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Kogan's Cushion and Alexander Hamilton - Elf M. Sternberg
Kogan's Cushion and Alexander Hamilton
It's fun that Hamilton is becoming a much talked-about issue these days, at least as a Broadway play, because there's been a lot of revived interest in what Hamilton thought about the national debt.

Hamilton thought the debt was fantastic. While Madison was deathly afraid the of the US being in debt to foreign powers, a valid fear after watching what happened to other countries when they tried to use debt to pay for their wars, Hamilton believed that domestic debt would unify the country by giving the wealthy an incentive to support the government in defiance of the radical, egalitarian movements built into Jefferson's agrarian philosophy. Hamilton was first and foremost an urbanist who believed in trade, mercantilism, and capitalism.

Panic over the size of the national debt is a regular topic of conversation. Liberals argue they want to use the debt mechanism wisely, and conservatives scream loudly about the size of the debt. Going back all the way to 1792, though, the US's economic growth has always averaged greater than what it costs to service the debt. The government accounting office always assume the opposite is true, and is always excessively pessimistic about the ability of the US to continue in this tradition.

But most of our debt is still domestically owned, and as Kogan's Cushion points out, we shouldn't be so pessimistic we can't, as a country, do what needs doing.
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