Philadelphia was the nation’s capital in 1793. It had more than 50,000 people living in Old City (a one square mile block that contains our most precious historic buildings like Independence Hall). When the Yellow Fever plague arrived during the summer of 1793 it killed more than 5,000 Philadelphians. Today the Corona virus has claimed more than 45,000 across our massive country.
During this time of crisis Congress has been on Spring Break since April 4, and there is no telling when they will actually return to meet. In 1793, Hamilton recommended that Congress be moved from Congress Hall in Old City to Germantown. They and President Washington temporarily moved there and functioned there. In my opinion Hamilton would recommend that Congress meet in a state with a low concentration of Corona (like Florida) and do their jobs. He would recommend that the U.S. open up the economy in areas least affected.
Hamilton was known to promote government spending to infuse the economy to promote manufacturing like he did with his Report on Manufactures of 1791. Along with imposing tariffs on imported manufactured goods, Hamilton advocated tax breaks for manufactures setting up factories along the Passaic River in Patterson, NJ. He believed manufacturing was the best way to create wealth for a nation. His model was industrial Great Britain – the wealthiest nation in the world. Therefore today I believe Hamilton would be supportive of government assistance to small businesses and individuals of today. The difference would be how he would pay for it. Hamilton would have the government sell treasury bonds to fund the expenses. He would not use quantitative easing as the Federal Reserve Bank does today (creating money out of thin air by having the government buy back its own securities from private banks) to fund trillions of dollars of spending required as a result of the virus. Hamilton believed that money should be backed by gold, silver or bonds. He had no faith in printed money. The Continental Dollar, printed money, used by the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War became worthless by the end of the war in 1783. In addition he would also create a tax to offset this massive expenditure. In 1791 Hamilton created the Whiskey Tax. Today I believe he would implement a national sales tax to pay for these massive spending bills. Today our politicians are quick to run up debt and pass it on to future generations. Hamilton distinctly warned about passing debt down to future generations in Washington’s Farewell Speech which he wrote for the President Washington in 1796. A national sales tax is an inescapable tax that both rich and poor must pay. Since all Americans must spend money, there are no loopholes for the rich. In addition, it also taxes individuals who are being paid with “under-the-table” earnings. He would also suggest that the tax be a little greater than the planned expenditures in order to pay down previous debt which in our case happens to be $23 trillion dollars.
In his Report on Manufactures he urged Congress to promote manufacturing so that the U.S. could be “independent of foreign nations for military and other essential supplies.” Today, due to the globalist mentality sweeping the nation during the last 50 years, this country is too dependent on foreign imports for critical military and technical components, pharmaceutical medicines, and medical devices. This misdirected philosophy recently caused massive shortages of necessary “national security” items and created an increasingly dangerous level of vulnerability.
Alexander Hamilton was a financial genius who transformed America from a bankrupt 3d world banana republic to the super engine of the world. Since the 1930s Administrations slowly and methodically jettisoned his sound and proven economic systems and policies. With our great debt and recent economic policies we run the risk of bankrupting and collapsing this country once again. It is not fair to our young people who had no say in these massive spending packages, yet are going to have to pay these deficits. Besides getting a ticket to watch the Hamilton play (most popular play EVER) at Richard Rogers Theatre on Broadway perhaps a closer look is warranted into Hamilton’s economic policies by our leaders, economic advisors and teachers/professors.
Joseph Fabrizio, Major, U.S. Marine Corps (ret), Hamilton Briefer