L. Neil Smith's
Number 245, November 2, 2003

Daniel Conan Weiner, R.I.P.

Funny Money
by Roberta J. Barmore

Exclusive to TLE

Exclusive to TLE

After successfully avoiding the over-hyped "new twenty" for two weeks, time ran out on me Sunday, and a pair of them have since made some sort of nest in my purse.

Since these are, in fact, new new twenties, it having not been that long since the last redesign of the note, my first impulse was to discount the advertising. The changes are drastic, coming so soon after the previous redesign that a certain anxiety over public acceptance was understandable.

But the magician makes those dramatic gestures to keep your eyes off the real slight-of-hand, and so, less successfully, do governments. While the twenty may indeed be the note most often forged, why introduce new ones now, and why make so great a fuss over their appearance — except to distract attention from the fact that a great many new twenties, created from thin air and backed by thinner promises against your grandchildren's productivity, have been dumped into circulation at the very time when Federal debt mounts rapidly to unprecedented levels!

Like any clumsy magician, the Feds have left a "tell," a small sign that gives away the entire sham. Take up a piece of this comic-opera money in all its gaudiness, and look at the highly-touted color- changing ink "20" at the lower right of the front of the note. The black/green of the original has been replaced by green/gold! On the back, a field of floating "20" surround the engraving of the Executive Mansion — gold 20s.

These cheats know what real money is, and like primitives everywhere, they hope to capture some of the magic of gold by imitating its appearance. Or perhaps it's Greenspan's ironic jest: I've long wondered if he mightn't be out to single-handedly stop the motor of the world....


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