Paper Money

Former Federal Reserve chair supports changes

Former Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke called Treasury Secretary's decision to retain Alexander Hamilton on the face of the $10 note a good one.

Image courtesy of iStock.

Former Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke used his blog to weigh in on the recently announced currency overhaul. Bernanke, who was one the of first to object to the possible removal of Alexander Hamilton from the $10 note, called Treasury Secretary Jack Lew’s decision a good one. He said it was “very much in line with what I had recommended last summer.” 

In that June blog he said he was appalled at anyone messing with Hamilton. Bernanke said that Harriet Tubman was an excellent choice for the $20 note but reserved most of his admiration for Hamilton. He feels that no one has a better claim to be on U.S. paper currency than America’s first Treasury secretary, who did so much to help establish the nation’s economic system.

He also made a proposal. He called the high level of interest over the design change a good thing because it made Americans reflect on their history. He attributed the intensity of the debate to the fact that the people who are on U.S. currency change so infrequently. He then said “Acknowledging the technical difficulties in modifying bills too often, perhaps the Treasury should consider moving in the direction of the U.S. Postal Service, which frequently changes the images on postage stamps. Occasional changes to bill design would give us more space and flexibility to honor the past; and, if done at reasonable intervals, could coincide with necessary security improvements as well.” 

As revolutionary as this may sound at first, in reality it is no different from what happens in most of the rest of the world.

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