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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The Ex-Im Bank Redux



Adam Smith, the first and still best of all of the world’s economists and moral philosophers, once wrote in opposition to all systems of “preference and restraint”. That lesson is lost on most politicians and all special pleaders who support re-authorization of the taxpayer-financed Export-Import Bank, whose funding is once again set to expire…
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Tax Freedom Day, 2015



The Tax Foundation announces “Tax Freedom Day” every year to mark the date on which the average U.S. taxpayer has earned enough income to pay in full all federal, state and local taxes owed. The date this year is today, Friday, April 24, 2015. “Tax Freedom Day” is determined by taking the ratio of…
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Google Agonistes



News reports on Tax Day suggest that the European Commission wants to nail Google Inc.’s scalp to the wall as punishment for committing alleged antitrust (competition) law violations. At issue is the way in which the company assigns priorities to the links consumers see when they “google” generic search terms like “booksellers”, “cameras”, and…
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Agonizing over Sports Teams’ Mascot Names



I have written several columns on current controversies involving the apparent offensiveness of the Washington Redskins’ nickname, the most recent of which was published by the Washington Times. A later contribution to the same debate, by Hayley Manugia at FiveThirtyEight, finds 2,128 such American monikers, all of which should be equally offensive to people…
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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…
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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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