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How to Make Social Security Secure for More Americans

The president's commission on Social Security warns that benefit cuts, tax increases, or massive federal debt are necessary to keep the system solvent, unless fundamental reforms are enacted. By far the best option for younger workers, minorities, and low-wage earners shortchanged by Social Security is a system that allows them to reap more retirement income by privately investing all or part of their taxes in stocks and bonds.

"Streamlined Sales Tax" Just Another Government Grab for Cash

The National Governors' Association's "Streamlined Sales Tax Project" is being sold as a way to apply existing sales and use taxes to Internet, catalog, and 1-800 number purchases fairly and uniformly. But the project would not only be unfair to out-of-state vendors, it would also result in higher taxes, threaten consumers' privacy, and even open the door to a national sales tax.

Less Government, Not More, Is Key to Academic Achievement and Accountability

A comprehensive new study of Arizona charter schools suggests that proposals to increase government regulation of charter schools in Michigan could stifle, not encourage, student achievement and school accountability.

Private Prepaid Tuition Programs Can Help Make College Affordable

Rising tuition threatens to drive the cost of college beyond the reach of many lower- and middle-income families. But a little-known provision signed into law by President Bush as part of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Act of 2001 will make affording college a bit easier for many Michigan families.

State Land Use Planning: Less Is More

Elected officials in many states are gearing up to do something, almost anything, about so-called "urban sprawl." But before moving Michigan toward a more centrally planned land-use model, state policy-makers should consider why local governments and the free market are better equipped to deal with local land use issues.

School Funding: Lack of Money or Lack of Money Management?

Proposal A of 1994 dramatically altered the way Michigan public schools are funded, and now many districts are complaining about a lack of money to meet their budgetary needs. But school revenues are up from pre-Proposal A levels, raising the question, "Are there things that districts can do more efficiently in order to better use the resources they already have?"

Michigan Economy Needs to Join the Information Age

For much of American industrial history, Michigan entrepreneurs including Ford, Kellogg, and Dow figured prominently in the emerging U.S. economy. But if Michigan is to lead in the 21st century "information age," then our cities must rid themselves of high taxes, burdensome regulations, and wasteful bureaucracy and begin to think and act like the very entrepreneurial firms they need to attract.

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.