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William L. Anderson

Articles by William L. Anderson

Joe Biden and the “Transformational” Presidency

November 14, 2022

Much is made of the failure of Republicans to make predicted gains in the recent midterm elections, but, as Ryan McMaken has pointed out, Congress plays a much-diminished role in national governance to the point that even had the so-called Red Wave actually occurred, it is doubtful that much would have changed regarding Joe Biden’s presidency. In fact, most of what Biden has done in his two years in office has been outside of Congressional legislative matters.
McMaken points out:
This all combines to mean we should expect very little change on policies at the federal level. For example, we can expect to keep hearing plenty about the evil of fossil fuels. The administration will continue to press for less drilling for oil and gas, and the war on coal will

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A Political Victory for the Joes Is a Loss for the Country

August 3, 2022

After months of being portrayed as a villain or worse in the mainstream media, Joe Manchin suddenly has become a Democratic Party hero—all because he has declared he will support legislation that he and President Joe Biden claim will “reduce inflation” and give us better weather. Not surprisingly, the New York Times is leading the way in effusively praising the legislation, claiming the bill “would be the most ambitious action ever taken by the United States to try to stop the planet from catastrophically overheating.”
The “newspaper of record” continues:
The bill aims to tackle global warming by using billions of dollars in tax incentives to ramp up wind, solar, geothermal, battery and other clean energy industries over the next decade. Companies would receive

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Turns Out the Elites Like the Administrative State Better than Democracy

July 17, 2022

If there is a mantra among progressive American political and media elites, it would be “our democracy,” usually preceded by what they believe to be a threat from the Right. For example, progressives deemed the recent reversal of Roe “a threat to our democracy” because it removed laws regulating abortion from Supreme Court jurisdiction and returned the issue to democratically elected legislatures.
It would seem inconsistent to invoke the democratic electoral process to deal with a contentious issue like abortion, but progressives are nothing if not inconsistent. But even in challenging logic on political issues, progressives at least try to stick to the language of democracy, and especially the language of “our democracy.”
However, occasionally progressive elites

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Back to the Future: Progressives Imagine the Good Old Days of Price Controls

June 25, 2022

When the Bourbon dynasty was restored to power in France in the early 1800s after Napoleon’s abdication, the French statesman Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand famously said of that family: “They had learned nothing and forgotten nothing.” In modern economic parlance, one can say the same thing about progressives, who once again are demanding price controls to “fight inflation.”
Not surprisingly, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is leading the way. She recently introduced a bill that outlaws “price gouging,” which in her definition involves a seller increasing prices for reasons that Warren would consider to be unjustified. It declares:
It shall be unlawful for a person to sell or offer for sale a good or service at an unconscionably excessive price during an exceptional market

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No, It’s Not the Putin Price Hike, No Matter What Joe Biden Claims

May 5, 2022

Politicians love their buzzwords and talking points, and the Joe Biden White House and the Democratic Party use them as much or more than when Donald Trump and the Republicans ran Washington’s freak show. Last year, the mantra from the Biden administration was that inflation was “transitory,” meaning that the inflation would not last long. From Biden (when he could remember what his talking points were supposed to be) to Paul Krugman in the New York Times, the faithful repeated the newest word of life: “Transitory.”
As the hard reality has set in that this inflation will not be going away any time soon, we have new talking points and buzzwords from the house of Biden and his political allies, the renaming of inflation itself. No longer do the faithful dutifully

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Conservatives and the Free Trade Straw Man

December 18, 2021

When Ronald Reagan officially announced his candidacy for president of the United States in November 1979, he called for the establishment of a large free trade zone encompassing the USA, Canada, and Mexico. Not surprisingly, the so-called free trade agreement better known as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) resembled the usual “managed trade” that falls much more into the category of what Randall Holcombe calls “political capitalism.” Politics has a way of doing that.
For all of the logic of theories of free trade and for all of the prosperity that has come about as international trade has expanded in the past few decades, freedom of exchange over international borders will always have its enemies. On the progressive Left, we have seen the

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No, Inflation Is Not Good for You

November 30, 2021

According to the Marxists and their fellow travelers, inflation is good because it transfers wealth from creditors to debtors, and debtors are “the 99 percent.” But inflation doesn’t work that way.

Original Article: “No, Inflation Is Not Good for You”

With the recent rise in inflation—with subsequent increases in both consumer and producer price levels—one suspects that sooner or later people on the left either would downplay it or find a way to spin the bad news into something positive like an alchemist would want to spin straw into gold. Both accounts have arrived, thanks to the New York Times and the hard-left publication, The Intercept.
The various accounts in the Times hardly are surprising, given the link the paper has to the nation’s political,

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No, Inflation Is Not Good for You

November 24, 2021

With the recent rise in inflation—with subsequent increases in both consumer and producer price levels—one suspects that sooner or later people on the left either would downplay it or find a way to spin the bad news into something positive like an alchemist would want to spin straw into gold. Both accounts have arrived, thanks to the New York Times and the hard-left publication, The Intercept.
The various accounts in the Times hardly are surprising, given the link the paper has to the nation’s political, economic, and academic elites, and given that these are the people that have created the inflation problem in the first place. Not surprisingly, the NYT “experts” (because progressives believe that the “experts” always have the right answers) are playing down the

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Paul Krugman’s One-Man War on Science

October 23, 2021

When David Card was recently awarded the Nobel Memorial Price in Economic Science (along with two other economists), I figured Paul Krugman would weight in, since Card, along with the late Alan Krueger, authored an economic study almost thirty years ago that allegedly debunked standard economic theory on the effects of a binding minimum wage. Krugman did not disappoint.
As is his M.O., Krugman cherry-picked his information and then went on to claim that the Card-Krueger studies, along with other studies that seemingly disprove how economic theories normally are applied, should “favor a policy move to the left,” at least when it comes to government policies. This is another way of saying that Krugman once again claimed that opportunity cost is irrelevant and

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Yes, Paul Krugman, Booms Are Unsustainable

May 17, 2021

That Austrians and Keynesians do not share many views on economics (or probably anything else) is obvious, so a difference of opinion between the two hardly should surprise anyone. However, it still is important to point out the differences between the two camps, especially at the current time when Keynesians are all the rage in Washington (When did they ever leave?) and especially in the Joe Biden administration and, of course, the editorial pages of the New York Times.
Perhaps there is no greater difference between Keynesians and Austrians than their beliefs on economic booms. In short, Keynesians believe that all policies should promote the booms and even when they crash, that government should employ all means to continue the boom.

Personal Saving Rate, 1960

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Why Empowering Organized Labor Will Definitely Not Help the Economy

April 26, 2021

Paul Krugman has a very prominent perch from the editorial page at the New York Times and he has used his influence, among other things, to shill for two things that are anathema to a strong economy: inflation and organized labor. My analysis examines what Krugman says about labor unions and explains why once again his economic prognostications are off base.
In a recent column, Krugman declares that the present political climate may reverse the long trend in private sector unionism—and that is a good thing:
The political environment that gave anti-union employers a free hand may be changing—the decline of unionization was, above all, political, not a necessary consequence of a changing economy. And America needs a union revival if we’re to have any hope of

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The Second Act Will Be Worse Than the First: Lockdowns Are Not the Answer

October 14, 2020

Given the overt hostility that progressives have toward private enterprise in the first place, politicians will take shutdown-caused shortages and empty shelves as “proof” that private enterprise has failed.

This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. Narrated by Michael Stack.
Original Article: “The Second Act Will Be Worse Than the First: Lockdowns Are Not the Answer“.

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The COVID Crisis Supercharged the War on Cash
The corona crisis has already taken a very high toll and caused deep damage in our societies and our economies, the extent of which is yet to become apparent. We have seen its impact on productivity, on unemployment, on social cohesion and on

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The Second Act Will Be Worse Than the First: Lockdowns Are Not the Answer

October 10, 2020

In the first presidential “debate” (I use that word creatively), Joe Biden hinted that he would order a national lockdown in order to “defeat” the covid-19 virus, and there certainly seems to be a consensus in the media and among political elites that if there is another “outbreak” of covid, then the “shelter in place” order will be the law of the land.
Many businesses certainly are making plans for such an order, this time not wanting to be caught unprepared as they were last March:
Grocery stores and food companies are preparing for a possible surge in sales amid a new rise in Covid-19 cases and the impending holiday rush.
Supermarkets are stockpiling groceries and storing them early to prepare for the fall and winter months, when some health experts warn the

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Carter vs. Reagan: The Last Semi-Intelligent Presidential Race

September 25, 2020

Carter vs. Reagan
Presidential campaigns in the United States tend to be discouraging affairs, even if one is not a libertarian who has zero expectations that anything good can come from American elections. The old saw that insanity consists of doing the same thing repeatedly and somehow expecting different results applies to presidential campaigns as well as to anything else.
For whatever reason, Americans (and especially the American media) seem to believe that the process by which voters select presidential candidates some day will produce a Marcus Aurelius (or some other philosopher king) as opposed to the final race we have between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, neither of whom will resurrect memories of orators like Daniel Webster or Frederick Douglass.

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The Disastrous Legacy of Woodrow Wilson

July 4, 2020

Princeton University has made it official: Woodrow Wilson’s name no longer will have any place on campus. The former president, or at least his memory, now is part of cancel culture, which is sweeping the nation. The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs will replace the former president’s name with “Princeton,” and Wilson College now will be called First College.
This hardly is surprising but in many ways discouraging, but not for reasons that many people might assume. Wilson did, after all, leave a sorry legacy of Jim Crow racial segregation and actively sought to damage if not destroy race relations in the United States, so the drive to remove his name is not a surprise given the wave of renaming and destruction of statues and monuments

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Michael Flynn, Lori Loughlin, and the Permanent Culture of Prosecutorial Abuse

June 1, 2020

When US attorney general William Barr recently announced that the Department of Justice was reversing course and dropping all charges against former Trump adviser Michael Flynn, the response from Democrats, the mainstream news media, and Never-Trump Republicans such as David French was thermonuclear, to put it mildly. The New York Times, which many times has editorialized against prosecutorial tactics that drive people to plead guilty instead of going to trial, reminded its readers that Flynn had twice pled guilty, which to the editors constituted absolute proof of his guilt.
The NYT went on to editorialize elsewhere that Barr had “politicized” the DOJ and was using his powers to pervert justice. On the airwaves, NBC News purposely truncated a Barr quote in order

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Krugman: We Need More Unemployment—to Save Us from Unemployment

May 21, 2020

It has been a long time since I read anything by Paul Krugman, and seeing his most recent column simply reminds me why I’ve not missed anything. As both an extreme Keynesian and political partisan, he long ago abandoned economic analysis for something economists should recognize as nothing less than what Mises called metaphysics.
Nonetheless, my curiosity got the best of me when he wrote that reopening the economy and allowing people to go to work almost surely will cause a depression. He writes:
Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics officially validated what we already knew: Just a few months into the Covid-19 crisis, America already has a Great Depression level of unemployment. But that’s not the same thing as saying that we’re in a depression. We won’t

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