Dump Jack­son, not Hamil­ton, on US cur­rency, says Ber­nanke


For­mer Fed­eral Re­serve chief- turned blog­ger Ben Ber­nanke is call­ing for the U. S. Trea­sury to aban­don plans to drop Alexan­der Hamil­ton from his fea­tured spot on the US$ 10 bill and to dump An­drew Jack­son from the US$ 20 in­stead.

Ber­nanke wrote Mon­day that he is “ap­palled” by Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Ja­cob Lew’s plans to re­place Hamil­ton with a woman. In a post en­ti­tled “Say it ain’t so, Jack,” Ber­nanke wrote that adding a woman is “a fine idea, but it shouldn’t come at Hamil­ton’s ex­pense.”

He called the first Trea­sury sec­re­tary “with­out doubt the best and most fore­sighted eco­nomic pol­i­cy­maker in U. S. history.”

By con­trast, Jack­son, pres­i­dent from 1829 to 1837, was “a man of many unattrac­tive qual­i­ties and a poor pres­i­dent.” Jack­son op­posed at­tempts to es­tab­lish a U. S. cen­tral bank.

“Given his views on cen­tral bank­ing,” Ber­nanke wrote, “Jack­son would prob­a­bly be fine with hav­ing his im­age dropped from a Fed­eral Re­serve note.”

Trea­sury last week re­vealed plans to put a woman on the US$ 10 note, which has fea­tured Hamil­ton since 1929. Can­di­dates in­clude Har­riet Tub­man, Eleanor Roo­sevelt and Rosa Parks. Trea­sury says that Hamil­ton wouldn’t dis­ap­pear from the re­designed US$ 10 bill and that it might print two bills, one with Hamil­ton.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the US$ 10 bill “is un­der re­view by the ap­pro­pri­ate author­i­ties for up­graded re­design for se­cu­rity pur­poses ... And that is why the dis­cus­sion is hap­pen­ing in the con­text of the US$ 10 bill.”

On his blog, Ber­nanke was ef­fu­sive about Hamil­ton, not­ing that he helped cre­ate the U. S. Con­sti­tu­tion and knit 13 frac­tious states into a sin­gle eco­nomic unit. The 19 coun­tries that use the euro cur­rency are strug­gling now with sim­i­lar is­sues -- which is why Ber­nanke says he rec­om­mended Ron Ch­er­now’s 2004 bi­og­ra­phy of Hamil­ton to Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank Pres­i­dent Mario Draghi.

Ber­nanke stepped down as Fed chair in 2014 and is a distin­guished fel­low and blog­ger at the Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion.

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