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

Misplaced Outrage over the NCAA’s Decision to Reduce Sanctions on Penn State



In a USA Today column published on September 8, Nina Mandell is livid about the lessening of sanctions imposed on Penn State two years ago in connection with charges of child sexual abuse against assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Those sanctions, which included a $60 million fine, a reduction in football scholarships, and a...
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Taking Offense at Every Word or Phrase?



A recent news item suggests that if offense possibly can be taken, it will be taken. We have just been treated to studied outrage at the nicknames of the NFL’s Washington “Redskins”, Florida State University’s “Seminoles” and MLB’s Cleveland “Indians.” As my friend and colleague Randy Holcombe reminds us in a recent blog, the...
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Muckraker or Special Pleader?



In “A Brief History of Media Muckraking”, the Wall Street Journal’s Amanda Foreman traces the contributions of “reform-minded journalists from Ida Tarbell to [Bob] Woodward” and a few others who spilled newspaper ink writing about abuses of power by the private and the public sector. Obviously a fan of the progress made during the...
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Your Tax Dollars at Work at the Ex-Im Bank



Following up on my nationally syndicated column on the pending re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank (“Let the Ex-Im Bank Fail”), the Financial Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives issued a press release on July 21, 2014, stating that “Two of the four Russian firms targeted with new sanctions announced last week by...
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Governmental “Reform” Is an Oxymoron



Pick your favorite scandal du jour: Four employees of the Export-Import Bank recently were forced out of their jobs following allegations that they had solicited or accepted bribes from beneficiaries of the bank’s subsidies for foreign-based purchasers of U.S. exports or steered loans to politically powerful U.S. exporters. The director of the Internal Revenue...
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“Risky Business” in Climate Change Policy



Alicia Mundy writes in the Wall Street Journal of June 24, 2014, that a coalition of environmentalists and at least some of the many corporate cronies of the federal government are pressing a proposal to require private business entities to account for and to report to shareholders the risks to which they are exposed...
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The Veterans’ Administration Has Been a Disaster Since Its Inception



In her modern, exceptional biography of President Calvin Coolidge, Amity Shlaes (Coolidge, HarperCollins, 2013) documents the very blemished history of today’s U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), illustrating the trite, but nevertheless very true old saw that the more things change the more they remain the same. That department of the federal government, now...
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Is “Redskins” Offensive?



Controversy over the nickname of the NFL’s Washington Redskins has been swirling for nearly a year. Today, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that it had withdrawn governmental protection for exclusive use of that name, meaning ironically that anyone (an individual or business enterprise) henceforth can call itself the “Washington Redskins”....
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There He Goes Again!



Midterm elections are looming on the horizon and it therefore should not be surprising that President Obama is in the market for votes to stave off the loss of a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate or gain a working Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. An above-the-fold, front-page article in Wednesday’s...
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Gary S. Becker, R.I.P.



I first met Professor Gary Becker (1930-2014) about 15 years ago, when he came to Oxford, Miss., to present a public lecture at the University of Mississippi sponsored by the Robert M. Hearin Foundation. My coauthor and then-colleague Bob Tollison and I breakfasted with him early on the morning of Dr. Becker’s visit, after...
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