There has been a lot of discussion recently about the decision by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman. In an open letter published April 20, Lew wrote “The decision to put Harriet Tubman on the new $20 was driven by thousands of responses we received from Americans young and old. I have been particularly struck by the many comments and reactions from children for whom Harriet Tubman is not just a historical figure, but a role model for leadership and participation in our democracy.”
In addition to adding Tubman’s face to the $20 bill, the Treasury “announced plans for the reverse of the new $10 to feature an image of the historic march for suffrage that ended on the steps of the Treasury Department and honor the leaders of the suffrage movement.” Changes were also announced to the reverse of the $5 bill to “honor events at the Lincoln Memorial that helped to shape our history” referencing a 1939 concert by opera singer Marian Anderson, and the 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
USA Today reports, “many in Jackson’s home state [feel] that the change is as much a politically correct attempt to diminish Jackson’s legacy as it is to celebrate Tubman’s accomplishments.” Others argue that Jackson, an opponent of central banking, should never have been placed on a central banknote in the first place.
Two things are lost in the discussion about the new face on the $20 bill: 1) the cost associated with producing these new bills, and 2) the very existence of a central bank.
The Treasury has not published an estimated cost of designing and printing new $5, $10 & $20 bills, expected to begin circulation in 2020, which may explain why the cost has not been part of the discussion. Does anyone else find it odd that a conversation about money does not involve the cost of the money? And the cost is more than just the dollars & cents and the raw material used to create the money; the real cost of the money also includes the purchasing power lost to inflation and the innovation lost to legal tender laws that force people to use the currency issued by a monopoly organization.
In order to really change the face of money, we need to repeal legal tender laws; abolish the central bank; repeal the government monopoly over the creation of coins for use as currency and prohibit federal and state taxes on precious metals and virtual currencies.