Tuesday, September 16, 2003

If Currency Must Be Changed

One thing I really like about American currency is that despite numerous minute changes on the bills over the years, the basic design has remained relatively unchanged for the last 80 or so years. The size, shape, colors, and even the men whose portraits adorn the bills have not been altered in that time.

I like that. It points to the great stability of the United States and its’ economy.

Take a $1 bill from 1935 and one from today and compare. The biggest difference is that the 1935 note is usually a Silver Certificate, and it represented ‘one dollar in silver payable to the bearer on demand’. Yes, that Federal Reserve Note is not redeemable for anything… except the goods or services it can fetch. Also, the back of the 1935 bill lacks the phrase ‘In God We Trust’. Ah, let’s revisit those conversations another day. This will make the point: I collect the Silver Certificates, and have received them in change in the last five years, even though they were last produced in 1957. They are that similar.

That said, I have found a compelling change proposal to the back of the U.S. $1 bill, suggested by middle school civics teacher Randy Wright, and found on his website www.libertydollarbill.org. Wright is suggesting that U.S. Constitution should replace the All-Seeing Eye and the Great Seal of the United States.

His suggestion is that the entire Preamble to the Constitution, and descriptions of the various Amendments be written on the bill. Politicians have been warming up to the idea, and a couple years ago, HR xxxx was introduced recommending adoption of the new design.

I like the idea of the Preamble. Everyone should feast their eyes upon it every now and again so as to see what gave rise to the founding of this country. Placing it on the back of the $1 bill would ensure that everyone could see it every day.

I don’t like the idea of using interpretive descriptions of the Amendments. Interpretation is the job of the Supreme Court, and even then, I wouldn’t care to have what about half of them would have to say about it. The Constitution and the Amendments are rather like art- in the eye of the beholder, and best seen in their unblemished, original form.

Printing all ten Amendments of the Bill of Rights would be wonderful. Maybe they wouldn’t all fit. USA Today’s Tony Mauro suggests that printing the First Amendment would be a great thing. I wouldn’t have any great objection to that.

Whether it’s the Amendments or dollar bills, I like to see them messed with and changed as little as possible.

No comments: