Born in Philadelphia in 1936, Walter E. Williams holds a bachelor's degree in economics from California State University (1965) and a master's degree (1967) and doctorate (1972) in economics from the University of California at Los Angeles.
In 1980, he joined the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and is currently the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics. He has also served on the faculties of Los Angeles City College (1967-69), California State University (1967-1971) and Temple University (1973-1980). From 1963 to 1967, he was a group supervisor of juvenile delinquents for the Los Angeles County Probation Department.
More than 50 of his publications have appeared in scholarly journals such as Economic Inquiry, American Economic Review and Social Science Quarterly and popular publications such as Reader's Digest, The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek. He has made many TV and radio appearances on such programs as Milton Friedman's "Free to Choose," William F. Buckley's "Firing Line," "Face The Nation," "Nightline" and "Crossfire."
He is also the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
In 1981, he began writing his weekly column called "A Minority View" for Heritage Features Syndicate. And in 1991, he joined Creators Syndicate as part of its friendly takeover of Heritage Features.
Williams sits on many advisory boards, including the Review Board of Economics Studies for the National Science Foundation, the Research Foundation, the National Tax Limitation Committee, the Taxpayer's Foundation and the Hoover Institution.
The awards and honors Williams have received are many. These include the National Fellow at the Hoover Institute of War, Revolution, and Peace; the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship; the National Service Award from the Institute for Socioeconomic Studies; and the George Washington Medal of Honor from the Valley Forge Freedom Foundation. In 1984-1985, he received the Faculty Member of the Year Award from the George Mason University Alumni. He is also a member of the American Economic Association, the Mont Pelerin Society and is a Distinguished Scholar of the Heritage Foundation.
Williams participates in many debates and conferences, is a frequent public speaker and often gives testimony before both houses of Congress.
When gasoline sold at record prices, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said, "I think it's time to say to these people, 'Stop ripping off the American people.'" When the average price of regular gas was close to $4 a gallon, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for Congress to look into breaking up giant oil companies. The claim was that "Wall Street greed (was) fueling high gas prices."
Leftists and progressives believe that the U.S. should become more like Europe. They praise Europe's massive welfare state, socialized medicine and stifling economic regulation and accept its unwillingness to defend itself against barbarism.
"Whether one is a conservative or a radical, a protectionist or a free trader, a cosmopolitan or a nationalist, a churchman or a heathen, it is useful to know the causes and consequences of economic phenomena." That quotation, from Nobel laureate George J. Stigler, is how Dr. Thomas Sowell begins the fifth edition of "Basic Economics."
Last week's column focused on the ways liberals use blacks in pursuit of their leftist agenda, plus their demeaning attitudes toward black people. Most demeaning are their double standards.
Back in the day, when hunting was the major source of food, hunters often used stalking horses as a means of sneaking up on their quarry.
There is no question, though it's not acknowledged enough, that black Americans have made greater gains, over some of the highest hurdles and in a very short span of time, than any other racial group in mankind's history.
Last week, the Obama administration announced new curbs on racial profiling by federal law enforcement. Before deciding whether this is good or bad policy, we might try to develop a description/definition of racial profiling or any other kind of profiling.
President Barack Obama said just before the recent Ferguson, Missouri, riots, "First and foremost, we are a nation built on the rule of law."
In the medical profession, there is the admonition primum non nocere, the Latin expression for "first, do no harm." In order not to do harm, at the minimum, requires accurate diagnostics. Suppose a patient presents with abdominal pains, and the physician diagnoses it as caused by the patient's ingrown toenails. If that isn't the cause, the physician can spend all the resources he wants treating the patient's ingrown toenails and not remedy the patient's abdominal pains.
Jonathan Gruber, MIT economist and paid architect of Obamacare, has shocked and disgusted many Americans. In 2013, he explained to a University of Pennsylvania audience: "This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure (the Congressional Budget Office) did not score the mandate as taxes.
Suppose you saw a person driving his car on the wrong side of a highway, against the traffic. Would you call him a stupid and/or incompetent driver? You say, "Williams, what kind of question is that? Of course he's one or the other!" I'd say, "Hold your horses. What are his intentions?" If the driver's intentions are to cause highway calamity, one can hardly call his actions stupid or incompetent. Given his intentions, he is wisely acting in a manner to achieve his objectives.
It would be unreasonable to expect a student with the reading, writing and computing abilities of an eighth-grader to do well in college. If such a student were admitted, his retention would require that the college create dumbed-downed or phantom courses. The University of North Carolina made this accommodation; many athletes were enrolled in phantom courses in the department of African and African-American studies. The discovery and resulting scandal are simply the tip of the iceberg and a symptom of a much larger problem.
In more than three-quarters of the 56 Atlanta schools investigated, teachers changed student answers on academic achievement tests. Cheating orders came directly from school administrators. The cheating was brazen.
Ebola threatens the very existence of the West African nations Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Moreover, the deadly disease is likely to spread to neighboring nations.
So as to give some perspective, I'm going to ask readers for their guesses about human behavior before explaining my embarrassment by some of my fellow economists.
The Food and Drug Administration can make two types of errors. It can approve a drug that has dangerous unanticipated side effects, or it can reject or delay approval of a drug that is safe and effective. Let's look at these errors, because to err on the side of under- or over-caution is costly.
This kind of anti-American teaching might help explain why some Americans have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), sometimes called ISIS or IS, is a Sunni extremist group that follows al-Qaida's anti-West ideology and sees a holy war against the West as a religious duty.
How many times have we heard laments such as "women are 50 percent of the population but only 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs" and, as the Justice Department recently found, "blacks are 54 percent of the population in Newark, New Jersey, but 85 percent of pedestrian stops and 79 percent of arrests"?
German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that in Germany, multiculturalism has "utterly failed."
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