The Independent Institute

 
        

William Shughart Archive

William F. Shughart II is Research Fellow and Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, the J. Fish Smith Professor in Public Choice at Utah State University, past President of the Southern Economic Association, and editor of the Independent book, Taxing Choice: The Predatory Politics of Fiscal Discrimination.
Full Biography

Brexit’s Opponents Echo the Arguments of Loyalists Fearful of American Independence



Voters in today’s slimmed-down United Kingdom (comprised mainly of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) approved on June 23, by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent, a referendum obligating London to leave the European Union. David Cameron, the nation’s prime minister and a staunch supporter of “remain” in the prequel to Election...
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Scotland’s Looming Regulatory Hangover



In May 2012, Scotland’s parliament enacted a law setting a minimum unit price (MUP) for all alcoholic beverages sold nationwide. The MUP of 50 pence (about 72 cents) per 10 milliliters of pure alcohol applies to beer, wine and distilled spirits, but has not yet gone into effect because the legislation, not surprisingly, was...
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Old Enough to Choose a President, but Not to Buy Cigarettes?



Once again, with Gov. Jerry Brown’s blessing, lawmakers in California have extended the long nose of government further into the private lives of their citizens. The latest intrusion comes from legislation that raises the minimum age for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old. With record-level support for marijuana...
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California’s Dream World



California Gov. Jerry Brown caved in recently to intense lobbying from labor-union leaders and signed a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage from $10 to $15 per hour by 2022. “California is proving once again that it can get things done and help people get ahead,” Brown said. Dream on, Gov. Brown –...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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