31 Mar 1936
, Walter Edward Williams, in Philadelphia
Laissez Faire Books
Walter E. Williams is the John M. Olin Professor of Economics at George Mason University, and he is Chairman of the Economics Department there. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of California (Los Angeles). He ranks among the most insightful and entertaining champions of liberty today, talking about gun rights, crime, race, education, taxes, trade, environmentalism and other issues. ... Millions look forward to Williams' witty commentary as guest host of the Rush Limbaugh Show on radio. Many first saw him when he appeared in Milton Friedman's Free to Choose TV documentary.
, Adjunct Scholar
Hoover Institution, Board of Overseers
, Trustee Emeritus
George Mason University
, John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, 1980-2020
Wisdom of the Month - Walter E. Williams
Personal website, includes biographical summary, syndicated columns, articles published in The Freeman
, current courses, recommended books (by Williams and others) and miscellany
The Advocates for Self-Government Walter Williams
Includes biography, picture and quotes
Walter Wlliams is a nationally syndicated columnist, author, teacher, speaker and social critic. His columns are renowned for their wit, clarity, and hard-hitting anti-statism. He is famous to millions of radio listeners as a popular substitute host on the Rush Limbaugh show. ... Dr. Williams has served on the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, since 1980. ... Dr. Williams is the author of over 150 publications which have appeared in scholarly journals ... and popular publications ... He has authored six books ...
Walter E. Williams: Biographical sketch
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Dr. Walter E. Williams holds a B.A. in economics from California State University, Los Angeles, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in economics from UCLA. ... He has made scores of radio and television appearances which include 'Nightline,' 'Firing Line,' 'Face the Nation,' Milton Friedman's 'Free To Choose,' 'Crossfire,' 'MacNeil/Lehrer,' 'Wall Street Week' and was a regular commentator for 'Nightly Business Report.' ... In addition Dr. Williams writes a nationally syndicated weekly column that is carried by approximately 140 newspapers and several web sites.
About Walter E. Williams | Creators Syndicate
Includes photo, biographical summary and links to archived columns
Archive Items - Walter E. Williams
At Williams' personal website; archives since July 2000
Walter E. Williams Articles - Political Columnist & Commentator
At Townhall.com, includes biographical summary, archives from Feb 2000
Walter Williams Archives
At Jewish World Review; archives since July 1998
Walter Williams, Author at WND
At WorldNetDaily (WND), includes photo and biographical profile, archives since May 1999
Confessions of a Welfare Queen
, by John Stossel
, Mar 2004
Discusses the National Flood Insurance Program, subsidies to farmers and farm corporations (such as Archer Daniels Midland) and Donald Trump's attempt to use eminent domain to expand a casino in Atlantic City
In an ABC special I made called Freeloaders, economist Walter Williams aptly noted: "A panhandler is far more moral than corporate welfare queens ... The panhandler doesn't enlist anyone to force you to give him money. He's coming up to you and saying, 'Will you help me out?' The farmers, when they want subsidies, they're not asking for a voluntary transaction. They go to a congressman and say, 'Could you take his money and give it to us?' That's immoral."
Individual Liberty and Limited Government: Walter E. Williams and The Spirit Of George Mason
[PDF], by Michael D. White, 24 May 1993
Introduction to the 1993 Frank M. Engle Lecture, "The Legitimate Role of Government in a Free Economy", delivered by Walter Williams at The American College
Our 1993 Frank M. Engle Lecturer is Dr. Walter E. Williams, the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Dr. Williams is a native of Philadelphia and former faculty member at Temple University. ... It is a fortuitous set of circumstances that Dr. Williams hails from Philadelphia, teaches at George Mason University, and speaks on 'The Legitimate Role of Government in a Free Economy.' There is, in my mind, a remarkable irony in this convergence of Dr. Williams' birthplace and home, the namesake of his university, and the subject he addresses.
Pleasing Consumers Isn't Easy
, by Sheldon Richman
, The Goal Is Freedom
, 12 Jan 2007
Comments on the challenges faced by entrepreneurs, in particular those selling "high-tech gadgets", shortly after Steve Jobs announced the first Apple iPhone
Will the iPhone's apparent ease of use change the landscape? Maybe, but maybe not ... I'm reminded of Walter Williams's clever way of summing up the consumer's clout: My supermarket manager doesn't know what I want, when I'll want it, or how much of it I'll want. But if he doesn't have it when I show up, he's fired. Similarly with the newest high-tech wonders. We don't know what else we want our phones or music players or PDAs to do. But if you, Mr. Entrepreneur, get it wrong, you're fired.
Roasting Walter Williams
, by Thomas Sowell
, 19 Sep 2003
Recounts how Sowell first met Williams, discovering they thought along similar lines, providing other factual and anecdotal information on Williams since that meeting
I first met Walter Williams back in 1969, when I was teaching summer school at UCLA and he was a student working toward his Ph.D. in economics there. Contrary to some accounts in the media, Walter was never a student of mine. Nor did he get his ideas from me. ... Walter Williams is the only debater to leave Jesse Jackson speechless. On another occasion, he flabbergasted Ted Koppel when a woman on welfare said that she didn't have enough money to take care of all her children and Walter replied: 'Did you ever consider that you might have had too many children for the money?'
, by Charley Reese, 4 Sep 2006
Criticizes Walter Williams for his column "Will the West defend itself?" (23 Aug 2006), in which he defended going to the extreme of using nuclear weapons on "our Middle East enemies" just as "when we firebombed cities in Germany and Japan"
Walter Williams, in a column deriding those of us who wish to avoid mass murder as being appeasers, says, "Today's Americans are vastly different from those of my generation who fought the life-and-death struggle of World War II." Whoa, Walter, that's jive, and you know it. You were born in 1936. You were 9 years old when World War II ended ... You've spent your adult life in academia. You served two years in the peacetime Army ... Williams boasts of our capacity to "wipe out" Syria, Iran and any other country with nuclear weapons, but then opines that we just don't have the will.
Williams can't duck campaign pushes
, by Robert Stacy McCain, The Washington Times
, 9 Feb 2007
Discusses the effort by cartoonist Bruce Tinsley, in his "Mallard Fillmore" comic strip, to recruit Williams for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination
Conservative economist Walter E. Williams says he's flattered at being urged to seek the 2008 Republican presidential nomination — even if the draft committee is headed by a cartoon duck. The 'Mallard Fillmore' comic strip has spent the past two weeks promoting the George Mason University economics professor as a 2008 candidate — with some success, judging from Mr. Williams' e-mail in-box. ... A popular syndicated columnist who often fills in for Rush Limbaugh when the top talk-radio host is on vacation, Mr. Williams said ... he was surprised when Mr. Tinsley began a series of 'Draft Walter Williams' cartoons Jan. 29.
Dangers of No Tax Liability
, 13 Sep 2004
Comments on a study estimating that 44% of income earners will have no federal income tax liability, suggests a politically incorrect solution and reflects on Madison's concerns about class warfare between the rich and the poor
In last week's column, I reported on the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation's study that estimated that 44 percent of income earners will legally have no 2004 federal income tax liability ... The Bush administration sees removing the income tax burden on Americans at the lower end of the earnings spectrum ... as desirable ... This is not a far-out idea. The founders of our country worried about it. James Madison's concern about class warfare between the rich and the poor led him to favor the House of Representatives being elected by the people at large and the Senate elected by property owners.
, 15 Nov 2004
Criticizes comments made in newspaper articles after hurricanes Frances and Jeanne hit Florida, describing Bastiat's "Seen and Not Seen" and the "broken window" parable, also criticizing Paul Krugman's similar analysis after the 11 Sep 2001 attacks
Here are a couple of newspaper headlines following Florida's bout with hurricane disasters: 'Storms create lucrative times,' St. Petersburg Times ... and 'Economic growth from hurricanes could outweigh costs,' USA Today ... Again, do the smell test. If Krugman is right, wouldn't the terrorists have done us a bigger economic favor if they had destroyed buildings in other cities? Maybe we shouldn't be so harsh on these reporters and economists in light of the fact that they didn't receive training at George Mason University's Economics Department, where there are no bad economists.
, 7 Sep 2005
Criticizes comments from "poorly-trained economists" in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, revisiting Bastiat's "Seen and Not Seen" and the "broken window" parable
According to a couple of poorly trained economists, there's a bright side to Hurricane Katrina's destruction. J.P. Morgan senior economist Anthony Chan believes hurricanes tend to stimulate overall growth. ... Professor Doug Woodward, of the business school at the University of South Carolina, has the same vision. ... Of course, were it the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus providing the resources to repair the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Chan and Professor Woodward would be correct. ... these economists ... didn't receive their training at George Mason University's Economics Department ...
, 7 Jun 2000
After describing some basic economics principles, examines worthwhile rationales for public-policy mandates such as setting a 5 mph national speed limit or requiring gun safety-locks to prevent child deaths from gun accidents
More than anything else, economics is a way of thinking. At the heart of economics are several simple and easily observable characteristics of humans and the world in which we live. The first is that people prefer more of those things that give them satisfaction and fewer of those things that give them dissatisfaction ... Economics gives no clue about the motivation of people who push for one public policy or another. So I'm going to go out on the limb regarding ... gun-safety-lock advocates: These people want ultimate gun confiscation, and gunlocks are just another nuisance factor toward that end.
Economics of Prices
, 31 May 2006
Explains with two examples why historical costs do not determine current prices and then comments on causes behind high gasoline prices, such as restrictions on oil and gas production in Alaska, oil shale regulations and limited use of nuclear power
Here’s what one reader wrote: 'Williams, I can understand how the destruction of Hurricane Katrina and Middle East political uncertainty can jack up gasoline prices. But it's price-gouging for the oil companies to raise the price of all the gasoline already bought and stored before the crisis.' ... At each gasoline station they should put up photos, perhaps videos, of penguins, caribou, polar bears and other critters frolicking along Alaska's coastal plain. Then have a voice-over or caption reading: Don't be selfish. Your paying $3, $4 and $5 a gallon for gas keeps these critters happy and their play space clear of oil rigs.
Is there a federal deficit?
, 19 Apr 2006
Discusses, from an economics standpoint, whether there is a budget deficit in the U.S. federal government and what are the effects of the shortfall between federal expenditures and revenue (taxes)
Let's push back the frontiers of ignorance about the federal deficit. To simplify things, I'll use round numbers that are fairly close to the actual numbers. The nation's 2005 gross domestic product (GDP), what the American people produced, totaled $13 trillion. The federal government consumed $2.4 trillion ... This ... differs only in degree, but not in kind, from slavery. After all, a working description of slavery is the process where one person is forcibly used to serve the purposes of another. The difference is a slave has no rights to what he produces each year, instead of just four months.
Liberty's Greatest Advocate
, 4 Jul 2001
Reflections on some of Bastiat writings, particularly those related to legalized plunder, on the 200th anniversary of his birth
June 30 marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederic Bastiat. If one were to list the top 10 advocates of liberty, French philosopher-economist Bastiat would rank high on that list. He'd easily outrank any one of the founders of our nation ... Frederic Bastiat admired our country, saying–and noting the exceptions of slavery and tariffs–"Look at the United States. There is no country in the world where the law is kept more within its proper domain: the protection of every person's liberty and property." If Bastiat were alive today, I doubt whether he'd have that same level of admiration.
Minimum wage, Maximum folly
, 23 Mar 2005
Discusses proposals by senators Kennedy and Santorum to increase minimum wage rates, both of which failed to pass, and the effects of such laws, particularly regarding black teen unemployment
Sens. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Rick Santorum, R-Pa., both introduced proposals to increase the minimum wage from its current $5.15 an hour. Sen. Kennedy's proposal would have raised the minimum wage to $7.25 in three steps over 26 months, while Sen. Santorum's would have raised it to $6.25 in two steps over 18 months. ... Despite the 'concern for the children' malarkey they spout, it's voting-age adults to whom politicians are beholden. It turns out that adults benefit from the discriminatory effects of minimum wages, and older adults benefit from Social Security intergenerational transfers.
Minimum Wage, Maximum Folly
, 18 May 1999
Examines the impact of minimum wage increases proposed by president Clinton and members of Congress, explaining who are the real beneficiaries of such laws and suggesting that the Welfare-to-Work and Work Opportunity tax credits are not solutions
President Clinton and many members of Congress have proposed raising the minimum wage from its current $5.15 per hour to $6.15. Most academic economists who've studied the minimum wage conclude that higher minimum wages cause unemployment, not so much among the general labor force, but among low-skilled workers, especially teen-agers. ... For youngsters living in dysfunctional homes and attending rotten schools, a job might be their only chance to learn something that will make them more valuable workers in the future. I'm glad today's do-gooders weren't around in the 1940s when I was a teen.
Orchestrating Energy Disaster
, 23 May 2001
Discusses the problems in California's electric power industry, deriding comments by Paul Krugman and columnist Robert Scheer that the problems were due to "deregulation", and emphasizing the benefits of federalism
One needn’t be a rocket scientist to create California’s energy problems. According to the California Energy Commission, from 1996 to 1999 electricity demand, stimulated by a booming economy, grew by 12 percent while supply grew by less than 2 percent. Here’s how California created its supply crunch. It takes two years to build a power plant in business-friendly states but four years in California. ... Keep this federalism benefit in mind when you hear know-it-alls demanding nationwide uniform voting procedures in the wake of last year’s Florida debacle.
There's No Free Lunch
, 3 Oct 2001
Criticizes comments from Paul Krugman made after the 11 Sep 2001 attacks that they "could do some economic good", pointing out the lessons from Bastiat's "Seen and Not Seen"
Each semester, I spend a few minutes explaining to my students, both graduate and undergraduate, the first and second laws of thermodynamics. Why? Mother Nature permits us to do many things, but she prohibits the construction of machines of the first and second kinds. The first is a something-for-nothing machine, and the second is a perpetual motion machine. ... Steps Congress could take to jumpstart the economy are cuts in the capital gains tax and taxes in general, and deregulation. But guess what: Krugman is against these steps; he calls them political opportunism. I call them sound economics.
All It Takes Is Guts: A Minority View
Contents: Race and Sex - Freedom and Coercion - Spending, Taxes, and Regulation - Education and Labor - International Issues
America: A Minority Viewpoint
A collection of 84 essays; contents: Race - Unions - Government Failure - Freedom and Coercion - Crime and the Law - Inflation, Taxes, and Government Spending
Do The Right Thing: The People's Economist Speaks
Contents: Race & Sex - Government - Education - The Environment & Health - The International Scene - The Law & Society - Potpourri
, by Frédéric Bastiat
, Sheldon Richman
(foreword), Walter E. Williams (introduction), Foundation for Economic Education
Translated by Dean Russell. Partial list of headings (added by translator): Life is a Gift from God - What is Law? - A Just and Enduring Government - The Complete Perversion of the Law - A Fatal Tendency of Mankind - Property and Plunder
- ISBN 9562910113: Audio CD, bnpublishing.com, 2005
- ISBN 1572460741: Hardcover, Foundation for Econ Education, 2nd edition, 1998
- Kindle Book available at Amazon
- ISBN 1419168878: Paperback, Kessinger Publishing, 2004
- ISBN 1572460733: Paperback, Foundation for Econ Education, 2nd edition, 1998
- ISBN 1599869756: Paperback, Filiquarian Publishing, 2006
More Liberty Means Less Government: Our Founders Knew This Well
Contents: Race and Sex - Government - Education - Environment and Health - International - Law an Society - Potpourri
The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War
by Thomas DiLorenzo
, Walter E. Williams (foreword), 2002
Partial contents: Lincoln's Opposition to Racial Equality - Why Not Peaceful Emancipation? - Lincoln's Real Agenda - The Myth of Secession as "Treason" - Was Lincoln a Dictator? - Waging War on Civilians - Reconstructing America - The Great Centralizer
South Africa's War Against Capitalism
Contents: The Evolution of Apartheid - The South African Legal Structure - The Drive for Racial Labor Laws - Market Manipulation to Support Apartheid - Apartheid: Rhetoric vs. Reality - Apartheid: A Triumph over Capitalism - Postcript for South Africans
The State Against Blacks
Partial contents: Discrimination Axioms and Discrimination Facts - Racial Terminology and Confusion - Minimum Wage, Maximum Folly - Occupational and Business Licensing - The Taxicab Industry - Economic Regulation by the States