If only Aaron Burr had shot Alexander Hamilton BEFORE he started the destruction of the Constitution with the first Bank of the United States, we might actually owe him thanks.
“With the aid of the doctrine of implied powers,” Rossiter wrote approvingly, Hamilton “converted the . . . powers enumerated in Article I, Section 8 into firm foundations for whatever prodigious feats of legislation any future Congress might contemplate.” He established the foundations for unlimited government, in other words.
It was Hamilton who first advocated the broadest possible interpretation of the General Welfare Clause of the Constitution so that he could make his case for corporate welfare in his 1791 Report on Manufactures. “It is . . . of necessity left to the discretion of the National Legislature, to pronounce upon the objects, which concern the general Welfare,” he wrote. Naturally, the legislature would be eager to define every piece of special-interest legislation to be serving “the general welfare.”
Hamilton was also likely to be the first to twist the meaning of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which gave the central government the ability to regulate interstate commerce, supposedly to promote free trade between the states. Hamilton argued that the Clause was really a license for the government to regulate all commerce, intrastate as well as interstate. For “What regulation of [interstate] commerce does not extend to the internal commerce of every State?” he asked. His political compatriots were all too happy to carry this argument forward in order to give themselves the ability to regulate all commerce in America.
So the Neo-Cons and the Socialist Democrats have the same favorite founding father. Strange bedfellows, indeed.