The AHA! Blog

The Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society (The AHA Society) was established to provide extensive and accurate information on one of the United States' most influential Founding Fathers - Alexander Hamilton. The AHA! blog discusses present-day articles, events, and projects that focus on Alexander Hamilton.
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In reaction to an editorial by Senator Orrin Hatch on the importance of a “strong role for the Senate in the nomination process” for Presidential appointments, Jazz Shaw wrote a piece exploring Alexander Hamilton’s views on the Senate’s role in nominations as expressed in Federalist No. 76:

[I]n the case of advice and consent, Alexander Hamilton left us a pretty good road map in Federalist 76. He starts out with an explanation which, at first glance, actually makes it sound like it was their intention for the President to do all of the picking because he would be more qualified to the task.

Those who have themselves reflected upon the subject, or who have attended to the observations made in other parts of these papers, in relation to the appointment of the President, will, I presume, agree to the position, that there would always be great probability of having the place supplied by a man of abilities, at least respectable. Premising this, I proceed to lay it down as a rule, that one man of discernment is better fitted to analyze and estimate the peculiar qualities adapted to particular offices, than a body of men of equal or perhaps even of superior discernment.

Hamilton supports this argument by saying that a single individual would not be subject to the distractions and internal fighting that any committee would be subject to, and as such could make appointment decisions with greater clarity of mind. So why not eliminate the role of the Senate entirely? On the one hand, he felt that such an advisory role was a prudent precaution, but he also demonstrated a complete lack of ability in prognostication when he claimed that it shouldn’t matter, because the Senate would hardly ever shoot down a Presidential nomination to begin with.

But might not his nomination be overruled? I grant it might, yet this could only be to make place for another nomination by himself. The person ultimately appointed must be the object of his preference, though perhaps not in the first degree. It is also not very probable that his nomination would often be overruled. The Senate could not be tempted, by the preference they might feel to another, to reject the one proposed; because they could not assure themselves, that the person they might wish would be brought forward by a second or by any subsequent nomination. They could not even be certain, that a future nomination would present a candidate in any degree more acceptable to them; and as their dissent might cast a kind of stigma upon the individual rejected, and might have the appearance of a reflection upon the judgment of the chief magistrate, it is not likely that their sanction would often be refused, where there were not special and strong reasons for the refusal.

Hamilton’s judgement about why it would mostly be foolish to oppose a nomination is a solid one. If you succeed in defeating the choice, you don’t get to pick the replacement, so you’ll probably get more of the same if not worse. Where he failed was in his prediction that this would prevent the Senate from often defeating them, which should come as hilarious news to any Democrat in 2005 or any Republican today.

But in the end, Hamilton registered the final word on why the Senate is not a rubber stamp. (A concern expressed by Hatch in his editorial above.)

To what purpose then require the co-operation of the Senate? I answer, that the necessity of their concurrence would have a powerful, though, in general, a silent operation. It would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity. In addition to this, it would be an efficacious source of stability in the administration.

And there you have it. Even if it is eventually slimmed down to nothing more than a requirement for rounding up 51 votes with no debate, the reason for the role of the Senate is right there for us. And unless you plan on amending the Constitution in direct defiance of what the Founders expressed, that’s how it’s going to stay.

Read the full article.

*Note: Third-party articles or posts quoted on the AHA! blog are shared in order to explore contemporary discussion of Alexander Hamilton. The Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society does not guarantee that all information contained in these articles is accurate. The opinions expressed in the source article do not necessarily represent the views held by the AHA Society or its members. 

Jim Manzi in the magazine Foreign Affairs discusses the need for an “updated version of the American System.” The article includes a historic overview of the American school tradition of government and innovation with roots in Alexander Hamilton’s economic programs: 

…[S]ignificant government overlays have always existed to reinforce our free economy. Indeed, the federal government has been active in shaping specific kinds of innovation since the first months of the republic, when Alexander Hamilton published his epochal 1791 Report on Manufactures. The Report proposed subsidies and protections for developing manufacturing industries — the high-tech sector of its day — to be paid for by tariffs.

The debate about these recommendations was strikingly modern. Hamilton shared in the reigning American consensus in favor of free markets, but advocated for an exception in the case of manufacturing. His case was rooted in sophisticated externality arguments. Manufacturing, he argued, would allow for a far more efficient division of labor and better matching of talents and capacities to occupations, would create an additional market for agricultural products, and would encourage immigration to further extend each of these benefits. All of this would be immensely useful to the new nation, and it was only sensible for the government to actively encourage it. The opponents of Hamilton’s plan emphasized the public-choice problems with subsidizing specific sectors and businesses, especially the potential for corruption and sectional favoritism. Broadly speaking, the tariffs were implemented, but not the subsidies. In fact, the tariffs quickly became much higher than those Hamilton had proposed, as political constituencies grew up around them.

Despite his suggestions being only partially implemented, Hamilton’s basic insight — that the enormous economic value that innovative industries could offer the nation merited public efforts to enable their success — has always had strong adherents in national politics. In the decades leading up to the Civil War, for instance, the federal government intervened strategically in markets to spur innovation, immediately and frequently exercised its constitutionally enumerated power to grant patents, and even encouraged and protected Americans who stole industrial secrets from Britain — at the time the world leader in manufacturing technology.

Read the full article.

*Note: Third-party articles or posts quoted on the AHA! blog are shared in order to explore contemporary discussion of Alexander Hamilton. The Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society does not guarantee that all information contained in these articles is accurate. The opinions expressed in the source article do not necessarily represent the views held by the AHA Society or its members. 

Joseph Cotto from Communities Digital News traces the history and principles of the American School of economics from Alexander Hamilton to Henry Clay up through Jackson’s presidency:

When it comes to economics, most of today’s politicians are caught between two schools: Austrian and Keynesian.

The first calls for unfettered free market capitalism, meaning no minimum wage or labor rights, and the second demands that the government more or less control the economy with massive infusions of capital.

Elements of each school have been tried over the last hundred or so years, and while they sometimes provided for short-term gains, trouble was the end result. This is a gross understatement, however. The finer details were discussed in this column yesterday.

Fortunately, there is a viable alternative to the extreme nature of Austro-Keynesian America. This school worked well for our country; in fact, it was what allowed it to become the world’s economic superpower. Considering this, its name should come as no surprise.

In order to fully understand the American School, one must go back to its late eighteenth century beginnings.

These are manifested in a man, Alexander Hamilton, and his manuscript, the Report of Manufactures. As a Founding Father, philosopher, and inaugural Treasury secretary, he strongly believed that the United States would never gain full socioeconomic autonomy unless comprehensive financial independence were achieved.

This could come about through the presence of a strong federal government capable of promoting viable educational opportunities, incentives for domestic capitalism, and sufficient public welfare programs. Hamilton reasoned that all of these, and much more, combined would form an economy so vigorous and inherently self-promoting that the nation would never be forced to rely on another to solve its problems.

Read full article.

*Note: Third-party articles or posts quoted on the AHA! blog are shared in order to explore contemporary discussion of Alexander Hamilton. The Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society does not guarantee that all information contained in these articles is accurate. The opinions expressed in the source article do not necessarily represent the views held by the AHA Society or its members. 

Tomorrow (April 2nd) is the anniversary of when Congress passed the Coinage Act of 1792 that officially created the US Mint. A recent article by Ronald C. Green, Houston City Controller, explores the importance of the US Mint and reminds us of Alexander Hamilton’s important role in its creation:

This April 2 marks the 221st anniversary of the creation of the U.S. Mint, certainly one of the milestones in our nation’s history.

We frequently take money for granted. In truth, we actually handle actual money less and less as we depend more and more on credit and debit cards and on-line purchasing — but these are not “money”; they are merely “assurances” that we have the money to pay for the items later.

Personally, I really like looking at the artistry on American currency. Take, for example, the $2 bill, with the portrait of Thomas Jefferson and the illustration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence; it’s a wonderful glimpse into our nation’s beginning. In fact, each U.S. currency —bill and coin— is a small history lesson with the illustrations of the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the U.S. Treasury Building, The U.S. Capitol and Independence Hall in Philadelphia and, of course, portraits of our presidents and founders. And at our house, we’ve taken great pleasure in collecting all 52 state quarters. Our currency — coins and bills — is truly emblematic of our nation’s ideals.

It was early on in our republic that the need for a national currency became evident. President Washington and his Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton believed the young country very much needed a respected currency, backed by precious metals, and presented plans to Congress for construction of a facility that would mint the currency in Philadelphia, then our nation’s capital. Congress passed The Coinage Act on April 2, 1792, and the U.S. Mint became the first building constructed by the new government.

As I said, nowadays we take money for granted — not money itself, but the concept of money. Believe me, life would be difficult if we lacked a national currency. Think about it. Say that I wanted to get my son a new bicycle, and (lacking currency) I need to trade something to someone who has a bike; I decide to trade two seats to a Rockets’ game. But now it can get difficult. I need to find someone who has a bike that I think my son would like, but that person must be someone who wants to go to a basketball game; then we must negotiate the trade, agreeing that the two tickets are a fair exchange for the bike. This is called the “double coincidence” of trade and requires that both “seller” and “buyer” agree on the worth of their separate items.

Currency solves all that because currency is the recognized medium of exchange or trade. In truth, all the “items” in our lives have a currency “worth,” or value — our homes, autos, jackets, shoes, the food in our pantries, the various tools we use to communicate with each other. (Of course, there are certain things we have that are “priceless” — the scrapbooks with photos of our children through the years, our beloved pets, an engagement ring.)

But let me return to currency. The U.S. Mint, part of the U.S. Treasury Department, is headquartered in Washington DC, and has four locations that actually produce our coin currency, in Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, and West Point, N.Y. A sixth facility of the U.S. Mint is the gold bullion depository in Fort Knox, Ky.

But, citing the U.S. Constitution, Congress was given the power to “coin money”; the U.S. Mint produces only our coins. Our bills, or notes, are produced by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s facilities in Washington D.C. and Fort Worth. The Bureau was created in 1861, with workers printing and trimming sheets of “demand notes”; the Bureau also produces our postage stamps. The work the Bureau has done to prevent counterfeiting is an exciting story in itself, and the new bills of $10 denominations and higher are boldly designed.

(Perhaps you have heard about the recent phenomenon “bitcoins,” a new kind of private, decentralized digital currency not backed by the U.S. government. Bitcoin purchases are anonymous; there is no record of the seller or buyer, which is why bitcoins have been tied to some illicit purchasing. The concept, and usage, of bitcoins is still too new to predict if it may become a kind of stable “currency,” at least electronically, or if it can remain unregulated.)

The Federal Reserve Bank, which is often confused with the U.S. Mint, was created in 1913 with the mission of setting the nation’s monetary policies and regulating banking procedures, but not the actual making of money. The “Fed” is responsible for the “soundness” of our dollar. Nearly all countries have their own form of currency, but the U.S. dollar is the envy of most of the world’s economies, and most currencies are measured in strength against the dollar. The Federal Reserve Bank branch on Allen Parkway offers an informative and enlightening tour, and you can see loads of money there.

Growing up, many of us had a piggy bank or something similar, and we were encouraged to save — just as were George Washington and Alexander Hamilton when they were youngsters. The pennies and nickels and dimes we kept in our savings were symbolic, and emblematic, of our future promise. We saved to perhaps buy a bicycle, for a school trip or for our college education. The piggy bank became heavier with coins, and we found great pride in our “worth.” There’s something very American about that.

So, the next time you pay for something in cash, take just a moment to look at the currency you are exchanging. There’s a great deal of history — and genius — behind it. Indeed, Washington and Hamilton’s insistence on the creation of a national currency was the first step in making the greatest and longest lasting economy in history. [Source]

While we are celebrating American currency and its history, read about Alexander Hamilton’s appearance on US currency over the years. Did you know that he has been featured on more denominations of US bills than any other person? Discover more here.

A recent OP-ED piece in Forbes referred to Alexander Hamilton’s writings in a look at individual rights v. federal government power in the debate on the recent “Hobby Lobby/Obamacare Supreme Court hearing”:

When it came time to craft the Constitution, our Founders did so in large part to curb the excessive actions of the state governments. They wrote the Contract Clause of the Constitution, a pivotal clause to them at the time, to stop the state governments from overriding a person’s right to contract.

Beyond that, our Founders believed that the Constitution set forth what government was allowed to do. They gave the federal government the power to do a certain number of limited actions. So circumscribed was the power of the federal government, the Founders balked at the need of a Bill of Rights.

According to Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No 84, a Bill of Rights “would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed?”

In short, Hamilton and others thought there was no need for a Bill of Rights for Americans because government had no power to act except in limited ways. Once the Bill of Rights was enacted, the 9th Amendment ensured that the failure to name any one right would not diminish those unnamed – it was an entire amendment to protect all of our Rights.

Read the full article.

*Note: Third-party articles or posts quoted on the AHA! blog are shared in order to explore contemporary discussion of Alexander Hamilton. The Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society does not guarantee that all information contained in these articles is accurate. The opinions expressed in the source article do not necessarily represent the views held by the AHA Society or its members. 

The previous AHA! blog post featured an interview with Vitor Gaspar, special advisor to the Banco de Portugal and former Minister of Finance of Portugal, on the lessons we can learn from Alexander Hamilton. This blog post is a follow-up to his interview, with an exploration of his recent talks on Alexander Hamilton.

Last November, Vitor Gaspar spoke on “The search for fiscal discipline and financial integration in the euro area: lessons from US history” for Bruegel, a European think tank specializing in economics. 

The presentation discussed how the US solved the challenge of honoring the debt accumulated during the War of Independence. The possibility of federal insolvency was one of the main motivations leading to the 1789 Constitution. A key priority was to establish Public Credit.

The problem was addressed in a comprehensive way. Alexander Hamilton thought throught the main elements of a financial program in the 1780s. He then went on to implemented as the first secretary of the US Treasury. That gave the US one of the most advanced financial systems in the world fostering growth and development.

But the years from 1789 to the 1930s were eventful. The US experienced episodes of financial crises and financial fragmentation. The interaction between financial policies and politics was pervasive.

US financial history helps the understanding of financial integration, financial stability and crises, fiscal profligacy and discipline. The process is particularly interesting when looked at from an European perspective. [read full article]

More recently, Vitor Gaspar spoke as a part of the SAFE (Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe) Policy Center lecture series, The topic was “The Making of a Continental Financial System: Lessons from Early American History”. 

In his presentation, Vítor Gaspar reviewed answers from Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury in the United States (1789 to 1793), to perennial questions: Why pay for public debts? How to establish trust and credibility in financial markets? And, finally: how to restore financial stability in the face of financial panic?

These are also fundamental questions for Europe today, and Gaspar emphasized that the recourse to history can help in the search for solutions. He expressed his deep admiration for the visionary ideas of Alexander Hamilton and his tremendous performance in counterbalancing the 1792 financial panic. Hamilton was the intellectual architect of a more centralized monetary control by the federal government, the founder of the first Bank of the United States and an early precursor of the “lender of last resort” doctrine.

From his historical analysis, Gaspar deduces five lessons for current challenges. The first lesson is that fiscal policy, finance and politics are closely interrelated. The sovereign debt crises in the euro area illustrate the co-evolutionary nature of fiscal policy, finance and politics, both at the national and at the international levels. And as a systemic crisis requires systemic solutions, it would be necessary to adopt policy measures in an integrated way – as Hamilton did.

The second lesson is a strong case to give priority to public credit, to pay for the public debt and to give priority to sustaining public credit. Hamilton’s case was based on broad political arguments: he regarded the ability to sustain public credit as a summary indicator of the quality of government and a condition for political stability. He also spelled out an economic and financial argument based on the effects on the Treasury and the country’s access to finance with broader implications on economic activity and growth.

The third lesson is that public credit must be grounded on the fundamentals of fiscal sustainability. In the case of the US it was necessary that the US Constitution substituted for the Articles of the Confederation and to build the capacity of federal government. In Europe, the fiscal governance of the euro area has been strengthened through the adoption of important EU legal acts (“six pack” and “two pack”). Nevertheless, the most important step was the Fiscal Compact. It aims at internalizing the European constraints into national governance frameworks. This will be decisive given the fact of the primacy of the national dimension of politics.

The fourth lesson is that smooth and quick transition requires active and skillful management. This is particularly so given the importance of perceptions and expectations. The transition must be so managed that perverse possible equilibrium paths are avoided.

The fifth lesson, finally, states that, as accidents are always possible, public finances and the financial system must be robust and resilient. The institutional framework underpinning budgetary discipline and financial stability must be designed so as to be able to stem episodes of financial panic and to exclude perverse self-fulfilling equilibria.

In 2009-2010, the euro area was unable to prevent financial fragmentation and a negative sovereign-bank credit risk feedback loop. Much progress has been made, but a lot remains to be done. Gaspar ended his lecture with a quote by Hamilton, who said that “though obstacles and delays will frequently stand in the way of the adoption of good measures, yet when once adopted, they are likely to be stable and permanent. It will be far more difficult to undo than to do.” Gaspar concluded that the situations in the US at that time and in Europe today illustrate the force of Hamilton’s insight. [read full article]

This insightful interview is with Vítor Gaspar, Adviser at Banco Portugal and the former Finance Minister of Portugal. He speaks about the lessons Europe can learn from Alexander Hamilton and Hamilton’s role in the building of the United States’ financial system. 

The interview was with Bruegel, a European think tank specializing in economics, from this part November. Vitor Gaspar went to Bruegel for an event called “The search for fiscal discipline and financial integration in the euro area: lessons from US history.”

Below, The AHA Society has provided an unofficial transcript of the interview. The italicized words are by the interviewer, and the emboldened words are Gaspar.

What was the main message from today’s seminar?

I think that the history of the start of the US financial system with Alexander Hamilton is not only a fascinating story in its own right, but also full of important lessons.

In your talk, you emphasized that Alexander Hamilton thought very much about sovereign debt, the importance of sovereign debt for the financial system and also the link between politics and the financial system in the United States and he developed the vision of how the US financial system would develop and what would be needed for a stable US financial system to develop. Perhaps you could explain to us what were Alexander Hamilton’s main arguments, how he wanted to actually create stable sovereign finance, stable sovereign debt, and how he saw the financial system to develop.

It is very interesting. There are two completely different aspects. First of all, during the 1780s, Alexander Hamilton listed a number of elements that US financial systems should have. The first element was sound public finances and a robust system of public debt management. The second element was a currency unit, a stable currency. The third was a central bank, the fourth was a banking system. The fifth was securities markets. And the last one was a mechanism to ensure the incorporation of businesses.  And for him, he had a true systemic approach that would put the financial system at the service of economic performance and economic growth in the United States. 

Now, it turned out that the way he had apply his program was very much shaped by circumstances and that’s the second aspect I was talking about. The circumstance was that because of debts incurred during what they called the “Glorious Cause,” and that was the War of Independence, the federal government in US, as Tom Sargent actually very much emphasized in his lecture, was effectively bankrupt. And so the Philadelphia Convention, the Constitution Convention was called to solve two major problems. Fragmentation of markets in North America, that was solved by the so-called commerce clause, and the public finance challenge. So the public finance challenge was the one that was first tackled in the order of the elements of the program of Hamilton for the national system. 

So what the Constitution did is by giving the government access to sources of fixed revenue, specifically trade tariffs, the sustainability of US public finances was guaranteed and that made it possible for the Treasury bond market in the US to normalize relatively rapidly and US Treasury bonds that were trading at very, very deep discounts started trading at par some three years after the approval of the US Constitution.

So what can we learn for Europe from this particular US experience. You mention that the national politics in Europe are still very important and will probably remain very important, and therefore it may be difficult to agree on a solution after the template of Alexander Hamilton, which, after all, was in the context of an already existing political union, which we obviously don’t have in Europe, so instead there could be other solutions for Europe and you have reflected on those solutions with more national sovereignty, but nevertheless an integrated financial system, perhaps even a novella clause at a national level, so what lessons can we really draw from this particular US experience?

What I can say is the following: in Europe, the importance of politics at the national level, what I normally like to call the primacy of the national dimension of politics is, in my view, substantially more important, much deeper than state politics in the US. Politics is always local. But, politics in European nation-states have a very, very long history and therefore, they are absolutely precious to the people of Europe. So that is something that I don’t see changing much within our generation. 

So the question, the lesson, which I think is most precious from Alexander Hamilton is, how can one establish a reputation for being the issuer of a safe asset? How can a sovereign create such a reputation? And what Alexander Hamilton did was, first of all, he managed the transition from a situation from near-bankruptcy to a situation of very, very high credibility in bond markets, internal and international, and he did it by actively managing public debt and by using the way he managed financial panics in 1791 and 1792 to create the very important precedent that US Treasury bonds were the ultimate safe asset, the ultimate collateral, allowing economic agents to get liquidity in a crisis situation.

That does show that within a limited period of time, it is possible to establish a reputation. And please bear  in mind that the US federal government has never defaulted on its Treasury bonds, and so it has a pristine reputation to defend nowadays, and that is something that I would call the heritage of Alexander Hamilton.

Last week, an international conference on the “economic, political and cultural future of the European Union” was held in Williamsburg and Washington, D.C. The conference, called “A Crisis and a Crossroads: A Dis-United or United States of Europe,” was hosted by William & Mary’s Reves Center for International Studies in cooperation with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (CW).

The modern-day discussion of Europe’s future as a federalist entity often draws comparisons to what the United States faced at its founding in the 1780s and 1790s. Alexander Hamilton, who was one of the champions of a united federal state over a loose confederation, is often featured prominently in these discussions, and this conference was no exception. 

From the William and Mary website: 

Experts on European affairs, including diplomats, academics, business leaders, economists and media representatives gathered for four days of private discussions and public panels to explore the state of the European Union and its future as a federalist entity.

[…] The forum included a live, public webcast of the March 17 panel discussing “A Union’s Greatest Challenges: Europe’s Future Path toward Economic Growth, Global Competitiveness and Addressing Debt,” which brought students and faculty from a number of U.S. universities, as well as interested individuals, to view the panel in real time. Former Under-Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment for the U.S. Department of State Robert Hormats spoke on the panel. He was joined by David Marsh, chairman and co-founder of Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) and Wolfgang Münchau, associate editor and European economic columnist for the Financial Times. Heather Conley, director and senior fellow of the CSIS Europe Program, acted as moderator for the panel, which explored advantages and disadvantages of independent national economic policies as opposed to a unified policy, like that which was implemented by the first U.S. Treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton.

As Stephen E. Hanson, vice provost for international affairs and director of the Reves Center for International Studies, noted about the conference:

 “Our discussions showed the remarkable continuing relevance of early debates about the nature of American federalism for contemporary discussions of the political, economic, social and cultural challenges facing the EU in the 21st century.”

Read complete article.

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The March 17th panel mentioned in the article above (“A Union’s Greatest Challenges: Europe’s Future Path toward Economic Growth, Global Competitiveness and Addressing Debt”) is available for viewing online. Here is the panel description:

As a fragile America emerged from the Revolutionary War in the late 18th century, a newly formed government had to address the varying degrees of indebtedness among the 13 states and balance the extent to which economic and financial authority should rest with the states or with federal institutions. Europe is struggling with similar issues in a 21st century context. Will Europe follow the Hamiltonian model and move toward more federal forms of banking and fiscal governance, or will European member states resist this federalization? Are there alternative visions that have yet to be explored?

Watch the full panel discussion online.

Alexander Hamilton, as the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, faced the daunting task of creating the federal financial system essentially from scratch. His financial programs were the result of intensive study, personal insight, complex understanding, and innovation. 

Broadcasting now are the results of the “Alexander Hamilton Awards” - awards that recognizes individuals who have followed Alexander Hamilton’s example with smart, innovative ideas in the field of treasury. From TreasuryandRisk.com: 

Today’s most successful treasury teams are no longer satisfied with fulfilling their traditional, siloed role in the organization. That’s a common denominator that stands out across all the winners of this year’s Alexander Hamilton Awards, presented by Treasury & Risk and sponsored by Kyriba and Strategic Treasurer.

Join us on March 27, at 2 p.m. ET, for a live webcast, during which we’ll announce the Alexander Hamilton Award winners in the category “Cash Management & Liquidity Optimization” and our finalists will describe how they brought their leading-edge projects to fruition.

[…] Each of this year’s winning projects started with a great idea in treasury. Then, through collaboration across departmental lines—and sometimes beyond corporate boundaries—these treasury teams moved their great ideas into the realm of true innovation. [read full article]

Congratulations to all of the winners of the Alexander Hamilton Award this year. 

In a guest article on News-Press.com, Gerald Peterson discusses his opinion as to why it is a problem when members of Congress pledge to not raise taxes during election races. In the article, Peterson evokes the experience of the Founding Fathers:

With a conscientious drive for fiscal responsibility, it may be possible to solve the federal budget deficit and the national debt, and along the way at least part of the gridlock problem. However, this will require setting aside ideology and utilizing some of our founding era principles and values.

During our founding era, because of the way the Articles of Confederation were worded, the Continental Congress could not raise revenues directly via taxes. The government was chronically underfunded during the American Revolution and leading up to the Constitutional Convention.

To solve this problem the Framers made the first power given to Congress the power to tax in order to pay the debt and provide for the common defense and the general welfare. The second power given was the power to borrow.

Following up on this, the First Congress established a fiscal policy that funded the government’s operations as well as paid down a portion of the debt each year. Alexander Hamilton had been a longtime proponent of this fiscal policy and in Federalist Nos. 12 and 30 wrote that a government that was underfunded would not survive for very long.

The author concludes:

Candidates for public office need to be asked how simply balancing the budget will pay down the debt and what their plan is for paying down the debt.

A rational fiscal policy that fully funds the operations of the government and pays down the debt will eliminate deficits, reduce the debt and reduce gridlock.

Read the full article.

*Note: Third-party articles or posts quoted on the AHA! blog are shared in order to explore contemporary discussion of Alexander Hamilton. The Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society does not guarantee that all information contained in these articles is accurate. The opinions expressed in the source article do not necessarily represent the views held by the AHA Society or its members.