Saturday, April 03, 2010

Screwing Around With $50

Count me out among those who are pushing to have Ulysses Grant replaced with Ronald Reagan on the $50 bill.
Representative Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina wants President Ronald Reagan’s likeness to replace that of President Ulysses S. Grant on the $50 bill.

But the bill introduced by Mr. McHenry and 17 co-sponsors, the majority from Southern states, has run into a hornets’ nest of opposition from Ohio lawmakers who will not stand still for any slight to their home-state hero.

Of course, those Southerners are clever folks. It could just be coincidence that the $50 bill was chosen. And what a coincidence that would be.
Among other things, Grant also signed the 15th Amendment (a measure that [Keya] Morgan, [founder and author of the Grant Homepage, the largest collection of Grant material in the world], said made Barack Obama's presidency possible)

Among those "other things" that Grant did: he signed the law making Christmas a national holiday. (I wonder if the pro-Reagan currency folks would be willing to trade that perk in exchange for the smiling Gipper on a fiddy.)

There hasn't been enough time for the policies of the Reagan administration to be revealed as the disasters they were. A lot of us see it now as we saw it then. But millions more Americans apparently need a few more decades (or centuries) to see the effects of trickle-down economics and other policies of the Reagan era.

Also, I'm already feeling old enough as it is. I've been quite content to live my entire life seeing faces of dead presidents I never knew as living breathing people. The last thing I need to experience is seeing Ronald Reagan on my currency, even if I rarely have my hands on a $50 bill. Having one of those in my wallet is about as common as having a Kennedy half-dollar coin in my pocket.

I simply don't wish to be reminded of the 1980s. Nor do I have any desire to proudly show someone the Reagan portrait on a $50 bill and say, "I once saw his wife speak," or, "I was already an adult when he was shot." No thanks. It's bad enough being older than a current sitting president.

Reagan had charisma. Politics aside, I guess he was a likeable guy even though I didn't know him personally. But his two terms in the White House scarred this nation and I can think of many more people whose portraits would better dignify a $50 bill than Reagan.

Here's an idea. We already have trouble getting the $2 bill into circulation, despite tens of millions of them languishing in banks. Put Thomas Jefferson on the $50 bill -- he deserves a promotion, and give Reagan a shot on the $2 bill. [Poor choice of words but no pun intended.] Not only would it be a more accurate monetary reflection of his contribution to the nation, but the conservatives -- and particularly Southerners -- would suddenly be lining up at the banks to trade in their $1 bills and put the maligned $2 bill into general circulation. And for them it would be like a two-fer deal: it could double as a blow to Honest Abe and rub a little salve into their still-festering wounds from losing the Civil War.

Boy oh boy, then if we could only find a way to return to the days of the three-fifths compromise, that would solve the problem of that Kenyan-born, Socialist, Marxist, gun-melting Islamic Negro keeping the black folks in their rightful place.

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