Yesterday’s third class session of Power Line University went through Federalist 11 through 23, drawing out in particular some of Hamilton’s reflections on taxation that remain relevant to some of our tax debates today (especially Lizzie Warren’s proposed wealth tax), and also Hamilton’s very spirited attack on European politics (and colonialism!) that none of today’s ridiculous “de-colonizers” ever reference because they don’t know about it, and wouldn’t like in any case once they see the principles behind Hamilton’s critique.

We also have a lively argument about whether or why Hamilton’s thoughts about how the new national government would not be interested in usurping or commandeering the power of the states, or in regulating in detail the lives of citizens, might have been mistaken, which has fresh relevance at the very moment the federal government was talking about taking away our gas stoves. Lucretia also let Steve sneak in some Scottish Enlightenment material from David Hume as background to the “extended republican” hypothesis.

You can watch the episode if you want to read the text along with us at this YouTube link.

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  1. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash

    Steve’s thoughts on income tax and so-called sin taxes is something I thought about many years ago. I wondered why the reasoning for raising taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, soda, etc. (to reduce consumption of those products) wouldn’t also apply to income. Wouldn’t higher tax rates on income result in reduced income production?

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  2. Quickz Member

    Finally getting around to listening. I actually went over to Powerline and clicked on the YouTube link and followed along this time,  that only added to the value. 

    I wanted to comment on @lucretia side on Federalist 33 where she mentions Madison stressed that it’s up to the people to police/guard their government. Agreed that he imagined we would do this through direct elections of representatives (House), state pressures through their representatives (Senate), the selecting of a president, and I’m sure other methods as well…

    …BUT, I think this highlights the nefarious and unaccountable nature of the Administrative State that will grow over time – it is not directly accountable as were the other branches, and like the Progressive politics mentioned earlier was not on Madison’s radar at all. Really highlights the dangers of allowing the Federal government to grow in this way. I imagine he would say that was unconstitutional.

    I assume this ability for the Federal government to engage in this bureaucratic action started its big leaps forward via the actions taken during and after the Civil War and then again in the Progressive era to this day? Maybe this is more of a Marini question. 

    Anyway love the university and really got me eager to engage with y’all on this Administrative State rabbit hole.


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