Today's Politicos vs The Words and Deeds of The Founders
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Comparing Vice Presidential Candidates

There is no part of the administration of government that requires extensive information and a thorough knowledge of the principles of political economy, so much as the business of taxation. The man who understands those principles best will be least likely to resort to oppressive expedients, or sacrifice any particular class of citizens to the procurement of revenue. It might be demonstrated that the most productive system of finance will always be the least burdensome. There can be no doubt that in order to a judicious exercise of the power of taxation, it is necessary that the person in whose hands it should be acquainted with the general genius, habits, and modes of thinking of the people at large, and with the resources of the country. And this is all that can be reasonably meant by a knowledge of the interests and feelings of the people. In any other sense the proposition has either no meaning, or an absurd one. And in that sense let every considerate citizen judge for himself where the requisite qualification is most likely to be found.   РAlexander Hamilton  in Federalist 35

Vice President Biden Congressman Paul Ryan
… folks look, AARP knows and the people with me here today know, the president knows, and I know, that the status quo is simply not acceptable, It’s totally unacceptable. And it’s completely unsustainable. Even if we wanted to keep it the way we have it now. It can’t do it financially, We’re going to go bankrupt as a nation. Now, people when I say that look at me and say, What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?” Biden said. The answer’s yes, I’m telling you. Borrowing and spending is not the way to prosperity. 

Here’s the problem if you keep raising tax rates: You slow down economic growth.

With regard to the principles of political economy, which of these two men, in Hamilton’s words “understands those principles best?”

3 comments

1 Curtice Mang { 09.21.12 at 3:13 pm }

As I mention in my book (in the chapter appropriately titled – Joe Biden: The Mouth That Bored), who know that spending yourself silly was the way to financial health? This concept of spending money to keep from going bankrupt was clearly lost on the Borders Books retail chain.

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2 Jeff Edelman { 09.23.12 at 6:42 pm }

I find it ironic, Martin, that you quote a man who was a proponent of deficit spending and selling bonds to finance the debt. Perhaps it’s time for a closer examination of Hamilton’s motives and sincerity with regards to what he wrote in the Federalist’s Papers.

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Martin Reply:

None of the Founders were perfect. Hamilton’s motives were pure and his sacrifices genuine. He would not have advocated a debt as proportionally large as the one we now have. He was undeniably a brilliant intellect, but he was also a product of his time and experience.

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