Phil's column

Phil Power is founder and chairman
of the Center for Michigan.

Archived columns

Finding lessons in Flint’s tragedy

Bridge Magazine’s new book on the Flint water crisis, “Poison on Tap,” reminds readers what can happen when our institutions start breaking down.

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Transgender bathrooms or crumbling infrastructure?

It’s time for leaders in the legislature to put aside short-term skirmishes that produce momentary headlines and focus on longer-term imperatives that will leave a lasting mark.




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Binding cities, with few ways out

State policies over many decades are choking off revenue to cities across the state. Is Michigan willing to change?




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A death on the Internet and the gift of time

Acceleration of events imposes dimly perceived but very important changes in the way we think.




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Chinese copy cats and Japanese bullet trains; lessons for America

On a trip overseas, the perils of international free-trade agreements appear in China, and the wonders of a strong infrastructure unfold at 200-mph in Japan.




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Don’t trust government? Help to change it!

This year, The Center for Michigan’s public outreach campaign focuses on how to restore public confidence in government. Signing up for our local Community Conversations allows you to be part of the solution.




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Oligarchs and demagogues, as America teeters

All it takes is an inattentive or bored citizenry to set the stage for the decline of the republic.




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Flint report shows government’s size is less critical than its effectiveness

If the experience in Flint teaches anything, it’s that when lots of local people complain loudly and persistently about things going wrong, usually there is something going wrong.




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How many are satisfied with the present state of politics in Michigan?

I’ve been traveling around the state recently, speaking to various community groups and service clubs. As usual, when I get in a room with Michiganders, I learn a ton by asking questions: How many are satisfied with the present state of politics […]

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Would a Bloomberg run break a fractious two-party system?

We are witnessing the slow deterioration of a political system that is showing itself incapable of governing our country effectively.




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For a free executive education, look no further than Flint

The catastrophe in Genesee keeps revealing itself, with lesson after lesson on how to miss seeing, and mishandle, a modern meltdown.




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Second thoughts on the Flint water debacle

As we ponder conflicting accusations of who is to blame for the water disaster in Flint and the financial crisis in Detroit’s public schools, let’s also take a moment to consider some of the root causes that led to these emergencies and how to fix them.




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Iowa is dealt a hand with three wild cards, no aces

The fact Trump, Cruz and Sanders are all contending indicates conventional wisdom isn’t anymore, so all bets are off.




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Flint water and Detroit Schools raise doubts about emergency manager law

Emergency managers threaten the trust local residents have in government. They should be used carefully, with concern for the health and welfare of those affected




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A friend’s death, a community’s loss

The death of a former school superintendent underscores the importance of leaders who can bind a community together.




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In search of competent government

The state’s slow response to lead poisoning in Flint and school debt in Detroit shows a government unable to execute important tasks in the public interest




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With record interest in state parks, let’s take steps to protect them

Bold public-private partnerships could offer a model for conserving Michigan’s ecologically important landscapes and the wildlife that live on them




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Donald Trump and America’s new political path

Envisioning a future in which nativist know-nothings duke it out against an elite political establishment




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