We There Yet?

Michigan’s political establishment has a proven ability to postpone the hard work of truly reforming and downsizing state government.

Latest Economic Numbers Confirm Failure of Status Quo

The question that apologists for the status quo have failed to answer is why investors and job providers increasingly avoid Michigan.

Privatization Rolls on Despite Rhetorical Opposition (Viewpoint on Public Issues)

Since our last survey, media reports from around the state indicate that additional schools are using privatization to yield savings.

Greenhouse Gas Accord Will Further Damage Michigan's Economy

Michigan’s future energy policy is far too important to leave to the behind-closed-doors manipulation of government officials.

The Worst Legislature in Michigan History

These failed policies will see Michigan taxpayers actually writing huge checks to politically “sexy” enterprises favored by political elites.

Free Trade a Boon to Michigan’s Ailing Economy

The competitors who are eating Michigan’s lunch aren’t Mexico or Canada, but other states where investors and entrepreneurs enjoy lower tax rates, better labor climates and fewer excessive and unreasonable regulations.

MEDC Rejects Development Bird-in-the-Hand

As long as the MEDC exists it should do one thing noticeably well to help facilitate job creation: advance right-to-work legislation.

As Time Goes By

Maybe it’s time that we as taxpayers and voters query candidates for public office less on what they will do if elected and more on what they won’t do.

My Union Dues Paid For That?

Because unionized workers in Michigan generally cannot withhold their dues without putting their jobs at risk, those employees and their dues are particularly vulnerable to waste, fraud and abuse.

Putting the University’s Cart Before the Economy’s Horse

Clearly, if one is looking for the cause of economic growth or decline, the relative number of bachelor’s degrees in a state is a weak indicator at best..

State Should Adopt Health Savings Accounts

Across Michigan, institutions such as businesses, government, nonprofit organizations and unions are or have attempted to revise the way they address skyrocketing health care costs.

The Wizard of Oz Has No Clothes

The answer is simple: Politicians don’t care about job creation as much as they care about the perception of it.

Bad Science Fuels Environmental Policies

The obvious disconnect between environmental policy and science is hardly surprising given the political pressure to act on climate change.

Can Michigan Attract Knowledge-Based Industries?

True reform can only come when we first secure a more rewarding business climate as the source of all new job creation.

Beach Affront

We should not happily accept the erosion of one of the pillars of our society — the right to own property, which necessarily includes the power to exclude.

The Unvarnished State of the State

Someone once said that politicians will do the right thing, but only after they have exhausted every other option. Michigan may have reached that point.

Automotive Production Expands – Elsewhere

Michigan has carefully built and continues to maintain a culture of decline that is overtly hostile to outsiders and fearful of their competition.

Let the Union Buyer Beware

On average, union employees spent 41 percent of their time representing members, according to their own report.

Michigan Needs Worker Freedom of Choice

Ultimately, voluntary unionism is not anti-union. It is decisively pro-worker. It encourages unions to be more accountable and responsible.

Migration Trends, Indiana Campaign Show Need for Policy Changes in Michigan

Indeed, if the state’s economic landscape doesn’t change soon it may need to change its official motto from “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you” to “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, move to Florida.”

State Budget Is Business as Usual

The just-concluded budget saga demonstrates that the real priority is to preserve the government status quo, quite literally at all costs.

School Boards Empowered to Save Insurance Dollars

The real answer to reducing the cost of health care for teachers and school employees is for school boards to utilize the advantages of competition.

Water Agreement Not Right for Michigan

It would be bad for this state and bad for the Great Lakes were Michigan lawmakers to ratify Annex 2001 in order to placate the other Great Lakes states.

Supreme Court Decision Complicated, But Correct

Ironically, the Michigan Supreme Court is being criticized for a “political” result when that result comes from applying the long-recognized standing doctrine that is meant to keep the courts from engaging in political activity.

Budget Savings Can Replace Recent Tax Hikes

In the short term the need is for immediate savings to allow repeal of the destructive $1.3 billion tax increase adopted as the capstone to this year’s state budget debacle.

Tax Increases Harmful to Michigan’s Health

The budget agreement that passed in the dead of night on Oct. 1 will raise taxes on Michigan residents, businesses and service providers to the tune of $1.358 billion for the coming fiscal year.

Governor and Legislature Appear Unable To Judge Priorities

Sadly, however, the Legislature has ignored judicial recommendations that would promote meaningful long-term change.

The Love of Power vs. the Power of Love

I resolve to learn more about the principles of love and liberty so that I can convincingly defend them against the encroachments of power.

Sweet Home Alabama

If the trend of the last five years holds, a majority of right-to-work states will have higher per capita disposable incomes than Michigan by 2010, at which point Michigan will be the real right-to-work-for-less state.

The Not So Good Life

By the standards of the last century, air quality today is excellent — notwithstanding the claims of environmental activists.

Used-Car Dealer Regulations Kill Small Businesses

This law authorized a regulatory taking of the livelihoods of hundreds of small business owners who can no longer use their property in the way they had done previously.

Survey 2007: School Support Service Privatization Rises

Competitive contracting continues to be a popular management tool for improving services and for saving money, which can then be reinvested into classrooms. All indications are that it will continue to grow in popularity.

Workers’ Paychecks Need Further Protection

In order to prevent misuse of nonmembers’ money, right-to-work laws or an end to compulsory unionism is needed. Paycheck protection laws are better than nothing, but they certainly are not optimal public policy.

School Support Service Privatization: Getting it Right

Done right, privatization remains an effective management tool for school districts across Michigan.

Time to Reform Teacher Compensation in Michigan

Under the system defended by unions, an excellent teacher, whose students demonstrate significant learning gains, earns the same amount as the teacher who clocks in and then checks out.

Intermediate School Districts: Innovations that are Past Their Prime

A far more substantive reform would be for Michigan to join a cadre of states that provide specialized services by giving parents greater options.

Michigan Needs Environmental Science Board

The MESB consists of an executive director and nine members appointed by the governor. The board has no paid staff and all members serve voluntarily.

Money Well Spent?

When government employees are involved, there is a case to be made that agency fee is something that ends up costing taxpayers.

What Really Determines School District Spending?

Professional advancement in a bureaucracy comes from increasing one’s budget, not from achieving more with less as it does in the private sector.

The Tax Hiker's Shopping Guide

If state lawmakers and the governor consider Michiganians more than mere cash cows, they should stop reading the “Tax Hiker’s Shopping Guide”...

Say YES! to Right to Work!

Today’s labor markets look nothing like those of 75 years ago.

Court Ignored Sound Science in Carbon Dioxide Ruling

Consensus is actually antithetical to the proper conduct of scientific inquiry.

Paying More to Protect the Privileged

The dirty little secret is that Michigan pays too much for the government it gets.

Fast-Growth States Have Lower Taxes — Not More Grads

The 10 states with the lowest tax burdens are growing at an average rate of 2.6 percent — almost double Michigan’s growth rate and 34 percent faster than the national average.

Taken For a Ride

It bears noting that any park or other amusement facility that must rely on tax dollars, rather than private investment, is by definition not viable and thus unworthy of taxpayer support.

Bigger Taxes or Smaller Government — Let the People Decide

Many suspect that the political establishment has elevated government and school employees into a privileged class to be protected at all costs from economic changes that affect everyone else.

State of Michigan: Best-Run or Best-Protected?

The yearly cost of policing the state’s highways could be reduced by more than $60 million by switching state police patrol duties to local sheriff’s deputies.

Renaissance Center Brought No Renaissance

Despite all of the glitz and lofty rhetoric associated with major building projects, people continue to flee the city.

Road Funding: Time for a New Direction

The best option for finding new road money is for the Legislature and governor to get serious about spending a lot less on things in state government that are far less important.

Doom for Whom?

When politicians and their lieutenants prophesy doom if spending is cut, it pays to question what they define as “doom,” and for whom.

Legislators: Listen to Detroit Parents

Parents and community groups must play an important role in increasing support for charter schools.

A Movie No One Should Miss

Wilberforce endured and overcame every obstacle imaginable, including ill health, death threats, derision from his colleagues and defeats almost too numerous to count.

The People’s Power: Defending Representative Government

The arguments both for and against the OFIS rulings indicate that these decisions involve a genuine policy debate — something that should, under the Michigan Constitution, be decided in the Legislature.

From Worst to First: The Best Business Tax is None

For every dollar that employers must pay in corporate taxes to the state, they have one dollar less to disburse as wages to workers or as investment in growth.

Stop Punishing Michigan Investors

What’s unique about state business taxes is the manner in which they target a narrow and highly desirable group — persons willing to invest in the state.

Property Owners Hit by Regulatory Takings Deserve Compensation

Regulatory takings occur when the government enacts a regulation or law that diminishes the value of the property but does not take ownership.

Time to Get Serious About School Employee Pension Reform

Private-sector employers are realizing defined-benefit systems like MPSERS do not serve today’s aging and mobile workforce.

The AFL-CIO Picks the U.N. Over the Constitution

How we interpret our labor law, or any other law for that matter, is for us to decide, not a foreign dictator or world body.

Bold Changes Needed in State Permitting

Even if a company or individual can bear the cost, they may not be able to afford the time delays associated with agency demands for new data.

Public Bans on Private Actions

Liberty is more often eaten away one small bite at a time than by one big gulp.

Arrest Pontiac Police Costs

Reforms need to be made that take Pontiac beyond the point of simply keeping its fiscal head above water.

How the Late Great Detroit Statler Lives On

“Life is service. The one who progresses is the one who gives his fellow human beings a little more, a little better service.”

Environmental Doomsayers Can Breathe Easy

This welcome news is yet another reminder that prognosticators of eco-catastrophe are off the mark.

Get Rid of the Labels

Ideas worth supporting are those that are tested and found worthwhile because they produce results, not rhetoric.

An Unhealthy Policy Prescription

Romney’s plan will allegedly perform the miracle of covering all of Massachusetts’ 555,000 or so uninsured residents without new taxes or a government takeover of health care.

Survey 2006: School Outsourcing Continues to Grow

With savings of this magnitude, it is not surprising that superintendents are investigating privatization.

Jazzing Up Civil Society

Gretchen Valade improved Detroit’s cultural scene with her gift, just as tens of thousands of Americans have done with their own contributions to countless organizations and enterprises.

Michigan Dithers on Medicaid Estate Recovery

Michigan is the only state that has not implemented estate recovery in some form, despite the fact that the requirement has been on the books for more than 10 years.

Seeking Opportunity

There are many reasons people move, but it is probably easiest to sum all of them up with one word: opportunity.

Why Did Free Gas Create a Public Stink? (Viewpoint on Public Issues)

With gas so plentiful and cheap, some Ohioans came to think it shouldn’t have a cost at all.

Why Colorado Matters to Michigan

Similarly, the K-16 Proposal in Michigan would cost more and accomplish less than its advocates are sharing with Michigan taxpayers.

The Property Rights Fight Since Kelo

While federal reform efforts have stalled, Michigan residents are well placed to prevent the government from cynically confiscating the property where they live, work and worship.

Character Makes the Difference (Viewpoint on Public Issues)

You can’t choose your height or race or many other physical traits, but you fine tune your character every time you decide right from wrong and what you personally are going to do about it.

Federal-Mogul Lesson: Get Rid of the SBT and Fix the Fundamentals

What will it take before government understands that gimmicks don’t work, and that only fixing the fundamentals of our business climate through broad-based reforms will?

Double-but-Nothing: More Education Spending Hasn't Yielded Better Results

Our educational institutions usually do not create incentives for instructional improvement by rewarding effective teachers and sanctioning ineffective ones.

Making State Agencies More Accountable

Agencies and commissions have become so used to having free reign that they broadly construe their mission even where the Legislature only gives a particular agency or commission a limited task.

42 Days of Infamy? (Viewpoint on Public Issues)

We can speculate, however, that a worker might sign a public petition at the request of a friend, but vote another way when protected by privacy.

Great Values, Great Movies

In “The Patriot,”Mel Gibson’s character expresses skepticism about the American Revolution with a question that seems especially poignant today, when our own homegrown government takes more of our earnings in taxes than George III ever imagined possible: “Why should I trade one tyrant 3000 miles away for 3000 tyrants one mile away?"

Averaging Our Way to Average (Viewpoint on Public Issues)

The proposed mandate would substantially weaken the limited influence parents have in the current system.

An Alternative to Green Orthodoxy (Viewpoint on Public Issues)

There is an alternative to embracing Green Orthodoxy. Few states or school districts have actually evaluated the veracity and impartiality of environmental curricula.

How To Replace the SBT With Nothing (Viewpoint on Public Issues)

Here’s how to save $1.855 billion by injecting competition into government operations, providing public employee fringe benefits comparable to (generous) Private-sector plans and eliminating non-core functions.

Protecting Art From Politicians

Using tax dollars to fund artistic pursuits is not in the best interest of Michigan citizens.

A Supreme Court To Be Proud Of

The Supreme Court under Chief Justice Melville W. Fuller did not stretch either the law or the Constitution beyond what the words said. When the justices found law to be in conflict with the Constitution, they usually sided with the latter, because liberty under the rule of law was their highest priority.