Ex-Fed chief Bernanke 'appalled' Treasury wants to change $10 bill

Ex-Fed chief Bernanke 'appalled' Treasury wants to change $10 bill
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Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is “appalled” Treasury Secretary Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewOvernight Finance: US reaches deal with ZTE | Lawmakers look to block it | Trump blasts Macron, Trudeau ahead of G-7 | Mexico files WTO complaint Obama-era Treasury secretary: Tax law will make bipartisan deficit-reduction talks harder GOP Senate report says Obama officials gave Iran access to US financial system MORE is preparing to bump Alexander Hamilton from the $10 bill.

Lew announced earlier this month that, beginning in 2020, Hamilton would share the currency note with a to-be-determined woman. But Bernanke wrote on his blog that the demotion is undeserving of a top-notch public official.

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Instead, Lew should have set his sights on removing President Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill, with Bernanke calling him “a man of many unattractive qualities and a poor president.”

Bernanke, now a distinguished fellow at the Brookings Institution heaped praise on Hamilton, arguing he is uniquely qualified to be honored via American currency. As the first Treasury secretary, Hamilton was “without doubt the best and most foresighted economic policymaker in U.S. history,” according to Bernanke.

Hamilton also founded the nation’s first major bank, laid the foundation for the U.S. currency and established the First Bank of the United States as the nation’s first central bank, and precursor to the Federal Reserve.

In announcing the change, Lew said the government was tweaking the $10 bill, and demoting Hamilton, simply because that currency was the next one due for a major overhaul. But Bernanke went on to argue Lew’s Treasury should “do everything within its power” to preserve Hamilton’s status.

Bernanke praised the idea of including a woman on the nation’s paper currency but said Lew should instead set his sights on Jackson’s $20 bill. Arguing the seventh president was a disappointment, Bernanke noted Jackson’s opposition to paper money and central banking.

The former Fed chief said it was a perfect fit. “Given his views on central banking, Jackson would probably be fine with having his image dropped from a Federal Reserve note,” he wrote.

Either that, or the government should issue two $10 bills going forward, one with a woman and the other still featuring Hamilton prominently.

“I was in government long enough to know that decisions like this have considerable bureaucratic inertia and are accordingly hard to reverse. But the Treasury Department should do everything within its power to defend the honor of Jack Lew's most illustrious predecessor,” wrote Bernanke.