Hamilton's Revenge, or, Issa Gets No Respect (Again)

Does first secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, who held the title of history's greatest monster until Jimmy Carter took it away from him, deserve a second look? Aye, says Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California), emotional tinderbox, auto enthusiast and unrequited mastermind of the 2003 California gubernatorial recall.

In the American Spectator, Issa writes that Hamilton "drafted numerous provisions to ensure solvency, transparency and fiscal restraint on the part of the federal government."

 That's in sharp distinction to the current guy, as the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform explains in his jeremiad against the AIG bailout:

An unprecedented power-grab by the Paulson/Geithner Treasury has spent an unparalleled amount of money to purchase a failing financial giant with no accountability, no return on the investment and no end in sight...

In September 2008, Geithner engineered the government's purchase of an 80% share in AIG for the handsome sum of $85 billion, the amount necessary to prevent the company from entering bankruptcy. Losses continued to mount, however, and more federal dollars were needed.

Total cost of AIG's bailout to date? A staggering $185 billion -- or roughly $1400 per U.S. taxpayer. Yet today, according to AIG's own numbers, the company is worth less than $6 billion, and this after posting the largest quarterly loss in corporate history. Nevertheless, the problems at AIG extend beyond the balance sheets.

Describing the arsenal of legal protections and self-dealing opportunities packed into the deal, Issa concludes that the AIG bailout leaves "U.S. taxpayers holding a paper company with no market capitalization and drowning in debt -- all without any legal recourse."

Sadly, Issa, like Alan Arkin in Glengarry Glen Ross, meets Gestapo tactics everywhere he goes. In the comments to the Spectator piece, readers you'd expect to be sympathetic to a GOP tirade heap nothing but scorn on Issa. Don't let the bastards get you down, Darrell. Keep on raging.

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  • Elemenope||

    Does first secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, who held the title of history's greatest monster until Jimmy Carter took it away from him, deserve a second look?

    WTF?

  • Brian Lockwood||

    Simpson's Episode 80: "Marge in Chains"

  • T||

    who held the title of history's greatest monster until Jimmy Carter took it away from him

    Carter was just a well-intentioned schmuck who was completely incompetent at the job to which he had been elected. The Peter Principle at its finest.

  • ||

    LRC needs to relax, smoke some taxed dope, and chillout. While Hamilton was no Ron Paul, he was far more libertarian than any president of the past one hundred years.

  • tarran||

    While Hamilton was no Ron Paul, he was far more libertarian than any president of the past one hundred years.


    What the hell are you smoking?
    How many presidents in the past 100 years have had the U.S. army attack U.S. citizens? Other than Woodrow Wilson, Coolidge, Hoover, Roosevelt, LBJ, and Clinton, that is.

  • ||

    If you type in "history's greatest monster" in Google, the very first result explains it.

  • ||

    Washington was president during the Whiskey Rebellion. Not Hamilton. Nice try though.

  • ||

    Total cost of AIG's bailout to date? A staggering $185 billion -- or roughly $1400 per U.S. taxpayer. Yet today, according to AIG's own numbers, the company is worth less than $6 billion, and this after posting the largest quarterly loss in corporate history. Nevertheless, the problems at AIG extend beyond the balance sheets.

    I can't imagine how people could defend this...

    I should go look at the blog comments...should be interesting

  • robc||

    Voros,

    It explains the Carter reference, which everyone already knew. The question is about the Hamilton reference.

    I just refer to him as America's founding statist.

    Props to Liberty magazine for that one.

  • ||

    """"
    I can't imagine how people could defend this..."""

    People have defended far more horrible things than that, especially if they have an invested interest in wanting to believe.

  • tarran||

    Washington was president during the Whiskey Rebellion. Not Hamilton. Nice try though.



    The Whiskey Tax was Hamilton's baby. I doubt George Washington would have launched the invasion if Hamilton hadn't had a hard-on to go string up some yokely who refused to pay his tax.

    No doubt, Brandybuck, you failed to notice that I was responding to someone who was comparing Hamilton to 20th century presidents.

  • tarran||

    Whoops, you were the one comparing Hamilton to past U.S. presidents.

    I think I just ran afoul of one of RC's Iron Laws of the Internet.

  • ||

    No, no, no. There is RC'z Law (of teh intertubes): A typo is likely to be more entertaining/insightful than the intended text.

    And there are the Iron Laws, the first and greatest of which is: You get more of what you reward, and less of what you punish.

    Although I am mulling an adding an Ur-Law, Iron Law Zero: Results Count.

  • ||

    Carter was just a well-intentioned schmuck who was completely incompetent at the job to which he had been elected.

    You have to admit he held it at a very inopportune time. If Reagan got elected in 1976 he probably would have been as reviled as Carter is now.

    Carter deregulated interstate trucking and the airlines...that's more for the libertarian cause than either of the Bushes did.

  • ||

    Fiscal restraint? Wasn't it Hamilton who perpetrated the first massive inflation by the Bank of the United States?

    -jcr

  • ||

    Carter deregulated interstate trucking and the airlines..

    Nope. Congress deregulated those industries while Carter was president. Whether he was for or against it is irrelevant.

    -jcr

  • Mike||

    So was Washington supposed to do nothing and let the Whiskey rebels win? If they had, the Federal government would soon have been in the position where all of its taxes would have been ignored. Before you say, "Great, no taxes!", remember that the states would still have been able to tax. The alternative to the Federal Constitution of 1787 was not a libertarian paradise. The alternative was having a bunch of small states constantly in conflict with each other like Europe. The Federalists did their job, uniting the country (OK, except for that Civil War thing).

    Yes, the Federalists did want to go too far, and I am very glad that Jefferson and the Republicans won in 1800, but it wasn't until the 20th century that the size of the Federal Government really got to be a problem.

    We can thank Jefferson for helping make America free, and Hamilton for helping make America a united superpower.

  • Elemenope||

    If you type in "history's greatest monster" in Google, the very first result explains it.

    Ah. That must have been the period where my Simpsons viewing lapsed.

    For the record, Hamilton was an anti-freedom aristocratic douche, and while Burr may have been batshit insane, he did us all a favor.

  • Elemenope||

    Nope. Congress deregulated those industries while Carter was president. Whether he was for or against it is irrelevant.

    He did install Volcker at the fed. So, there's that.

  • ||

    What is especially appalling about the AIG bailout is the number of people collecting on naked CDSes. These people didn't put up any collateral in the first case. They are just collecting, effectively, their roulette winnings.
    And what is worse is that their idenities are disguised behind AIG, as the primary bailout recipient.

    If a bankruptcy court were handling this, the naked CDS holders would be treated like unsecured creditors and get zero.

  • ||

    Hey guys, just a brief history lesson. Hamilton didn't inflate the currency, the continental was already debauched by revolution-spurred inflation and the tactical counterfeiting program done by the redcoats. Hamilton's first bank was chartered to resolve the issue and return the nation to the gold/silver standard, which it DID. However, Hamilton did want to keep it around, but he was not allowed to.

    The founders were wise to charter the first national bank with the clause that it was not to buy any government bonds. And that has made all the difference.

  • ||

    I've always thought Big Al got a raw deal. BTW, I recommend the Ron Chernow bio very highly.

  • Bob A||

    Geithner looks exactly like Beavis.

  • mark||

    I liked the John Adams TV special portrayal of Hamilton as the sneaky, power-hungry aristocratic twit always whispering in Washington's ear, taken down a notch by Adams and demolished by Jefferson, forcing him and Burr to pursue dreams of empire elsewhere. Not sure how accurate that was, though.

  • ||

    "drafted numerous provisions to ensure solvency, transparency and fiscal restraint on the part of the federal government."

    You know Issa's just a blowhard. Why doesn't he act like he speaks, and cosign HR 1207?

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