A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Featured Video Archive

A Guide to the American Federal Debt

A satirical short film taking a look at the national debt and how it applies to just one family. … more

Cronyism in America

Professors Don Boudreaux (George Mason University), Susan Dudley (George Washington University) & Bradley Schiller (University of Nevada-Reno) discuss the causes & solutions to Cronyism in America.

For more information, check out www.EconomicFreedom.org.  … more

Why the Stimulus Failed

High, persistent unemployment and a sluggish economy underscore what all but the most-dedicated partisans know to be true: The president's 2009 stimulus program was a massively expensive bust.

Understanding why the stimulus failed is an important step in understanding how the government can—and cannot—goose economic recovery.  … more

Golden Ticket

Like many charter public schools in Michigan, South Arbor Charter Academy must hold a lottery to distribute its limited classroom slots among an overwhelming number of applicants. In this video, the parents of some 556 student-hopefuls vie for just 26 slots at this achievement - and values - focused school. … more

Do Good-ers Who Do Harm

All too often people who are well-meaning and have good intentions end up creating results which are the opposite of the very thing they are trying to fix. Milton Friedman discusses the efficacy of "affecting to trade for the public good," as Adam Smith put it.  … more

Occupy Wall Street & Capitalism: A Professor's Response

The Occupy Wall Street movement expresses valid frustrations, but do the protesters aim their accusations in the wrong direction?

Economics Professor Chris Coyne draws the distinction between crony capitalism and legitimate capitalism. Crony capitalism is government favoritism fueled by handouts and is responsible for the plight of the 99%. Legitimate capitalism, on the other hand, uses competition to align consumer and producer interests and serves to improve everyone's standard of living. … more

Thanksgiving: Overcoming Socialism

The Plymouth Colony was established as a communal society -- an experiment in socialism. No one had an incentive to work, so disease and famine forced the pilgrims to adopt liberty and capitalism. The result? Much for which to be thankful!

To learn more, read "The Lost Lesson of Thanksgiving." … more

Fox Business: Loving Parents or Union Workers?

Fox Business Network picks up the Michigan Capitol Confidential story about Robert and Patricia Haynes, who discuss the Michigan law that forces them to join a union because they care for their kids with cerebral palsy.

The original story can be read here: www.MichiganCapitolConfidential.com/16001… more

The State Against Blacks

We have always been told that big government programs help minorities and poor people. It's intuitive to think that affirmative action, the minimum wage, and welfare make life better for people living in poverty. In Times Square, people tell Stossel: "Well of course there should be a minimum wage! There should definitely be affirmative action!" But this week Stossel and economist Walter Williams report that what we think we know is wrong. … more

The SEIU in Michigan: Home Health Aides

In 2005, as part of a nationwide push to increase membership using government subsidies as a source for union dues, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) organized Michigan's home health aides. As a result, tens of thousands of the state's independent, private-sector workers found themselves belonging to a government employees' union, with dues skimmed from their clients' Medicaid subsidy checks.

This video features Frank, a disabled adult with severe cerebral palsy, and his health aide, Judi, who's outraged that government money meant to help Frank is instead going to a union she wants no part of.

 … more

Mackinac Minute: Recent Education Reform

Mackinac Center Director of Education Policy Michael Van Beek discusses the introduction of recent bills to reform education in Michigan. Among proposed legislation is the so-called "Right to Teach" bill, as well as a bill that removes the limits on the number of online charter schools in the state. … more

Michigan Charter School Wars

In Sept. 2011, Michigan basketball standout Jalen Rose opened a new charter school in his hometown of Detroit. He's one of the few to be able to do so under current state law that limits the number of charter schools in the state. Michigan lawmakers can change that. They have before them several bills to address education reform. Among them, a bill to lift the "cap" on charter schools in Michigan to give students more educational opportunities. This attempt is not a first. Twice over the past dozen years, legislators failed to approve lifting these restrictions. Both times, by just a few votes. Are legislators destined to repeat history?

For more information, click here… more

School Opportunity in Detroit: Jalen Rose Leadership Academy

After a successful professional basketball career, Jalen Rose is setting his sights on becoming an education entrepreneur. In 2011, the former University of Michigan basketball standout and Detroit native opened a brand new charter school — the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. Expectations are high here, but Rose says he's committed to giving these high school students an opportunity to succeed.

“I’m a Detroit native and I know that unions are Big Business. All adults know that. Based on the number of schools, the number of kids, the number of dollars that flow through that situation. But a lot of the people that are standing on the table with that argument can’t necessarily pose the reason why that’s valid other than money. Look at the numbers of graduation rates that we have here lately: 30 percent for 9th graders graduating. In Detroit we have 47 percent of the adults that are functionally illiterate. So there is obviously something that is not happening in the right manner.” … more

Our Kids Deserve the Best and Brightest Teachers

Democrat Rep. Tim Melton of Auburn Hills explains what it means to treat teachers like professionals. … more

Michigan School District Bucks Spending Cuts Trend

Many school districts in Michigan claim state budget cuts have forced them to make drastic reductions in programs and course offerings. This is not the case in Oxford Community Schools, which has added sports teams, doubled its entire fine arts program and created an orchestra and world language programs.  … more

Michigan School District Opens School In China

Oxford Community Schools are doing something unprecedented in the state of Michigan, opening the Northeast Yucai Oxford International Senior High School in China this fall. In the video, you'll meet the principal of the school and the superintendent who believes this school will eventually help his district become financially independent from the state.

See related article at www.MichCapCon.com/15582 … more

Michigan Film Incentive: Part IV

When Michigan government gives money to subsidize film makers, it has to take it from somebody else. Here's one such story. … more

U of M Graduate Students Target of Union Grab

Melinda Day is a Graduate Student Research Assistant (GSRA) at the University of Michigan and the target of a new unionization push from the University's Graduate Employees Organization (GEO), which is a local chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. While the GEO successfully organized U of M's Graduate Instructors in 1975, the state determined in 1981 that research assistants are not 'employees' and therefore cannot be unionized.  … more

Gary Johnson Says Michigan "The Worst" Political Environment on Prez Campaign Trail

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson says that compared to New Hampshire, Michigan is "the worst" political environment on the Presidential Primary campaign trail as he talks to New Hampshire Watchdog's Grant Bosse about the debt ceiling, the economy, and running for President. … more

Rubber Chickens and Benefits in Balance: How Michigan can save $5.7 billion annually

The burden of government can slow down the private sector and prevent it from providing the goods and services people want -- as well as rendering it extremely difficult to hit people on the head with chickens. … more

Benefits in Balance: Saving $5.7 billion annually without higher taxes or program cuts in Michigan

Bringing public sector benefits in line with private sector benefits would save Michigan $5.7 billion annually. Find out more: www.benefitsinbalance.com. … more

Freedom to Work: A New Right-To-Work Effort in Michigan

Several union members and others gathered in the Capitol building to announce their new coalition and plans to push for legislation to add Michigan to the list of states that have enacted Right-to-Work laws.  … more

How to Lower Your Michigan Business Liability... and Win an Oscar While You're At It

State Rep. Chuck Moss, R-Birmingham, appeared in a Michigan Chamber of Commerce video titled, “Michigan's Business Comedy." The video is a tongue-in-cheek look at the subsidies filmmakers got at the expense of those paying the burdensome Michigan Business Tax. … more

Sen. Rand Paul on balancing the budget

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) discusses our nation's debt crisis and the need for a balanced budget on the Senate floor. … more

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission and the 3 Tier System

Should beer have to travel 100 miles before it can be sold at a store or restaurant...that's right across the street from the brewer?

This scenario is entirely plausible due to Prohibition-era laws in Michigan that created a "Three-Tier" distribution system overseen by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. In the video see how these archaic and rigid laws are hurting beer entrepreneurs in the state's ever-growing and well-repected craft-beer industry. … more

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission and the 3 Tier System

Should beer have to travel 100 miles before it can be sold at a store or restaurant... that's right across the street from the brewer?

This scenario is entirely plausible due to Prohibition-era laws in Michigan that created a "three-tier" distribution system overseen by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. In the video see how these archaic and rigid laws are hurting beer entrepreneurs in the state's ever-growing and well-respected craft-beer industry. … more

The Green Regulation Machine: Saving the Planet or Killing Jobs?

When Dwayne Whitney started his trucking business decades ago he had only one truck. Today he has eighteen and 20 employees. But that's about to change.

"The State of California says my trucks are killing people," says Whitney. "What do you say to that?" … more

Beyond the Classroom - Virtual Learning in Michigan Schools

Online learning is fast becoming another educational choice for families around the nation. In Michigan, one school district has taken its virtual program beyond the district boundaries as a way to not only educate more students but lessen its recent financial struggles. Find out how an entrepreneurial approach has set Berrien Springs Public Schools apart.

See also the Mackinac Center for Public Policy's 2011 study about virtual learning: http://www.mackinac.org/14727 … more

School Funding in Michigan: Common Myths

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Michigan’s state-run school system is the largest and most expensive government service state taxpayers support – spending more than $20 billion a year. It employs more than 350,000 people, who work in one of the more than 4,100 different entities. Given the enormity and complexity of the system, it’s no surprise that myths abound about how public schools are funded. … more

Fracking Fears Unfounded?

Fox Business Network experts debate whether using hydraulic fracturing to retrieve natural gas is dangerous to the environment. … more

The Health Care Compact

ObamaCare, Interstate Compacts and how the Tea Party can have leverage on Congress. … more

What's Wrong with the Michigan Business Tax?

A Michigan Businessman shares the story of how the state's business tax and related surcharge have hampered efforts by his company to grow and do business in Michigan, as compared to Indiana, where his company also has operations. A key lawmaker and the Mackinac Center's fiscal policy director agree, and both believe the MBT and surcharge could be eliminated without harm to the state. … more

The Granholm-AFSCME Partnership

A close investigation finds ample evidence that Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm's administration was involved in arranging the unionization of day care providers from the start. … more

A Michigan School District Invents New Teacher Evaluation Program

A dedicated team of administrators and teachers in the Oscoda Area School district has come up with a revolutionary new way to evaluate teachers. As a bonus, the district owns the copyright to the program software, thus creating a new revenue stream for the district. Find out how this new program could reinvent the education landscape in Michigan. … more

Union Threatens to "Weaponize" Government Jobs

Michigan AFSCME President Herb Sanders threatens to "weaponize" state government jobs if they don't get their way. … more

Mitch Albom Tries to Rescue Michigan Film Incentives

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's proposal to cap the state's film subsidy program to $25 million has high profile film industry supporters, including Mitch Albom, fighting back.  … more

The City that Outsourced Everything

While cities across the country are cutting services, raising taxes and contemplating bankruptcy, something extraordinary is happening in a suburban community just north of Atlanta, Georgia.

Since incorporating in 2005, Sandy Springs has improved its services, invested tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure and kept taxes flat. And get this: Sandy Springs has no long-term liabilities. … more

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Talks to the Mackinac Center

On April 4, 2011, Gov. Snyder sat down with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy to discuss a number of issues including recently signed -and controversial- emergency financial manager legislation, penalties for teacher strikes, film subsidies, a proposed tax on pensions and government transparency. … more

Is the Michigan DEQ Harassing Hart Enterprises?

A Sparta, Mich., company got a surprise visit in March, 2011 from a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality air quality inspector. Hart Enterprises Inc. does not need an air permit to do business. A company official tells the Mackinac Center he believes the unannounced visit is more than coincidence, given the company's ongoing legal dispute against the state over a so-called "wetland" on its property. … more

Mitch Albom Tries to Rescue Michigan Film Incentives

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's proposal to cap the state's film subsidy program to $25 million has high profile film industry supporters, including Mitch Albom, fighting back.  … more

What's Wrong with the Michigan Business Tax?

A Michigan businessman shares the story of how the state's business tax and related surcharge have hampered efforts by his company to grow and do business in Michigan, as compared to Indiana, where his company also has operations. A key lawmaker and the Mackinac Center's fiscal policy director agree, and both believe the MBT and surcharge could be eliminated without harm to the state. … more

Rallies at the Michigan Capitol

On March 15 and 16, 2011, demonstrators turned out in droves to protest several of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's proposals to help eliminate a $1.5 billion dollar budget deficit. Here are some of the sights, sounds and signs at the rallies. … more

Adapting the Epic: The Making of Atlas Shrugged the Movie

"The whole theme of the movie is, really, human evil," says Brian O'Toole, the screenwriter behind Atlas Shrugged Part I, the feature adaptation of Ayn Rand's influential novel. "And human evil springs from good intentions."

O'Toole and producer Harmon Kaslow tell Reason.tv what viewers can expect to see in the movie, which covers the first of three sections in Rand's novel.  … more

The Truth About the State Pension Crisis

Columnist Veronique de Rugy explains the truth about the state pension crisis by separating economic myth from economic fact. … more

Michigan Demonstrator Compares Gov. Rick Snyder to Adolf Hitler

Demonstrator says new emergency financial manager program for cities in financial distress is comparable to powers taken by Nazi leader.

For more on Michigan's new EFM law, see www.MichCapCon.com/14739  … more

If Snyder Taxes Pension Income, Does the Money Go to Mexico?

A demonstrator at the state capitol on Tuesday says the purpose of Gov. Snyder's proposal to tax pension income is to open factories in Mexico and China.

Michigan is one of just three states that exempts pension income from the state income tax. The governor's tax proposal would eliminate this exemption and tax pension income the same as other income. The plan would also reduce the state personal income tax for all taxpayers, eliminate the Michigan business tax and replace it with a new, smaller business tax. … more

Behold! Your Public Sector Unions at Work.

PJTV's Andrew Klaven hilariously explains the economics and politics of public sector collective bargaining. … more

Big Labor Versus Lansing Entrepreneur

Meet Pat Gillespie. He and his company want to build two upscale apartment complexes where parking lots now lie along the riverfront in downtown Lansing, Michigan. Find out how Big Labor recently threatened to halt both the cleanup and economic development of the property unless the developer agreed to pay union-scale wages and benefits for all of the construction jobs needed for his project.

Please see the related article at www.MichCapCon.com/14006 … more

Michigan Film Office Advisory Council on Gov. Snyder's Plan for Film Subsidies

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder proposed reforming the state's film subsidy program of up to a 42% refund on film spending in Michigan.

On March 11, 2011, the council held its first meeting since the governor released his budget. The council lambasted Snyder over the expense cap of $25 million, essentially making a direct lobby for the industry. … more

Michigan Construction Union "Bannering"

Welcome to “bannering,” a new method being deployed by Big Labor bosses who wish to continue exerting their influence over a marketplace where employers, customers and workers have turned sharply against using union labor. … more

Mackinac Center for Public Policy Director of Education Policy Audrey Spalding describes her latest study on right-to-work law violations in public school contracts and suggests why districts and unions are ignoring the law.


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