William L. Anderson

William L. Anderson

William L. Anderson is a Fellow of the Mises Institute and professor of economics at Frostburg State University. He earned his MA in economics from Clemson University and his PhD in economics from Auburn University, where he was a Mises Research Fellow.

Articles by William L. Anderson

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

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 question: Did Jennifer

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What Is Happening to College Sports?

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 NCAA Transfer Portal with

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

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 campuses have been roiled

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Ezra Klein’s Progressivism Cannot Build Anything Socially Useful

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 apartment buildings whose

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

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 agricultural interests are

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Are Markets Tyrannical? Where Christian Conservatives Are Mistaken

Christian conservatives, for the most part, are relatively receptive to free markets, or at least a generalized concept of what used to be called free enterprise. (This is as opposed to a lot of evangelical economists teaching at Christian colleges that embrace socialism in one form or another as THE Christian version of economics.)
World Magazine has been on the relatively conservative side of political affairs, or at least enough so to be scorned by faculty members of more progressives Christian colleges, but it also has the tendency to give into the conservative notion that free market economies need to be regulated for both legal and cultural reasons. In a recent edition, Brad Littlejohn warned Christians to beware of the “tyranny” of free markets, claiming that markets are as

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

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, French is proving to be a

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

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

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 called out and declared

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

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 started the war in the first

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

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 day is gone, however, and

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

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 one should be mistaken about

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Making Nonsense from Sense: Debunking Neo-Calvinist Economic Thought

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 using a neo-Calvinist book,

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Joe Biden and the “Transformational” Presidency

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.

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

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.

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Turns Out the Elites Like the Administrative State Better than Democracy

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.

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

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."

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

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.

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Conservatives and the Free Trade Straw Man

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.

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No, Inflation Is Not Good for You

Audio Mises Wire

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.  

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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.

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Paul Krugman’s One-Man War on Science

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.

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Why Empowering Organized Labor Will Definitely Not Help the Economy

Union Membership in the United States, 1930-2010

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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Krugman’s Keynesianism Has Made Him Wrong about Much More Than Economic Theory

Let me tell you about Keynesian economists. They are different from you and me. They learn their mathematical models and aggregate terminology early and easily, and it does something to them, makes them proud and self-omniscient where the rest of us are circumspect, in a way that, unless you were born a Keynesian economist, is very difficult to understand.

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The Disastrous Legacy of Woodrow Wilson

[unable to retrieve full-text content]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.

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

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.

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