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.
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Professor Gruber Strikes Again



According to a recent post by Scott Vorse on Brietbart’s “Big Government” website, MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber, already in hot water for saying that “the stupidity of the American voter” was politically indispensable in getting Congress to pass the Affordable Care Act, previously had advised former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg on tobacco tax...
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Plain Brown Wrappers?



It once was true that copies of Playboy, Hustler, and other (soft or hard) pornographic materials were delivered to subscribers in generic envelopes so that no one, including your local postal carrier, could see what publications you had ordered. I, of course, know that fact only on the basis of hearsay evidence. Nowadays, though,...
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The Anachronistic 1979 Oil Export Ban



Political pressure is building to repeal the 1979 ban on U.S. exports of crude oil to the rest of the world. I blogged on that issue recently in Inside Sources, which was picked up by Orangeburg, South Carolina’s Times and Democrat. Other blogs on that policy issue are forthcoming. Several reasons for lifting the...
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Net Neutrality: Pushing on Another Side of the Balloon



Yesterday I blogged on President Obama’s ill-conceived and statist call for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate the Internet so as to prevent Internet Service Providers (ISPs), companies like Comcast, Time Warner, and AT&T, from charging differentially higher fees to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other broadband “hogs” for subscribers’ access to online content....
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“Net Neutrality” Is an Oxymoron When Government Logs On



President Obama released a video on Monday, November 10, asking the Federal Communications Commission to adopt rules that would keep the Internet what it always has been—“free and open.” The buzzword is “neutrality,” meaning that no telecom company or internet service provider (ISP) would be allowed to discriminate against some content providers by charging...
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Gordon Tullock, R.I.P.



My friend and former colleague Gordon Tullock passed away on Election Day eve at the age of 92. Gordon was one of the great polymaths of the past more than half-century. Known best as the co-author (with Nobel laureate James M. Buchanan) of The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy (1962), Gordon invented...
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Airline Deregulation Act of 1978



President Jimmy Carter signed the Airline Deregulation Act on October 24, 1978. That law phased out the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) over the next four years, ending five decades of federal regulation of passenger airfares on interstate commercial flights and entry into the airline industry. One of prime movers behind this first legislative initiative...
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Happy Birthday, Tea Party!



October 16, 2014, marks the 241st anniversary of an event that helped launch the American Revolution against King George III, eventually leading the thirteen colonies to independence from the British Empire. On that same fall day in 1773, the first public assembly to protest the Tea Act convened in Philadelphia. (The more famous Boston...
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Jean Tirole, 2014 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences



The 2014 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to Jean Tirole of the Toulouse School of Economics. According to Reuters, the prize recognizes Professor Tirole’s work aimed at “taming” private business firms through governmental regulatory interventions and antitrust law enforcement. That summary is true as far as it goes. Professor Tirole indeed spent...
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Amazon’s “Dark Side” Is a Bright Spot for Workers and Consumers



Jim Hightower is an old-fashioned Texas progressive, who, if memory serves, once ran unsuccessfully for the governorship of that state. He may be a great polemicist—see “The Dark Side of Amazon”—but he does not know the first thing about how markets work and how Amazon.com, like Wal-Mart, is a benefactor of consumers nationwide and...
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