Diary

Why, of course we should remove Andrew Jackson from the face of the $20 bill

From The Wall Street Journal:

Harriet Tubman to Be Added to $20 Bill

Decision comes after a campaign to solicit input on a proposal to put a woman on the $10 bill appeared to misfire

By Nick Timiraos | Updated April 20, 2016 4:59 p.m. ET

This time, Alexander Hamilton dodged the bullet.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Wednesday he would put abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, bowing to public pressure after a long-running campaign to solicit input on his initial proposal to put a woman on the $10 bill appeared to misfire.

The subplot over what would happen to Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first Treasury secretary who will remain on the $10 bill, at times overshadowed the Treasury Department’s campaign to celebrate the contributions of female historical figures.

A woman hasn’t appeared on the nation’s paper money in more than a century. An escaped slave, Tubman ferried other slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad. She served as a Union spy during the Civil War.

Mr. Lew said a date isn’t set for redesigning and introducing the new $20 note but that the images for a suite of new bills—the backs of the $10 and $5 notes also will be redesigned—would be unveiled by 2020, the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

Currency officials began moving ahead with a redesign of the $10 note in 2013, and that bill could be in circulation as soon as 2020. The original plan announced last June would have put a woman on the front of the $10 bill, which will now instead feature a vignette to honor the women’s suffrage movement on the back. The back of the $5 bill will feature historical scenes to mark the civil-rights movement at the Lincoln Memorial.

Mr. Lew said he had been swayed by a swift public outcry that followed his announcement last summer. “I did this the old-fashioned way: We said we were going to listen to people, and we actually listened to people,” Mr. Lew said on Wednesday.

Women’s groups had lobbied the White House last year to put a woman on the $20 bill, which is far more widely circulated, and Hamilton devotees joined in urging Mr. Lew to ditch Andrew Jackson instead of Hamilton.

There’s more at the original.

I have no problem with the idea of a woman in general, or Harriet Tubman specifically, on our currency. Carly Fiorina had the best answer in an early Republican debate, saying that she wouldn’t change either the $10 or the $20 bill. Nevertheless, it’s just politically correct pandering.

But, to me, the irony is just astounding: in order to pander to political correctness, the Treasury Department is going to remove the one President, the only President, who ever paid off the national debt! John Gordon Steele noted in The Wall Street Journal, right after President Obama signed the ridiculous American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the stimulus bill we were told would keep unemployment from rising above 8%, pointed out that President Jackson paid off the debt by doing the one thing that is anathema to Republicans and Democrats alike: he cut federal spending, vetoing every spending bill that he could. President Jackson vetoed infrastructure bills; today Presidents won’t even try to cut back on appropriations for luxury items. You can find plenty of articles telling you why it was bad to pay off the debt, but, to me, paying off the debt would be a wonderful thing.

To be in debt means that you are partially controlled by your creditors; to be in debt means that you will continue to work for someone else, oftentimes long after whatever benefit you received from borrowing the money has passed away. As of April 19, 2016, the national debt stood at $19,221,832,717,891.35, $8,594,955,668,978.27 of which was added under President Barack Hussein Obama. In contrast, the utterly horrible George W Bush, against whom Senator Obama so terrifically railed for spending so much money, added “only” $4,899,100,310,608.44 to the national debt during his two terms. If President Bush’s $4.9 trillion addition to the national debt was “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic,” what the Hell is President Obama’s $8.6 — and still growing — trillion addition to the debt?

President Jackson was not a perfect man, but no man is. He was, however, a better President than any in this century or the last, and to take him off the face of the $20 bill is to show just how far we have fallen from the ideals on which this country grew. Old Hickory puts today’s politicians to shame.
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Cross-posted on The First Street Journal.