Eight years ago President Obama was asked about AIG bonuses.
Q – you received $100,000 from AIG during the campaign. How do you feel about those contributions today? Do you plan to do anything about it? And at least one member of Congress has now called for your Secretary of the Treasury to resign. Your thoughts.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I have complete confidence in Tim Geithner and my entire economic team. Understand, as I said before, Tim Geithner didn’t draft these contracts with AIG. There has never been a Secretary of the Treasury, except maybe Alexander Hamilton, right after the Revolutionary War, who’s had to deal with the multiplicity of issues that Secretary Geithner is having to deal with – all at the same time.
And he is doing so with intelligence and diligence. Nobody is working harder than this guy. He is making all the right moves in terms of playing a bad hand. And what we need to be doing is making sure that we are providing him the support that he needs in order to work through all these problems so that we’re able to deal with them more effectively in the future.
Hamilton is an odd choice and meant to give the President historical authority. It is also a convenient opportunity for the President to remind the world he is an academician, albeit questionably competent and practiced.
Hamilton is also the uber popular musical based on the uber popular book by Ron Chernow. I enjoyed both forms of Hamilton, but the book and it derivative are mythology. Never the less, Obama invokes Hamilton to snatch from history a ‘true American’ untainted by all the politics and self dealing that plagues modern man.
Aside from creating the dollar, the national debt, the tax system, the Treasury Department, Hamilton led an important military campaign in the period after the Revolutionary War, and threatened another.
The most well-known campaign was the fight against the Whiskey Rebellion. The whiskey rebellion was sparked by Hamilton’s imposition of a tax on small distilleries to pay the national debt that he had helped create as a mechanism to unite wealthy families that held bonds and the military elite that were paid in bonds. Rebels in the West decided they didn’t want to knuckle under to these elite interests – Hamilton then led a series of military units to crush his political opponents.
Whiskey was used as a form of currency in that area because of the lack of hard currency, and the farmers that stilled it formed the backbone of the opposition to Hamilton’s financial oligarchy.
After the Whiskey rebellion was an attempted coup instigated by Hamilton called the Newburgh Conspiracy. Hamilton engineered a series of threats to Congress from unpaid military officers in order to achieve a centralization of power and finance. Though this plot failed, Hamilton later gained in the signing of the Constitution what he sought through this plot. Hamilton achieved most of what he sought in his life, with the exception of a permanent central bank. He would look at the Federal Reserve of today and be proud.
Not to minimize the difficulties confronting the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department in 2009, but Geithner led no military campaigns to rescue creditors.
H/T to Matt Stoller