Mackinac Center for Public Policy

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is an ideological group based in Midland, Michigan that promotes “free market” economics. The organization has produced reports attacking national health insurance, a report that recommends “reform of tax laws to encourage the purchase of private insurance,” a study pushing the deregulation of automobile insurance and proposals that weaken unions and undermine the minimum wage.

President Lawrence Reed, named in 1988, had previously taught at Northwood Institute (now Northwood University) and was an advocate of the institutional values of laissez-faire economics and opposition to most public sector functions with the exception of the military. He has been tied to extreme “anti-communist” activity, with Reed organizing two-week seminars at Northwood with retired intelligence and military officers and right-wing activists. He also participated in at least one international conference of the World Communist League, a group filled with death squad leaders, aging Hitler allies, and representatives of dictatorships around the world (Bellant, The Religious Right in Michigan Politics).

While focusing primarily on economic policy, the organization does have some ties to the religious right according to Russ Bellant’s The Religious Right in Michigan Politics. The Michigan Family Forum has encouraged the members to contact the Center and used them for speakers while former Michigan Family Forum Director Randall Heckman was once a member of the Center’s board of advisors. Similarly, when the Michigan Christian Coalition held its leadership school in Midland in May of 1993, the Mackinac Center’s Andrew Little was the keynote speaker.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is funded by the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation, the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, the Jay and Betty Van Andel Foundation, and the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation.

Leaders, Members, and Others Associated with the Organization