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BLOG: Death of an honest pundit

Tom Jackson • Nov 1, 2011 at 5:34 PM

You've probably never heard of him, but William A. Niskanen, dead at age 78, was a rare, valuable creature: A Washington D.C. pundit who always tried to tell the truth.

The New York Times headlined his death as that of a "Blunt Libertarian Economist," while author Gene Healy called him "the most honest man in Washington."

The Times obit recounts how Niskanen was fired from his job as chief economist for Ford when he opposed the company's efforts to put restrictions on Japanese imports. "A common commitment to refrain from special favors serves the same economic function as a common commitment to refrain from stealing," he wrote.

Mr. Niskanen made himself unpopular with conservatives by opposing the Iraq war before it began. "An unnecessary war is an unjust war," he said.

A video (hat tip, David Boaz).

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