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Conserve Gas: Scrap the Ethanol Program

Since the energy crunch of the 1970s, Congress has spent billions of dollars to promote the use of ethanol, a fuel made from corn, as an alternative to gasoline. Almost 30 years later, it is clear that ethanol mandates and subsidies have instead increased the use of gasoline. It's time for legislators to pull the plug on the wasteful and counter-productive ethanol program.

Let's Have Full Disclosure of Union Finances

Under the law, union workers have the right to request a refund of any dues their unions spend on non-workplace-related activities. Unfortunately, lax financial reporting requirements and government enforcement make it difficult for workers to exercise this right. It's time for legislators to hold unions to the same kind of public disclosure standards as corporations, so that workers can know where their dues are going.

Michigan Settlers vs. Malaria, or How the Midwest Was Won

A wet and rainy spring has translated into another Michigan summer full of swarming mosquitoes. But current residents have it much better than their 19th-century forebears did. Early generations of Michiganians suffered terribly from widespread outbreaks of malaria, until thousands of square miles of wetlands were drained to drastically reduce the habitat of the disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Why Not Allow a Market in Vanity Plates?

Michigan, like many other states, allows motorists to purchase for their vehicles "vanity" license plates that carry unique combinations of letters and numbers, such as "GO BLUE." Rather than charging a flat fee for each unique vanity plate, the state should auction plates off to the highest bidder, giving motorists who want the same plate a chance to buy it and raising additional revenues to fund state transportation needs.

Fighting Urban Blight or Trashing Property Rights?

A proposal to fight "urban blight" by enhancing the government's power to confiscate private property is a bad idea.

Navigating the Maze of Michigan's Sales Tax

Michigan's sales tax, first enacted in 1933 during the Great Depression, now contains some rather interesting, if not hard-to-explain, features.

Economic Growth Is Key to Environmental Quality

One of America's most enduring popular legends is that the environment is deteriorating and that economic growth is largely responsible. The facts suggest just the opposite.

Myths of the 1980s Distort Debate over Tax Cuts

The success of President Reagan's tax cuts of 1981-83 must be acknowledged so that debate over future tax cuts is informed by the facts.

An Anniversary All Michigan Citizens Can Celebrate

By an overwhelming vote of citizens, the 1851 Michigan Constitution took the state out of economic development and gave wide berth to free markets and entrepreneurship.

Save a Life, Buy an SUV

Federal government safety data from other studies indicate a lower fatality rate for SUVs than for cars.

It's Time to Give Overtaxed Americans a Break

Taxpayers might make louder demands for relief if they understood that as a percentage of total national income, federal taxes are higher than at any other time in U.S. history.

Future Detroit Mayor Could Learn from Motor City's Past

The mayor made every effort to ensure that Detroit's taxes remained as low as possible.

Market Holds Little Risk for Privatized Social Security Accounts

Declines in the stock market present a challenge to advocates of Social Security privatization, who want to let workers invest their payroll taxes in personal accounts holding stocks and corporate bonds.

Homework Requires Teamwork--Between Teachers and Parents

The evidence is strong that homework improves student achievement, especially when it is coupled with strong parental support.

Canadian Health-Care System Is No Model for Prescription Drug Reform

Canada's nationalized health care system, with heavy costs of its own, is no answer to high prescription drug prices.

Mental Health Parity Could Decrease Access to Affordable Insurance

Government health-care mandates to help the uninsured too often drive up premiums and place insurance out of reach of more people.

A Reminder to Politicians: It's Not Your Money!

As the economy slows, many lawmakers and pundits want to scale back the size of President Bush's proposed tax cuts and "moderate" the cuts already enacted by Gov. Engler and the Michigan Legislature. But politicians happily engaged in budget surplus spending binges ought to remember that those tax dollars rightfully belong back with the people who earned them.

Have Michigan Legislators Learned from California's Mistakes?

As price controls come off this month, Michigan consumers will begin paying the higher, market-level rates for natural gas that the rest of the country has already been paying. State legislators have wisely resisted calls to re-impose economically harmful, California-style price controls, and instead are wisely proposing tax credits and other market-friendly solutions.

Campaign Finance Reform Must Recognize Workers' Rights

As Congress considers various "campaign finance reform" proposals, it should incorporate into any final legislative package the rights of workers not to be forced into paying for their unions' political agendas. "Paycheck protection," which requires unions to obtain up-front written permission before spending dues on political activities, is one way to safeguard workers' rights.

State-Run Internet Job Boards: Wasteful, Redundant, and Unfair

Two state-subsidized Internet job banks not only compete unfairly with taxpaying, private-sector job recruitment firms, but also with each other. The state agencies that run these wasteful and redundant sites should take them down, and leave the business of bringing together workers and employers to private entrepreneurs.