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Does Charity Begin at Home-or with Government?

President Bush's funding for private religious charities initiative could undercut the effectiveness and compassionate missions of those charities.

"Urban Sprawl" for Dummies?

Public officials must address the problems that cause people to move from cities to suburbs in the first place: high taxes, burdensome regulations, and poor schools.

Michigan Senator James Couzens's Wrongheaded Opposition to Tax Cuts

Michigan Sen. James Couzens opposed President Coolidge's growth-promoting tax cuts in the 1920s. Proven wrong, he lost the support of citizens and his party. Will Michigan's senators make the same mistake today?

Voluntary Unionism Puts Interests of Students and Teachers First

Unions routinely thwart needed education reforms by spending large amounts of cash coerced from unwitting teachers. If unions had to voluntarily earn teachers' support, they would spend more time serving their members instead of playing politics.

Parents Should Have More Options When Schools Commit Academic Fraud

Too many Michigan school districts are committing academic fraud by failing to deliver the quality education they promise. If parents could choose the schools their children attend, fraudulent schools would have to improve or lose customers.

Prohibition-Era Law Is Example of Nanny State at Its Worst

It's time to repeal an outdated state liquor law that does nothing but give monopoly status to in-state producers, raise prices, and limit choices for responsible Michigan consumers.

A Mixed Message to Children: Say "No" to Drugs, but "Yes" to Ritalin?

Every school day, millions of American children are given a powerful drug called "Ritalin" to combat a disorder known as ADHD. But many experts say Ritalin is not the way to help children learn better.

New Year's Resolutions for Michigan's New Legislature

Here are seven New Year's resolutions Michigan's new Legislature can make to ensure greater prosperity and opportunity for all citizens.

Does Giving Government Unlimited Power Really Protect the Environment

The Michigan Legislature recently gave the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality carte blanche to impose staggering fines on property owners for alleged environmental violations. This is a terrible idea given the department's past abuses.

Failed E-Business Deal Underscores Futility of State Economic Planning

Leaders of government "economic development" programs attempt to guess which companies will thrive and create new jobs. But the complexities of the marketplace make it impossible to predict which firms succeed and which fail.

Teacher's Case Shows How Union Workers Can Re-Direct Dues to Charity

A Livonia teacher recently won his bid to send his union dues to charity as an alternative to funding the union's political and moral agenda, which he opposes on religious grounds.

Coming to Terms with Term Limits

Contrary to what some observers are arguing, it is far too soon to declare Michigan's experience with term limits for public officials a failure.

Schools Should Stand Behind Their Diplomas

More districts should follow the example of Grand Rapids-area Rockford Public Schools, which guarantees that its graduates possess basic skills by requiring them to pass competency tests before receiving their diplomas.

The "Patients' Bill of Rights": Get Two Lawyers and Call Me in the Morning

The "patients' bill of rights" being debated in Congress would only encourage costly litigation but do little to improve Americans' access to affordable, quality health care and insurance.

As Values Collapse, Government Grows

Promoting ethical values such as honesty, respect, and personal responsibility ought to be a top priority for freedom-loving Americans. The alternative is a nanny state that passes ever more laws to restrain citizens' poor behavior.

Government Should Withdraw from Attempts to Ban ATM Fees

Government bans on unpopular automatic teller machine transaction fees could deprive consumers of the valued convenience of accessing their bank accounts virtually anywhere.

The Quackery of Equality

"Free people are not equal and equal people are not free" is a profound truth that politicians forget when they try to force economic equality through punitive taxes and regulations.

Opposing Judicial Philosophies Court Michigan Voters

Voters must decide in November if they want a state Supreme Court that interprets the law as passed by the Legislature or one that "makes" law by imposing its justices' policy preferences on Michigan citizens.

A Connecticut Yankee in Bankruptcy Court

Mark Twain handled his bankruptcy at age 59 the old-fashioned way: He worked hard and repaid his debts in full. Today, too many Americans have found a new way: file for bankruptcy and avoid financial responsibility.

When "Local Control" Means Control of the Locals

A proposed amendment to the state constitution, billed as a way to limit state interference in local affairs, would actually lead to costly litigation and greater government intrusion in the lives and businesses of Michigan citizens.

Hypocrisy on School Choice Sends Wrong Message to Kids

Many Michigan legislators and public school teachers choose to send their children to private schools, raising the question: Why shouldn't school choice be extended to all the state's citizens?

Policy Makers Must Remember That Incentives Matter

People respond in powerful ways to economic incentives and disincentives. Public officials must keep this in mind when crafting or revising tax, welfare and other policies that either reward or punish responsible behavior.

Separating State from Church

"Separation of church and state" watchdogs applaud when courts keep religion out of public schools, but where are they when the state presumes to dictate the curricula of religious seminaries?

European Observations on U.S. Public Education

American education would improve if the monopolistic U.S. government school system imitated the many European countries that encourage a competitive educational marketplace between both public and private schools.

Judging How Justices Are Chosen In Michigan

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is the proper response to those who wish to change the way Michigan Supreme Court justices are selected.

Time Is Money: Give Michigan Workers a Flexible "Comp-Time" Law

Rigid, Depression-era labor laws should be revised to allow more flexible employment arrangements for America's changing workforce, which increasingly includes women with young children.

Counting the Cost of Prescription Drug Price Controls

Those who argue that price controls will make prescription drugs more affordable ignore lessons from Canada and other countries, where such measures have led to poorer quality health care.

What I Learned in Public School

Choice and competition are the keys to improving education for all students, says a successful businessman and elected public school board member.

Student Fees: Freedom of Speech or Forced Subsidy?

College student groups should earn their financial support voluntarily, rather than relying on mandatory "student fees" coerced from the whole student body.

Toward a Civil Society

(The Mackinac Center first published a version of this commentary in July 1996. As the 2000 presidential election approaches, its re-issuance is especially timely.)

Mandatory Reporting of Medical Errors: Sound Prescription or Policy Malpractice?

Proposed new government mandates on doctors and hospitals could actually harm patients by making care less accessible.

A Reform Idea for Detroit Schools: Charter Them!

Converting Detroit's public schools into charter schools would free parents, students, teachers, and principals from a paralyzing education bureaucracy and allow them to take responsibility for making their particular school work.

Progress vs. Pessimism: Environment Doing Better Than Most Realize

The most recent government data on the environment show that, far from being threatened, Michigan's environment has steadily improved since the first Earth Day 30 years ago.

Limited School Choice Is Improving Michigan Public Schools

Competition for students within the public education system is prompting many public schools to embrace reforms that they might not otherwise have tried.

Keep the Internet Tax-Free!

A plan supported by Governor John Engler would invade consumers' privacy and severely hamper the fledgling Internet economy that is leading the way to growth and prosperity.

The Census: Inquiring Minds Want to Know . . . A Lot

The U.S. constitution requires the federal government to conduct a national head count every 10 years, but many Americans are wondering why census officials ask so many nosy questions.

Are Americans Tax Slaves to the Government?

Americans today are in desperate need of relief from punishing taxes, which consume an incredible 38 percent of the average family's gross income.

Socialized Medicine Leaves a Bad Taste in Patients' Mouths

Canada's socialized health-care system ensures that everything-including hospital food-becomes fodder for political battles. U. S. policy makers should resist calls to further socialize America's market-oriented health system.

Don't Raid Michigan's Unemployment Fund to Pay for Family Leave

President Clinton wants states to use unemployment compensation to provide paid leave for parents staying home to care for their newborn children. Lawmakers should instead allow workers to negotiate "comp-time" arrangements to handle family needs.

Farm Worker Legal Services Encourage Law of Unintended Consequences

Two government-funded programs aimed at helping Michigan farm workers are actually working together to make it harder for poor laborers to find housing.

Lower Taxes, Less Regulation Key to Twenty-First Century Economy

For Michigan to compete in the twenty-first century economy, policy makers must continue to cut taxes and remove regulatory barriers to the information-based businesses of the present and future.

Government "Economic Development" Handouts Rob Peter to Pay Paul

One state program is using tax dollars to lure an out-of-state firm to Michigan to compete with third-generation, family-owned Koegel Meats of Flint.

Fear of Segregation Is No Argument against School Choice

Private schools, which parents choose, offer more racially integrated student populations than do public schools, where students are assigned based on where they live.

Where Are the Omelettes?

Freedom brings the greatest human happiness and prosperity, as the bloody history of Russia, Cambodia, and other centrally planned societies shows.

Celebrating Free Enterprise and One Hundred Years of Kodak Moments

With the introduction of his Kodak Brownie camera in 1900, entrepreneurial genius George Eastman put photography within reach of average Americans for the first time.

Land Trusts: A Private Solution to Protect Michigan Farmland

Dozens of private land trusts are helping to preserve 70,000 acres of Michigan wetlands, wildlife habitats, scenic views, forests, and farmland.

Defeated Watershed Proposal Would Have Drained Taxpayers' Wallets

Michigan property owners should beware of continuing efforts to raise their taxes in the name of "watershed management."

Leave Internet Access to the Market

Government "forced access" proposals would stifle innovation, limit competition, and raise prices in the growing market for Internet access.

What Is Real Compassion?

The original meaning of the word emphasizes personal involvement with the needy, not impersonal and ineffective government programs.

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.