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William L. Anderson



Articles by William L. Anderson

Do We Really Want to Go There? A Michigan Jury Endorses Vicarious Criminal Liability

17 days ago

A Michigan jury this past week convicted Jennifer Crumbley of “involuntary manslaughter” after her then-fifteen-year-old son Ethan shot and killed four of his classmates at Oxford High School in 2021, using a gun that his parents had given to him as a present. Ethan had suffered from depression and other mental health issues before his deadly actions, and hindsight obviously tells us that he should not have been given a gun in the first place, but the issues this trial and verdict create go well beyond any discussion of parenting.
Most media accounts of the verdict concentrate on the shooting itself, Jennifer Crumbley’s actions or inactions, and the reactions of the jurors and one of the parents whose daughter Ethan had gunned down. None asks a more important

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What Is Happening to College Sports?

January 6, 2024

On Monday night, January 8, the University of Michigan and the University of Washington football teams will vie for the collegiate national championship. While championships always bring excitement to fans and participants alike, this year’s game brings attention to major changes that have occurred in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I in the past few years involving both monetary payments and mobility for athletes.
While there is excitement for the game, we are seeing undercurrents that some claim will “destroy college football” as we have known it. The major changes involve athletes being able to gain product endorsements or make money off their likeness (Name, Image, and Likeness, or NIL) as well as being able to transfer one time via the

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The Anti-Semitism Controversy on College Campuses Is the Direct Result of Identity Politics

January 3, 2024

Anyone following the news knows that after a bruising congressional hearing on antisemitism on elite college campuses knows that Liz Magill, the president of the University of Pennsylvania, and Claudine Gay, president of Harvard, recently lost their jobs. while the president from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is under fire. While the issue is being framed as these presidents permitting (and sometimes encouraging) antisemitism on campus, the real issue is much deeper than just animus against Jewish students and firing a few presidents will not change the atmosphere.
Ever since Hamas guerrillas attacked an outdoor music festival and a nearby Israeli kibbutz, gunning down unarmed people, committing gang rapes, and taking hostages back to Gaza, college

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Ezra Klein’s Progressivism Cannot Build Anything Socially Useful

December 2, 2023

In 1982, I had the privilege of touring East Berlin with Murray Rothbard and other delegates from the Mont Pelerin Society. At the time, the Western press heaped praise on East Germany for what progressives believed to be the many accomplishments of communism’s most celebrated regime.
Unlike the more capitalistic West Berlin, East Berlin had an administered socialist economy complete with free healthcare. East Germany was proof that socialism could not only build things like an allegedly functioning economy, but also rebuild the Alexanderplatz. This was proof, according to National Geographic, that the communists “had arrived.”
We saw the Alexanderplatz on our city tour, which was a pretty typical Eastern Bloc exercise in sterile architecture. We also saw

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The Fed Is Draining Our Economy Like Farmers Have Drained Their Aquifers

November 25, 2023

In an October column, Paul Krugman admonished people who are not all in on the Joe Biden economy and declared that we are headed at worst for a “soft landing” in which an economic slowdown—if it happens at all—will be short and shallow. He wrote:
The most important reason for optimism is that an ever-widening range of indicators suggests that the conventional wisdom—that we needed a recession to bring inflation under control—was wrong. Instead, we seem close to returning to the Federal Reserve’s inflation target without paying much of a price at all. (emphasis mine)
Two months earlier, Krugman’s employer, the New York Times, ran a disturbing piece entitled, “America Is Using Up Its Groundwater like There’s No Tomorrow,” in which the Times chronicled how urban and

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David French Gets to Sit with the Cool Kids at the NYT Lunch Table

June 10, 2023

Most of us would like to forget many of the unpleasant aspects of our adolescence, and especially our days in middle and high school. No matter what the school setting, private or public, every place had its “cool kids” who ruled over the rest of us, especially in the school cafeteria.
Journalism has its own version of the “cool kids,” those being reporters and writers from larger media outlets such as the New York Times (NYT) or from network news. In the past few years, I have watched journalist David French as he has maneuvered from National Review to his recent new perch as a regular columnist on the op-ed page of the New York Times, a position he has called his “dream job.” Despite the protestations of some NYT staffers and LGBTQIA+ activists over his hiring,

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The Duke Lacrosse Case: How a Lie Became Official Campus Policy

May 23, 2023

Every day, more and more Americans are awakening to the reality that the institutions in control of this nation are failing them. From violence in the streets, inflation in our stores, increasing tyranny and censorship, and absolute buffoonery on public display in halls of political power. The ruling class is getting richer while most of us suffer, and new generations are becoming increasingly warped by the dangerous ideologies of the left.
Recorded at The Depot Craft Brewery & Distillery in Reno, Nevada on May 20th, 2023.

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Biden’s New Intersectionality: Where Equity Policies Meet Bad Economics

May 15, 2023

In the summer of 2020, the Smithsonian Institution created a chart meant to condemn what it calls “whiteness,” and it listed a number of characteristics it claimed were essential to “white culture.” Among the so-called characteristics it described in pejorative terms was delaying gratification, or saving for the future, what Austrian economists would call low time preference.
The chart, which was withdrawn after widespread protest, sought to identify the characteristics needed to build not only an economy but civilization itself with a racist culture. Thus, the kind of lifestyle and values that might culminate in someone having high credit scores and saving up for a significant down payment for a house were something not to be emulated or praised, but rather to be

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With the Trump Indictment, America Is a Step Closer to Being a Banana Republic

April 18, 2023

Democratic politicians and supporters are cheering the Trump indictment, but the entire process has been so politicized that its legitimacy is easily called into question.

Original Article: "With the Trump Indictment, America Is a Step Closer to Being a Banana Republic"
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. 

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Arbitrary Use of Power: Punishing Those Who Expose Not-So-Secret Government Secrets

April 18, 2023

Most readers might not remember Daniel Ellsburg, but for those of us who came of age during the Vietnam War, the maelstrom that formed around him and his actions helped to define that era. Ellsburg, of course, is famous because he leaked a number of internal government documents called the Pentagon Papers in which the writers expressed skepticism about the chances for U.S. success in the Vietnam War.
Ellsburg chose to leak to the New York Times and the Washington Post, which at that time (as well as today) were the print voices of the political and academic elites. By 1971, when the papers printed some of the documents (after the U.S. Supreme Court voted 6-3 to allow publication), the war was well out of favor with the Democratic Party – whose politicians had

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With the Trump Indictment, America Is a Step Closer to Being a Banana Republic

April 1, 2023

When Rudy Giuliani was pursuing his infamous Wall Street prosecutions in the 1980s, his aides admitted that they were indicting people on “novel legal theories” that had not been used before. A Giuliani lieutenant bragged to a group of law students that prosecutors in his office
…were guilty of criminalizing technical offenses. . .. Many of the prosecution theories we used were novel. Many of the statutes that we charged under . . . hadn’t been charged as crimes before. . . . We’re looking to find the next areas of conduct that meets any sort of statutory definition of what criminal conduct is.
At that time, federal prosecutors were going after people like investment banker Michael Milken, but even they would have stopped at indicting a former president. That

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Elizabeth Warren’s Contradictory Demands for Easy Money and Strict Financial Regulation

March 30, 2023

As the financial ripples following the recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) continue to run through the financial sector, a predictable voice has weighed in on the affair, and, as always, giving bad advice. Elizabeth Warren, never one to skip a chance to publicly gnaw on a financial carcass, writes in the New York Times that the entire problem is lack of government regulation. Of course.
The US senator from Massachusetts has spent most of her Washington career calling for both easy money and a financial sector that will “serve the little guy” and be the paragon of fiscal responsibility at the same time. Her demands are mutually exclusive, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to be the voice of financial reason from the left. She writes in the Times:
No

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Making Nonsense from Sense: Debunking Neo-Calvinist Economic Thought

March 7, 2023

Neo-Calvinist economic thought claims that prices and private property cause scarcity. However, they provide no methodology for their claims.

Original Article: "Making Nonsense from Sense: Debunking Neo-Calvinist Economic Thought"
This Audio Mises Wire is generously sponsored by Christopher Condon. 

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Making Nonsense from Sense: Debunking Neo-Calvinist Economic Thought

February 25, 2023

A few years ago I wrote about some of the errors made by economists who try to apply what they believe are Christian principles to both Austrian and neoclassical economic analysis. These economists believe that the standard economic way of thinking is not only fatally flawed but actually immoral, and that an entire new paradigm must be brought to economics.
In the mid-1990s, I taught economics as an adjunct at a Christian college near Chattanooga, being essentially the entire department. For the most part, it was a good experience, and the students were attentive and talented. However, in the spring of 1995, I was asked to teach a course (along with other faculty members) from a neo-Calvinist perspective, which meant presenting a very different view of economics

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The Fed’s Portfolio Is Nonexistent: The Fed Does Not Invest. It Destroys Investments

February 7, 2023

Every so often, I check my investment portfolio to see how it is doing. (I stay out of stocks these days, but that is due to my personal situation and is not to be taken as investment advice.) Portfolios are collections of various financial instruments that one is holding, and one always hopes that their value will head in the right direction over time.
When I purchase a financial instrument, I do so because I hope it will perform well in the future. I certainly do not purchase such securities because I believe that they are underperforming and that perhaps my purchase will prop up its price. (Of course, I don’t have the deep pockets that would be needed to be able to manipulate the price of anything.)
Instead, when I sink my money into a financial instrument, I

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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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