Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Framers

Josh Marshall's rag has taken a stab at historical analogy:

In it, he opines that the today's Tea Party types are really more akin to the people who opposed the Constitution than the ones who framed it.  They are Anti-Federalists obsessing about states' rights and rights being impinged upon by the federal government.  He even finds some brain droppings from Amity Shlaes, Amateur Historian, who has proposed reviving the Articles of Confederation taxation model.

It is worth noting however that many Anti-Federalists agreed that the Articles taxation methods were failing.

So Shlaes - and by extension Kevin Hassett of the AEI and (wait for it) the Romney campaign - are actually arguing for something so odious most Anti-Federalists were appalled by it.

One can argue that Madison, for instance, careened from Federalist to Anti within a few short years, and that's true.  Madison was suspicious of power wherever it lay.  Under the Articles, it lay with the states and to such an extent that there was no effective national government.  Once the national government became - in Madison's eyes - too powerful under Hamilton, then Madison changed his tune.

But what Shlaes and Hassett are effectively arguing for is a Eurozone for the US.  One currency for the entire nation, but different fiscal realities for the sub-units.  As Shlaes blithely says, "the details can be worked out later", but we have the details and the reality of trying to divorce fiscal, macroeconomic and monetary policies from each other.  Ask the Greeks - or better yet the Spaniards and Irish - how that works out.

Of course this comes from the woman who assures us that FDR made the Depression worse, so... Stupid is as stupid does, I guess.

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