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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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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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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