Ben Bernanke Wants A Woman On The $20 -- Not The $10

(not so) Fresh from the ATM, a papering of twenty dollar bills.
(not so) Fresh from the ATM, a papering of twenty dollar bills.

Ben Bernanke makes a strong case for having a woman on the $20 bill instead of the $10 bill. And he's not alone in his reasoning.

The Treasury Department last week announced plans to print a woman's face on the 10, which currently features Alexander Hamilton. A decision has not been made on who the woman will be. At this time, it's unclear whether the Treasury would have Hamilton's portrait share space with a woman's or have it appear only on select bills.

In a blog post for Brookings Institute, the former Federal Reserve chairman joined a groundswell of voices opposed to replacing the face of the founding father credited with laying the framework for the modern U.S. economy.

“Hamilton’s demotion is intended to make room to honor a deserving woman on the face of our currency,” Bernanke wrote. “That’s a fine idea, but it shouldn’t come at Hamilton’s expense.”

He suggested removing President Andrew Jackson -- whom Bernanke called "a man of many unattractive qualities and a poor president" -- from the $20 bill.

The seventh president -- widely condemned for his defense of slavery and for committing what many call acts of genocide against Native Americans -- is already the target of a campaign called Women On 20s, which urges the Treasury to replace Jackson with a woman.

To boot, Jackson and his Democratic partisans opposed a central bank so vehemently that they waged what became known as the “Bank War” to stop the reauthorization of the Second Bank of the United States’ charter.

“Given his views on central banking, Jackson would probably be fine with having his image dropped from a Federal Reserve note,” Bernanke wrote. “Another, less attractive, possibility is to circulate two versions of the ten dollar bill, one of which continues to feature Hamilton.”

Hamilton’s foremost achievement -- establishing a central bank -- seems even more pertinent today. As Bernanke notes, economic chaos in the Eurozone was caused largely by uncoordinated national fiscal policies across the European Union affecting the stability of the euro as a single currency.

Other prominent voices have suggested bumping Jackson from the 20 and keeping Hamilton on the 10.

No one is even sure why Jackson's likeness was emblazoned on the 20 in the first place, Josh Barro noted on The New York Times' Upshot blog.

Plus, Hamilton is perfect for the 10, according to Sam Goldman at The Washington Post:

Have you ever wondered why our money is denominated in decimals, rather than the medieval division of 12 pennies to the shilling, 20 shillings to pound used by the United Kingdom until the 1970s? That was Hamilton’s idea.

The epithet chosen by my colleagues at The Huffington Post to describe Jackson should say enough: "genocidal slaver."



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