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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.

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.

A Free Market in Electricity: Will Michigan Get It Right?

With Michigan on the verge of embracing choice in the electricity market, one big question remains. Will competition be killed in its cradle, or will consumers realize the benefits of a free market?

A Grand Rapids Success: Helping the Homeless Help Themselves

Goverment antipoverty programs can provide a check, but not the incentive and nurturing to change a life. Mel Trotter Ministries is an example of how the poor are better helped by private charities.

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.

Tocqueville and the Michigan Mosquito

Vicious insects and their wetlands habitat once threatened to make Detroit the "Malaria City" instead of the "Motor City." Does today's wetlands policy balance human health and economic needs?

Does Michigan Tax Itself Enough for Roads?

A federal "level of effort" test would return money to states based on state tax and spending levels. States with high taxes and wasteful spending would be rewarded most.

Road Reforms Are Critical to Michigan's Infrastructure

Michigan's rough roads need more than money. The governor's plan would use existing funds more effectively, but the proposed gas tax increase should be offset with other tax cuts.

Joe Louis vs. the IRS

The heavyweight champion's toughest opponent was not a boxer; it was the IRS. Louis' tragic story shows why we should replace the current income tax with a low, flat rate.

Competition is Coming to the Electric Power Business

Electric power deregulation is a world wide trend. Industry lore has it that rate payers demanded monopolistic utilities, but the reality is that utilities themselves lobbied for special monopoly protection.

The Difference Between a Fire and a Flood

The North Dakota flood of 1997 and the great Michigan fire of 1881 inspired vastly different forms of generosity: one based on politics and the other founded in compassion.

Michigan Should Enforce the Rights of Workers

Most union workers are unaware that they can not be forced to pay for their unions' political, social, and ideological activities. The state should help workers understand their rights.

Herbert Dow, the Monopoly Breaker

A spirited Michigan entrepreneur finds himself in an international trade war. He fights back with his own resources instead of asking for government help.

Lessons from Down Under

We can learn from how the Kiwis "down under" restored economic growth and productivity after decades of failed statist policies in New Zealand.

Temporary Workers and Pushbutton Unionism

Thousands of temporary workers choose not to join unions. Should the law force them to do so? The answer may wipe out a nearly $1 billion Michigan industry.

EPA Rules Are Bad News for Michigan

Proposed federal rules on air particles too small to measure would restrict millions of citizens' use of cars, lawn mowers, fireplaces, and even backyard barbecues.

What Segregation Did to the Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers paid a heavy price for resisting racial integration in the 1950s. Market competition, not quotas, eventually drove the team to add talented black players.

Flatten the Tax Before It Flattens Us

Simplifying the tax code to require a single, flat rate would charge the economy with billions of dollars in productivity now wasted on tax paperwork.

Getting Our Money's Worth in Reading Instruction

Educational fads have failed to improve reading skills in over twenty years. Instead of increasing subsidies to the status quo, the current budget could be spent on more fruitful teaching methods.

Property Rights Protect the Environment Better Than Politics

Some environmental groups are protecting thousands of acres of natural treasures not by lobbying for more regulations, but by buying the land they want to preserve.

650-Lifer Punishment Is a Crime

Michigan's harsh "650-Lifer" drug law is costing the state a fortune, restricting judges' discretion, and targeting many of the wrong offenders.

Minimum Wage Hurts Jobless by Making Work Illegal

No legislature can make a person worth more by making it illegal for job providers to that worker less.

Welfare Reform Means More Private Sector Involvement

Can government reform welfare alone? Private business has the unique ability to match people with jobs, and private charity can provide the personal, compassionate attention government programs lack.

Bridging the Racial Gap

A great Michigan builder benefited from a company that cared more about his skills than his skin color. Fred Pelham's experience illustrates the wisdom of rising above racial discrimination.

Lakefront Property Owners Told, "Look, But Don't Touch."

Property rights on the Upper Peninsula's Crooked Lake are being regulated away by the lake's biggest land owner-the federal government. This takes the "bad neighbor" concept to a new low.

A Case Where Local is Better than State

"Friend of the Court" is a county government function involved in administering child support payments. A congressional mandate may require this local government function to be centralized at the state level. Is this good policy?

What is Real Compassion?

Is it a mark of compassion to favor government aid programs for the poor? A look at the effectiveness of these programs and the traditional meaning of compassion help us tell the difference between those who just talk about compassion and those who actually practice it.

Let's Get the Facts Straight on Charter Schools

When charter school legislation was first introduced, critics charged that these relatively independent schools would be elitist, or even racist. Demographic statistics of actual charter school enrollment tell the real story.

Should Good Relations with Employees Be an Unfair Labor Practice?

Employee Involvement programs to improve the workplace are under attack from organized labor. Should it be illegal for workers and their companies to discuss topics of mutual interest?

An Economic Lesson From Michigan's Early History

Michigan's early state-run railroads and canals were such colossal failures that the citizens demanded a constitutional prohibition of state-run firms. This set the stage for Michigan's world-class lumber, carriage, and automobile industries.

High Time to Reverse Low Standards in Higher Education

Blame for the decline in literacy is often hung on K-12 public education. However, the university system that teaches the teachers should be made accountable for its contribution to K-12 educational problems.

What is Corporate Responsibility?

What does it mean for a firm to be a good corporate citizen? Are generous benefits, family-friendly policies, and earth-friendly practices enough, or are there also responsibilities to customers and shareholders?

Pre-Existing Condition Mandate is Unhealthy Policy

By forcing insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, a proposed Michigan law may make health insurance harder to get, not easier.