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Thomas M. Cooley and the Role of Government

Cooley was no advocate for special privileges and perks for the wealthy or politically well-connected, and he condemned the cozy, corrupt relationships that often tied powerful interests and government.

Friend of the Court Not Very Friendly (Viewpoint on Public Issues)

...when the same FOC office that failed to collect for Nancy Fox for a decade got wind of the private agency’s success, it mandated that Supportkids route the ex-husband’s payment through the FOC, at which time it would take its “processing fee.”

The Forgotten Robber Barons

To Plunkitt, taking from some and giving to others was a key ingredient in the recipe for reelection. He saw nothing wrong with it, morally or otherwise. Using the political machine to bestow benefits and buy votes came quite naturally to him.

Time to Stop Beating Up on Charter Schools

The dirty little secret of Michigan’s education establishment is that it doesn’t really believe the system (that is, itself) needs to be reformed. That’s why reformers devised the idea of charter schools, and vouchers and tax credits: as ways to impose reform from outside the system.

Where There's Smoke, Is There Asthma?

...we may waste vast sums of money on remote threats, while ignoring the real sources of environmental problems.

An Inspiration for All Time

The great day finally came on July 26, 1833, when Britain became the world’s first major power to unshackle an entire race within its jurisdiction.

Michigan Not a Big Supporter of National Certification Program

Such findings are in keeping with a growing mountain of evidence that teacher certification, whether on the state or national level, doesn’t translate into teacher excellence.

Making Health Care Healthy Again

... if Michigan adopts Vermont-style Medicaid vouchers, and employees take advantage of the new HRA option, Michigan citizens will be able to obtain better insurance at lower cost.

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

Proposal 3 would impose a slow, expensive labor negotiation process on the state of Michigan, while uprooting a civil service system that has worked well for both the state and its employees.

Banning the Straight-Party Vote Option

Surely, the right to vote is precious enough to be worth the effort of a thoughtful casting of votes, issue by issue, candidate by candidate.

A Choice Option that Saves Money for Public Schools?

A well-crafted tax credit plan will simply relieve the public schools of the obligation to teach a relatively small percentage of students across the state, while providing the resources to increase the average student expenditure.

Performance Warranties for Roads: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Warrantied projects require less supervision and testing than standard projects, thereby reducing the state’s costs and giving motorists more value for their gas tax dollars.

Public-Private “Land Exchanges” Could Help Resolve Property Rights Disputes

When government is free to put up barriers to development and make property owners bear the cost, its ability to infringe on private property rights is unchecked.

Bypassing Proposal A Through the “Sinking Fund” Gambit

With both gubernatorial candidates favoring the proposal, homeowners could be socked with billions in additional property taxes.

Time to Tame the Tax Beast in Michigan

Even after Gov. John Engler’s efforts to cut taxes, Michigan remains one of the most highly taxed states in the union, resulting in lost jobs and forgone economic opportunities. To get a handle on high taxes and runaway state spending, Michigan needs to follow the lead of 14 other states and adopt a constitutional amendment or law requiring a legislative supermajority before any tax can be raised.

Michigan Workers Are Ready for Right-to-Work

Freedom of association is the legitimate basis upon which the union movement helped establish legal protections for workers in national and state labor laws. But what about the freedom to not join or pay dues to a union in order to get or keep a job? Right-to-work laws—operative in 22 states, but not Michigan—respect this individual choice of workers, and a new study shows states with such laws also enjoy greater economic prosperity.

Amtrak: The Federal Government’s Own Corporate Financial Scandal

With the fraud scandals of Enron, WorldCom, and other corporate giants roiling the stock market, along comes Amtrak to announce a shutdown unless it gets an emergency $200 million cash infusion. But the government should stop subsidizing the failed national rail service, which has wasted billions of tax dollars, and allow the market to punish mismanagement with bankruptcy—exactly as it is doing with the corporate malefactors.

Cigarette Smuggling: Financing Terrorism?

The tax differential is so great between low-cigarette-tax states like North Carolina and high-cigarette-tax states like Michigan, that the U.S. government is beginning to uncover a startling trend: Suspects linked to Middle East terrorist groups have been discovered making "cigarette runs," buying them in North Carolina and selling them at thousands-of-dollars profit in Michigan.

The Crystal Gazer from Crystal Falls

Emil Hurja, a native of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, was the pioneer of political polling, and was instrumental in the success of the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his political program, "The New Deal." Later, a disillusioned Hurja broke with Roosevelt over policy and lost a run for Congress. Known as "the Crystal Gazer from Crystal Falls," Hurja was a local boy with a national impact.

Law Prevents Electronic Pricing

Michigan is one of the few states where retailers are not allowed to use new electronic price labeling technology because of an obsolete law, the Item Pricing Act, passed in 1976. This law requires paper tags on most merchandise. Allowing stores to use the new technology-as called for in a bill currently before the Legislature-would result in savings that would be passed along to consumers in the form of lower prices.