After 87 years of staring Alexander Hamilton in the face every time we take a $10 bill out of our wallets, the U.S. Treasury Department has decided it’s time to nudge him aside with the image of a woman by 2020.
Sure—2020. That’s when the Congressional Budget Office says the national debt will once again begin to soar, along with the annual deficit. So put a woman on the $10 bill. How about Elle Woods, the shopaholic from the movie Legally Blonde? Then, by inference, we can blame the deficit on a woman.
2020. In five years, money as we know it could be a thing of the past. At least that’s what Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff thinks is a good economic idea. A year ago, Fortune magazine cited Rogoff’s reasons for dumping dollar bills: Eliminating paper currency might lower inflation and boost tax collection, as long as it doesn’t derail the economy. Who should we choose as a symbol of the dollar’s demise? How about Kim Kardashian, who by that time will be as irrelevant as the paper she’s printed on.
Finally, Bitcoin or Apple Pay or the new chips on your credit or debit card will also render this historic move an afterthought. So here’s a different idea: Rather than patronizing women by kicking Hamilton off the $10 bill, let’s honor the best and the brightest by thinking forward instead of backward.
Let’s have Rosie the Riveter spike the penny, which costs the U.S. more to produce than it’s worth. And let’s take a page from Canada and at least seven other countries, which have issued currency denominations, including the $100 bill, from a sheet of polymer. Plastic currency is cheaper to produce, is almost impossible to counterfeit and... is washable.
So my vote for the woman on the $10, $20, $50 or $100 bill is Lucille Ball — the symbol of the American housewife, and one of the smartest and wealthiest business executives in Hollywood history.
As for Hamilton, it looks like he’ll still have a place on the ten spot, either on the reverse side or in a separate series of bills. At the end of last year, there were 1.9 billion Alexanders in circulation.
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