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Perfect Ten

At long last the U.S. Department of the Treasury has taken an action for which it actually has legal authority (the 1862 Legal Tender Act): it has decided to replace Alexander Hamilton’s image on the $10 bill with the picture of a woman.

After extensive consultations with stakeholders, the Department agreed that the “New 10” woman must be a Cherokee. The nod eventually went to Chief Wilma Mankiller. In a somewhat testy Senate oversight hearing, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew regretfully informed the runner-up, Ms. Elizabeth Warren, that under binding law individuals—male, female, or other—who wish to appear on U.S. currency must (a) have run something other than their mouths and (b) be dead. On a conciliatory note the Secretary announced that the new $10 bill will be called the Warren.

Mr. Hamilton, the Treasury conceded will remain part of the $10 note: “There are many options for continuing to honor Hamilton. While one option is producing two bills, we are exploring a variety of possibilities.” However, in partial compensation to the countless victims of Mr. Hamilton’s banking system, each new Warren will be worth eleven old dollars.

The Treasury’s regulation further provides that the $1 bill will be called the “Dolly” and bear the image of Ms. Barbara Streisand, a non-Cherokee. “I’m feeling swell,” the actress said in an interview with the Huff and Post.  “And a bit verklempt.”

Reached for comment at his permanent abode in Southern Manhattan, Mr. Hamilton reacted with characteristic impatience. “You want my views on a paper currency?” he barked. “I’d rather shoot myself.”

Reader Discussion

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on June 19, 2015 at 12:32:55 pm

I could not resist making a slight correction. The Secretary's Authority to engrave portraits onto U.S. currency is codified at 31 U.S.C. 5144, which is based on a 1982 reorganization statute, which is turn based on an older statute, enacted on June 20, 1874, ch. 343, §6, 18 Stat. 124. amending the National Bank Act. As the Bureau of Engraving helpfully explains (at 9, see link), the Treasury did not standardize note portraits until 1928. So if Jack Lew is in fact relying on the Legal Tender Act, Treasury's decision is yet another example in a long string of lawless treasury actions. I demand notice and comment!

That said, I have long been an advocate for changing and modernizing the note portraits to reflect the moral progress of American society, and I fully endorse Jack Lew's efforts as a policy matter. Notes, like the constitution, must evolve and adopt to current American values. That is why I advocate getting rid of all founding father portraits (not to mention Andrew Jackson), and replacing them with portraits of Ronald McDonald, Spok, Coronel Sanders, and Miley Cyrus. It is high time to properly recognize the cultural icons of our age.

Here is an idea of what my proposal would look like: http://www.worldoffemale.com/iconic-money-manipulation/

Here is the link to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing history of Currency Notes:

http://www.moneyfactory.gov/images/Currency_notes_508.pdf

And here is the link to the current code section, for anyone willing to challenge the Secretary's extraordinary claim to the deference:

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2011-title31/pdf/USCODE-2011-title31-subtitleIV-chap51-subchapII-sec5114.pdf

http://www.worldoffemale.com/iconic-money-manipulation/

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Jimmy C
on June 19, 2015 at 13:20:38 pm

A quick clarification. There might have been a Treasury grant of authority to engrave portraits before 1974, but under the Legal Tender Act, notes were engraved by private banks.

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Image of Jimmy C
Jimmy C
on June 19, 2015 at 15:42:45 pm

Wasn't the Grange in Northern Manhattan?

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Image of Richard S
Richard S
on June 19, 2015 at 20:58:27 pm

Not Spok; it's Spock, you philistine.

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Image of William A. Taylor
William A. Taylor
on June 19, 2015 at 23:04:11 pm

Thanks. Is it spelled the same Vulcan and English?

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Image of Jimmy C
Jimmy C
on June 22, 2015 at 13:12:46 pm

Yes, but he "resides" now in lower Manhattan.

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Greg Bedell

Law & Liberty welcomes civil and lively discussion of its articles. Abusive comments will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to delete comments - or ban users - without notification or explanation.