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.
Full Biography

“Pot” Holes?



A recent story published on Fox News New York reports that New Jersey state senator Nicholas Scutari plans to introduce a bill to legalize the sale of marijuana there, tax purchases at the current sales tax rate of seven percent and deposit 70 percent of the proceeds into New Jersey’s highway trust fund. Like...
Read More »

More Government Intrusion



Have you received a notice in the mail to complete the Bureau of the Census’s “American Community Survey” online? It comes with a warning that failure to do so subjects you to penalties provided under some public law, which no Member of Congress likely read before voting in favor of it. The survey combines...
Read More »

Explaining College Cost Inflation



Tuition at America’s institutions of higher learning, both public and private, has been rising faster than any other component of the cost of living, including healthcare, for about two decades. There are many explanations for this currently on offer, such as reductions in teaching loads for senior faculty members, but that can’t be the...
Read More »

Political Hustle by Fast Food Workers



Within the past week or so, the employees of fast food restaurants in several major U.S. cities went “on strike” for a day to demand a so-called living wage of $15 per hour, more than twice the current federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25. I will not rehearse the economic analysis of the minimum...
Read More »

The WSJ Mis-Characterizes Ray Bradbury’s Oeuvre



What was the Wall Street Journal thinking of? Announcing the sad news of his passing at the age of 91 on June 6th 2012, reporter Stephen Miller misreads completely the burden of Ray Bradbury’s contributions to the literature of science fiction. (No, despite what you and I may think, Bradbury was not a macroeconomist!)...
Read More »

France and Greece Move Left



Now that France’s incumbent President Sarkozy has been defeated at the polls by socialist candidate M. Hollande, Americans should have gotten a wake-up call. Angela Merkel now seems to be the only voice of European reason in the rising popular tide against budgetary austerity and a return to the by now old-fashioned idea that...
Read More »

Take or Pay at the EPA



A story by Matthew Wald in the New York Times on January 9th demonstrates the poverty of governmental attempts to pick “winners” in the realm of green technologies, the wasteful subsidy programs supporting that policy goal and the huge costs for the private sector of being unable to march to Washington’s tune. Among its...
Read More »

Hating Bankers or Hating Washington?



In his most recent contribution to The Economist (January 6, 2012, p. 60), “Schumpeter” derides “hatred of bankers” as one of “the world’s oldest and most dangerous prejudices”. Arguing that “scorn for moneymen has a long pedigree”—traceable to Jesus’ expulsion of the moneychangers from Jerusalem’s Temple and to Muhammad’s proscription of usury—he rehearses the...
Read More »

Build It and They Might Not Come



An article in a recent issue of The Economist (“Sweet Land of Subsidy,” December 3rd to 9th, 2011, p. 42) tells the story of Iuka, Mississippi, a small community (2000 pop. 3,059) in Tishomingo County, where the local economic development foundation “invested” an unreported sum of the taxpayers’ money in the mid-1990s to build...
Read More »

PBS UK



Fresh from its near-death experience in this year’s congressional budget hearings and after yet another two interminable weeks of begging for dollars from its listeners and viewers, America’s taxpayer-financed public broadcasting system (PBS) has announced plans to launch a new television channel dedicated to programming available only to our British cousins. (See Paul Sonne,...
Read More »