The Independent Institute

 
          

William Shughart Archive

William Shughart is Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute, the J. Fish Smith Professor in Public Choice at Utah State University, and past President of the Southern Economic Association.
Full Biography

Tax Freedom Day 2016



According to the Tax Foundation, “Tax Freedom Day” this year falls on April 24th—six days after 2015’s personal income tax returns were due (on the 18th if you forgot to file). April 24 marks the day on which the average American will have earned enough income to pay his or her total local, state...
Read More »

Private Businesses Are Not “Public Accommodations”



On Tuesday, April 5, Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi signed a bill passed by the state’s legislature shielding certain business owners, public employees and non-profit organizations from lawsuits charging them with unlawful discrimination for refusing to serve same-sex customers. Styled the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” the new law drew sharp...
Read More »

Trading Votes in Congress to Get Everything Politicians Want



Any causal observer of the U.S. Congress and of state legislatures knows the definition of logrolling or vote trading: members of the House (and Senate) exchange votes with one another to secure passage of a spending program that benefits one of them, but not the other. So, for example, Senator H agrees to support...
Read More »

The Silliness Surrounding Mascot Nicknames Continues



“California Bans Use of ‘Redskins’ as School Mascot or Team Name,” according to a recent headline in the Sacramento Bee. Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill implementing that prohibition statewide, apparently “without comment,” on Sunday, October 11. According to the same newspaper story, the new law affects just four California high schools, located in...
Read More »

Hollywood Joins the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement



I published an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer recently challenging the mindsets of student activists lobbying to force college administrators to purge coal and oil stocks from their investment portfolios. Now, reportedly, but not surprisingly, Leonardo Di Caprio and a few other left-leaning Hollywood personalities are jumping on the divestment bandwagon. He, along with...
Read More »

California’s Proposed $2 per Pack Excise Tax on Cigarettes



A bill introduced for consideration in an upcoming special session of California’s legislature proposes to add an excise tax of $2 per pack to existing state and federal excise taxes on cigarettes. Proponents estimate that the new tax (levied on distributors) will raise $1.5 billion to help pay the healthcare costs incurred by low-income...
Read More »

Tennessee’s Fracking Controversy



Shale gas deposits underlie about a third of the State of Tennessee. Tapping that low-carbon resource is essential if electric utilities there and across the nation have any hope of complying with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Energy Plan, which mandates a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. Yet environmental groups...
Read More »

The Ex-Im Bank Redux



Adam Smith, the first and still best of all of the world’s economists and moral philosophers, once wrote in opposition to all systems of “preference and restraint”. That lesson is lost on most politicians and all special pleaders who support re-authorization of the taxpayer-financed Export-Import Bank, whose funding is once again set to expire...
Read More »

Tax Freedom Day, 2015



The Tax Foundation announces “Tax Freedom Day” every year to mark the date on which the average U.S. taxpayer has earned enough income to pay in full all federal, state and local taxes owed. The date this year is today, Friday, April 24, 2015. “Tax Freedom Day” is determined by taking the ratio of...
Read More »

Google Agonistes



News reports on Tax Day suggest that the European Commission wants to nail Google Inc.’s scalp to the wall as punishment for committing alleged antitrust (competition) law violations. At issue is the way in which the company assigns priorities to the links consumers see when they “google” generic search terms like “booksellers”, “cameras”, and...
Read More »

  • MyGovCost.org
  • FDAReview.org
  • OnPower.org
  • elindependent.org