Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke blasted the Treasury Department’s decision to add a woman to the ten dollar bill in a blog post. Alexander Hamilton is currently on the bill and the Treasury Department says that he may still be on the bill, alongside a woman.
Bernanke criticized the move because of how it would displace Alexander Hamilton, who served as the first Secretary of the Treasury. He said he was “appalled.” Of Hamilton, Bernanke said, he would “qualify as among the greatest of our founders.” Bernanke goes on to describe Hamilton’s history and calls him “without doubt the best and most foresighted economic policymaker in U.S. history.”
Bernanke also notes how Hamilton fought to make the United States an industrial nation and helped create the First Bank of the United States, a central bank from 1791. The First Bank was a spiritual predecessor to today’s Federal Reserve.
The former Federal Reserve Chairman does, however, believe that a woman should be on currency, calling it a “fine idea.” Although, Bernanke proposes dropping former President Andrew Jackson, who was the initial target of activists. Jackson, he argues, was in opposition to central banks and a “poor president.” Jackson did veto the Second Bank of the United States.
In addition, Jackson’s economic policies helped lead to one of the worst economic downturns in American history, the Panic of 1837. Jackson personally hated debt and fought to reduce it while serving in the government. As President, his budget did eventually produce a surplus and the entire U.S. debt was paid, the only time this has ever happened. The abundant amount of money was then turned over to the states, due to there being no central bank to otherwise give it to, and the states increased the amount of money in circulation. To make matters worse, there was a land bubble in addition. The Panic of 1837 was the longest depression in American history, taking six years for the economy to grow out of the depression.