Since then [the time of Hamilton], economists have also debunked the reasoning behind Hamilton’s neo-mercantilist economic system, but its popular appeal has persistently lingered over American politics. Hamiltonian ideas directly sustained a trade-penalizing protectionist regime into the early 20th century.
Unfortunately the rise of Donald Trump has reinvigorated one of America’s oldest and most dubious political traditions, and this time it’s coming with all the reckless ambition of its founder, but none of his intellectual sophistication or erudition.
My Mercatus Center colleague Bob Graboyes exposes the dangerous scientistic myth – peddled today by, among others, Neil deGrasse Tyson – that government policy can and should be based exclusively “the evidence.” (This myth’s incarnation today is simply a reincarnation of the illiberal authoritarianism of the “Progressives” of a century ago.) Neither society in general, nor the economy in particular, is a machine that can be engineered or even improved by engineering.