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

Fundamental Principles of Income Tax Reform



As 2017 was rushing to its end, the U.S. House and Senate passed different versions of income tax reform legislation, one of the Trump Administration’s top policy priorities. If a reconciled bill emerges from conference committee and is approved by majorities in both chambers of Congress before year’s end, the legislative effort would fulfill...
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Fred S. McChesney, Rest in Peace



I first met Fred S. McChesney (1948–2017) at the Federal Trade Commission in the early 1980s. Ronald Reagan had just been elected to the presidency and had appointed James C. Miller III as the FTC’s chairman. Robert D. Tollison had been confirmed as the Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Economics. I am not...
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Don’t Shed Any Tears over the Repeal of Cook County’s Soda Tax



On Wednesday, the commissioners of Cook County, Illinois, repealed the controversial soda tax that went into effect in August of this year. December 1, 2017, will be the first day residents of Cook County will no longer be required to pay a one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugar sweetened beverages—and they’re better off without it. Although...
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Not a “New Deal,” a “Fair Deal” or a “Square Deal,” but Supposedly a “Better Deal”



Towards the end of July, eight months after losing the White House to Donald Trump, leading figures of the Democratic Party launched their crusade to regain control of the U.S. Congress in next year’s midterm elections. Announcing his party’s “Better Deal,” U.S. Senator Charles Schumer wrote that “Rather than having a government that benefits...
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Prosperity, Not Soda Taxes, Fosters Good Health



Berkeley’s soda tax is being trumpeted as a success because a new study finds that purchases of sugary soft drinks fell by 10 percent in the city from March 2015 to February 2016. Of course, soda-tax advocates claim that the penny-per-ounce excise tax, which took effect in 2015, is fully responsible for the drop....
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9/11’s Legacies: Fewer Civil Liberties and Bigger Banks



September 11, 2016, marks the fifteenth anniversary of a calamity that shook America to its core. I remember vividly to this day being riveted by the constant video replays of the two Boeing 767s plowing into the World Trade Center, people leaping from office windows to their deaths, the collapses of the twin towers,...
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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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