Conservative - 1. disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change. 2. cautiously moderate or purposefully low: e.g. a conservative estimate.
The last time I checked, Representative Patrick T. McHenry (R – N.C.) had an (R), not a (D), which means that he’s part of the GOP, which means that he’s conservative, which means that he applies to the above definition. So why has he introduced legislation which would change the way our money looks? That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, despite two foreign wars, student protests over public education tuition increases (32% in California!), a crippled economy, and a tsunami scare in Hawaii, Rep. McHenry has found time to draw legislation which, if passed, would replace President Grant’s face with President Reagan’s on the $50 bill.
Why, you may wonder? Because presidential scholars rank presidents, and the order in which they come out always, Rep. McHenry says, places Reagan higher than Grant. Do you know who else is usually higher than Grant? Grover Cleveland. Grover fucking Cleveland. He’s on the $1,000 bill, but the U.S. Treasury doesn’t print that one anymore. John Adams also consistently outranks Ulysses Grant, one of the Founding Fathers, as does James Monroe and John Quincy Adams! Click here for an entire listing of relevant presidential rankings.
The people who are on our currency in circulation are: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses Grant, and Benjamin Franklin. On coin: Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, FDR, George Washington, John Kennedy, and Sacagawea. Notice anything? How about those most responsible for our economic well-being appearing the most frequently? Thomas Jefferson, appearing both on currency and coin, almost singlehandedly doubled the size of the United States with one of the shrewdest (and most racist!) purchases in all of history. The economy that those GOP members are so desperately trying to defend was created by Alexander Hamilton, one of the non-presidents on currency. Abraham Lincoln, while not an economist by any means, made a series of decisions which saved what-would-become the world’s most powerful economy from an incredible schism. If economic prudence is the merit by which one is immortalized on currency, then we should just put a picture of Social Darwinist Rockefeller with the tagline “everyman for himself” on every bill. Or pictures of slave-traders.
I remember sophomore year of college when I had to read a book by David Harvey called The New Imperialism. In it, Harvey argued that the United States had created a new empire which was based on unspoken, yet interminably strong economic dominance of foreign countries. Not only has the “third world” come to rely heavily on the United States, our foreign influence (Pepsi plants, outsourced tailors, and so forth) runs more deeply than the ferocity of those cries of “domestic jobs” and “Americans first.” I think this is neoliberal policy and I think it was aggrandized by the firebrand Ronald Reagan. Actually, David Harvey wrote another book called A Brief History of Neoliberalism and I think Reagan was on the cover…
This isn’t new, by the way. There have been proposals to put Reagan’s face on the dime, the $20 bill, and even the $50 bill five years ago, none of which have been successful because his policies are “still controversial.” That’s a light way of putting it. I imagine that those impacted by neoliberal economic policy, such as young Bangladese children, would feel just about the same way that American Indians felt when in 1928 Andrew Jackson’s face was put on the $20 bill. Wait, didn’t he march thousands of American Indians to their deaths because of congressional pressure? Didn’t the economy crash the year after his face was put on the $20 bill?
Rep. McHenry has more to worry about in North Carolina than what the $50 bills he carries around are going to look like. How about the budget shortfalls expected for 2011? In any case, this is stupidest, more absolutely irrelevant thing to spend time and money on. I want the guy who led the army that defeated slavery to stay on my $50 bill, not the guy who created economically subjugating policy abroad.