Jay Cost asks his readers to reconsider the ways that corruption all too easily flows from the federal government, in every era.
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.”