The role of the government in growing and directing the U.S. economy is often hotly debated and often overlooked, but it goes back to what Alexander Hamilton set into motion as the country’s first Secretary of the Treasury, said Stephen Cohen, author of Concrete Economics. 'It’s a simple game where entrepreneurs and government come together to reshape the economy,' said Cohen. 'It’s like tigers mating, they don’t sit around and cuddle very long.' Cohen is a professor emeritus of city and regional planning at the University of California at Berkeley. He also codirects the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy. His previous books include The End of Influence with J. Bradford DeLong. Cohen said that Hamilton used tariffs to protect the fledgling nation’s fragile economy in a deliberate and 'concrete' manner. He said presidents Lincoln, Roosevelt (FDR) and Eisenhower similarly took the lead in opening new economic spaces.
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