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Hamilton's Curse: How Jefferson's Arch Enemy Betrayed the American Revolution--and What It Means for Americans Today Paperback – December 8, 2009
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About the Author
THOMAS J. DILORENZO is the author of The Real Lincoln and How Capitalism Saved America. A professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, he has written for the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, Reader’s Digest, Barron’s, and many other publications. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
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To understand many of Hamilton's statements cited by DiLorenzo, the national context needs to be understood. First of all, the Articles of Confederation had just failed by leaving the central government without the ability to collect revenue, yet the duty of protecting national security. The entire nation understood this, which is why they called for the Annapolis Convention.
I am enamored by the writing style however. It is simple and easy to read. Bold and wild assertions abound, and the use of citations is laughable. The conversation on page 18 about the Supremacy Clause could be used as a good example. For background, here is the Supremacy Clause:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.
DiLorenzo's interpretation of this statement is that it primarily serves as a reminder that "the United States" is not a central government but a confederacy of states "that would delegate a few select powers to the central government, primarily for national defense and foreign affairs." Further, that the central government's laws would not necessarily trump state laws, and that the enumerated powers were the only powers. What a reading! Yes, it is true that the Tenth Amendment speaks to the enumerative nature of federal powers, but to attempt to read it into the Supremacy Clause is a stretch to breaking.
Finally, the conservative lens of the book reinforces the lack of neutrality. Within pages, Reagan is touted as believing that "government is usually the problem, not the solution." Just google "federal outlays per capita by president adjusted for inflation" or "annualized growth in federal spending". Discover that Reagan was not the small government hero he is lauded to be. The fight between Hamilton and Jefferson is in no way a conservative-progressive fight, but a federalist fight. Jefferson didn't much concern himself with the kinds of laws, but their origin.
DiLorenzo does a capable job examining the origins of corporate welfare, crony capitalism, Fed counterfeiting and the decline of strict constructionism.
Interesting ideas though some need better support:
- bank of US was created and shut down several times before the fed was created
- fed provided funding which allowed US to get into WW1 which led to WW2
- whole idea of mercantilism (which should have been better defined / described and why it is bad ...)
- having feds take responsibility of war bonds and later other welfare programs strengthens it as it will later then need the tax revenue to give the welfare back to the states
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Loaned mine out to someone along the way and it never came back. I will certainly be purchasing another.Read more