The Obama administration has a money problem.
More specifically, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is under attack for announcing that the U.S. Treasury will change the $10 bill in order to add a woman’s portrait to the currency.
The scathing critiques, from former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to the USA Today editorial board and leading historians, have come after Lew’s decision to demote Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first Treasury secretary, from his prominent position on the face of the $10 bill.
Lew’s decision is “sad and shockingly misguided,” wrote Hamilton biographer Ron Chernow.
The Wall Street Journal even compared Lew to Aaron Burr, the vice president to Thomas Jefferson who killed Hamilton in a duel.
Former Treasury officials are expressing their “disappointment” to the current administration directly as well.
Not even a grassroots advocacy group that collected 600,000 names on a petition in favor of putting a woman on the $20 bill and removing former President Andrew Jackson from that note is happy with Lew’s decision. It is still pushing on its website for Lew to put a woman on the $20 bill rather than the $10 bill.
Inside the Treasury Department, there is some handwringing over the decision and the subsequent backlash, according to one source who has spoken to officials in the administration.
All of Lew’s critics have applauded the decision to put a woman on U.S. currency for the first time in over 100 years, but the chorus of voices is also virtually unanimous that Lew should change the $20 bill instead and remove Jackson, the nation’s seventh president, from that bill.
“A better solution is available: Replace Andrew Jackson, a man of many unattractive qualities and a poor president, on the twenty dollar bill,” Bernanke wrote Monday.
Standing on the heights of Weehawken, New Jersey, Hamilton and Burr fired their pistols. Some people said that Hamilton purposely missed Burr. Burr’s shot, however, fatally wounded Hamilton, leading to his death the following day. Aaron Burr escaped unharmed.