More than two centuries ago, America’s first secretary of the treasury, Alexander Hamilton, identified the Revolutionary War debt as a threat to the nation's creditworthiness and its very existence. In response, he established financial principles for securing the country—principles that endure to this day. In this provocative history, Robert D. Hormats, one of America's leading experts on international finance, shows how leaders from Madison and Lincoln to FDR and Reagan have followed Hamilton’s ideals, from the greenback and a progressive income tax to the Victory Bond and Victory Garden campaigns and cost-sharing with allies.
Drawing on these historical lessons, Hormats argues that the rampant borrowing to pay for the war in Iraq and the short-sighted tax cuts in the face of a long-term war on terrorism run counter to American tradition and place our country’s security in peril. To meet the threats facing us, Hormats contends, we must significantly realign our economic policies—on taxes, Social Security, Medicare, and oil dependency—to safeguard our liberty and our future.