January 19, 2004 |
America is a multicultural country, but you would never know it by looking at our currency. Our paper money tells a story of the American experience, but it is one-sided. To be complete, that story needs updating. It's time to add chapters reflecting the 20th century and our nation's diversity. My suggestion is that we honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., moral leader of the civil-rights movement, by placing his image on the $20 bill. White men from the 18th and 19th centuries dominate our paper currency: George Washington ($1)
December 22, 2003 |
I'm checking out the Christmas ornaments at the tree nursery. The air smells of warm cider and resounds with familiar tunes. The line of ornaments, which went by the brand Midwest America, reflects the tastes of yesteryear. I pick up a Santa - a dignified, slimmed-down version - and look under his boot. The "Made in" label reads, "China. " I examine a boy on a sled. Again, "China. " Simple wooden boxes sit stacked on a nearby table - each bearing a painted scene of a fisherman in a rowboat.
November 4, 2003 |
Andrew Jackson looks rakish though still forlorn, his eyebrows gathering stormclouds of woe. Expanded to a medium close-up and freed from the handsome oval, Old Hickory appears to sport a cape - a positively Heathcliffian portrait of our seventh president. The new $20 bill, introduced last month and slowly working its way into wallets, can no longer be called a greenback. Peach, azure and mint, it's a rainbowback. It's not filthy lucre. It's pastel lucre, featuring "Twenty USA, USA Twenty" in a Wavy Gravy-Grateful Dead-Ben & Jerry's kind of type.
October 21, 2003
When it comes to money, some people are slow to accept change. Oh, the blubbering of the bland, the screeching of the fuddy-duddies, the moaning of the fearful who would have America forever be the land of the green and the home of the staid. This is what they are carping about, this wee little step the new $20 bill takes toward polychromy? The green, peach and blue in the background make the bill look like a white shirt that got mixed in with a load of bleeding colors. What a half-hearted, even chintzy, splash of color.
October 9, 2003 |
Someone's getting a face-lift. He's not a movie star. As a matter of fact, he's not even alive. The new and improved version of the $20 bill, starring Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States, makes its public premiere today. When it comes to twenties, consumers will no longer be seeing only green. Peach and blue hues are joining the verdant tone as designated currency colors. The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing spent a cool $33 mil on advertising and even hired a top Hollywood talent agency to get the word out. That may sound like a lot of taxpayer money, especially in light of a recent report confirming that one out of eight Americans has fallen below the poverty line.
August 1, 2003 |
With the Baltimore convention in full swing today, members of the American Numismatic Association are seeing a panorama of American coinage and currency almost unsurpassed in history. In the Baltimore Convention Center, the association has opened an exhibition, assembled by collector John Whitney, of 1,395 pieces of U.S. currency. Arranged in 43 display cases, the currency traces the history of U.S. paper money and outlines plans for collecting. Paper money appeared after the Civil War in many sizes, colors and legal bases.
June 29, 2003 |
Starting today, and for the next four days, The Inquirer will mark Friday's opening of the National Constitution Center by recounting in you-are-there style the highlights of the Federal Convention, an extraordinary gathering where the U.S. Constitution was written in Philadelphia in 1787. Eleven days behind schedule, 29 men assemble in the high-ceilinged east room of the Pennsylvania State House to rescue the American Revolution. When they finish their work four months later, the United States will have a new Constitution, a blueprint, however imperfect, for turning the ideals of the Revolution into reality.
May 23, 2003 |
In one of Baghdad's most dangerous neighborhoods, in the center of a congested marketplace lined with food stalls and shoeshine boys, more than 100 men clustered together, shouting out numbers. Blocks of Iraqi dinars wrapped in dirty rubber bands changed hands; thousands of U.S. dollars were waved in the air. It was hot, dirty and chaotic, with boys pushing through the crowd to sell cold drinks, cars honking as they inched along the narrow road, and traders carrying loaded weapons and looking warily at strangers.
May 21, 2003 |
With the nation threatened by deflation and the labor market still bleeding jobs, the Bush administration is letting the value of the dollar decline against foreign currencies in another attempt to jolt the nation into an economic recovery. The dollar fell again yesterday to 0.86 euros, near its four-year low. The dollar has weakened 21 percent against the European common currency in the last 12 months. At the same time, it has fallen 6.8 percent against the Japanese yen. Some economists say that allowing the dollar to decline is the last big tool the White House has to fix an economy that has threatened to slip back into a recession for months.
January 3, 2003 |
"I want the whole of Europe to have one currency," said Napoleon in 1807. A year ago his dream came true, more or less, and it didn't even take a conquest. But where does the euro go from here? The simple answer is: out and up. It spreads outward from the 12 countries that abandoned their old marks, francs and drachmas for the euro last year to one or more of the three holdouts among the existing European Union members: Sweden, Denmark and the United Kingdom, and then on to the 12 countries scheduled to join in the next five years.