Phil's column

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

Archived columns

Schools must work together in lean times

As the Marshall-Albion merger shows, collaboration offers school districts the best option to conserve money while helping students.

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Pay for roads and college now, or pay later

Election-year politics shouldn’t trump legislators’ duty to do the right thing for Michigan’s future

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John Dingell got things done

For nearly six decades, Dingell worked with colleagues across the political spectrum. His departure pounds another nail in the coffin of competent government in our representative democracy, now quivering in gridlock thoroughly mixed with political narcissism.

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Adding your voice to Michigan’s future

Participate in the Center for Michigan’s web-based community conversations. Make your views heard. And help make Michigan a better place.

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Despite efforts, little progress has been made in educating poor, vulnerable kids

“What is the sound of one hand clapping?” Among other things, this famous Zen riddle suggests that some problems are extremely complex – and may require more than one approach to a solution. That’s an important notion when it comes to how […]

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Before election, Gov. Snyder turns eye toward college affordability

After seven years of savage budget cuts, the governor seeks a 6 percent hike in higher-ed spending, a cap on tuition and $65 million more for pre-K, moves that are politically shrewd and necessary for Michigan .

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Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures

An unprecedented collaboration among Michigan’s most trust nonprofit news organizations will help state residents understand the roots of Detroit’s crisis and provide insights relevant to all Michiganders.

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Record-breaking winter brings memories of Alaska

This arctic January has all of us thinking back to winters past. Has the ‘polar vortex’ made this the coldest, snowiest winter for you? Maybe you should try winter in Alaska…

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Gov. Snyder spot on in bid to welcome immigrants

Gov. Rick Snyder likes to describe himself as “one tough nerd.” He is also widely and accurately regarded as a numbers guy. And his annual State of the State speech last week was, indeed, true to type. There was none of the […]

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Deck slanted toward one-party government in Michigan

Last Sunday, the New York Times published an in-depth article on the rapidly growing number of states in which one political party – usually the GOP – controls all of state government. That’s now the case in Michigan, where Republican Rick Snyder […]

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Governor’s signing bill that shields identities of ‘issue ads’ donors a disgraceful abandonment of principle

When politicians don’t want people to notice what they’re doing, they often do it at a time when they think few are paying attention. So it was no surprise that Gov. Rick Snyder chose to sign the highly controversial Senate Bill 661 […]

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Cutting our universities, harming our future

There’s no doubt about one thing: Michigan needs a better educated workforce, more now than ever. Yet one of the abiding mysteries of the past dozen years is the strange reluctance of our state’s leaders to invest in our future by investing […]

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Midnight act by Senate Republicans to keep campaign donors secret breeds cynicism

Three weeks ago, before the political life of Michigan got interrupted for important things (Thanksgiving, turkey, football) we were treated to a bombshell from Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. Responding to a request by the State Bar of Michigan to require public […]

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Measuring the losses and gains of a terrible November night

Thanksgiving week is a time to remember, to reflect, to give thanks. Last Friday marked the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. When it happened I was a student at Oxford University in England. For me and for many others, […]

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Strong leaders, strong school

What happens to great ideas a few years after they’re hatched? That question was on my mind last week when I drove to Detroit last week to visit University Preparatory Academy, the public charter launched back in 2000 by my old friend, […]

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Cities must face legacy debts, or risk survival

I think it was around six years ago when I first heard faint rumblings about a coming financial tidal wave that was going to break over our cities, townships and villages, bringing with it the risk of a new civil war between […]

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Let us now praise (some) public servants

Last week I drove to the Federal Building in downtown Ann Arbor, and waited while the big black security gate slid open. I got off the elevator and was greeted by my old friend, U.S. District Judge John Corbett O’Meara, wearing his […]

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Iowa, California offer ideas on how to fix gerrymandering

If we’re going to save America from repeated near-disasters like this month’s war over the government shutdown and the near-default on our debt, we’ve got to have an urgent conversation about gerrymandering, both in Michigan and the entire nation. Here’s why. The […]

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