There’s a copy of The Federalist sitting on my desk, and I’ve been reading the essays as time permits.

The foresight of our Founding Fathers was impressive. Especially striking was their ability to factor man’s foibles into the plans for checks and balances in the government.

Still, every once in a while, you find a Federalist paper that’s a real dud.

Take Hamilton’s Federalist No. 17. We can only laugh now as the future Treasury secretary tries to convince us that the national government would have no incentive to build its power base beyond certain well-defined limits:

The administration of private justice between the citizens of the same state; the supervision of agriculture, and of other concerns of a similar nature; all those things, in short, which are proper to be provided for by local legislation, can never be desirable cares of a general jurisdiction. It is therefore improbable, that there should exist a disposition in the federal councils, to usurp the powers with which they are connected….

To quote another great American: “D’oh!”