Editor’s note: Brent E. Zepke shares the story of a dollar bill — in the currency’s own words.
I can relate to the comedian Rodney Dangerfield’s saying “I get no respect.” However, Rodney’s adding “When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them” does not apply to me or my lineage that I can trace back 229 years.
It was in 1792 that the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 8) gave Congress the power to establish the decimal system of currency based on a dollar being valued in terms of “grains” of silver. As a dollar bill, I am proud to anchor a decimal system with simplicity of calculations compared to ones where a foot is 12 inches or a quart is 32 ounces.
Rodney’s quip “When I was born, I was so ugly that the doctor slapped my mother” also does not apply to me as my front side proudly displays the 1796 Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington, a signature of the current U.S. treasurer and all sorts of coding to reduce counterfeiters.
It could be said that Winston Churchill caught the essence of perspective when responding to an inquiry about what he noticed first about a woman, with “It depends on whether she is coming or going.” Well, I must say my back side is slouch with Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams wanting an eye for divine providence and a pyramid for divinity with the Roman numerals for 1776 at its base.
There is the Great Seal of the U.S. of an eagle signifying a desire for peace but a readiness for war with 13 olive branches in one claw and 13 arrows in the other one. The shield on the front of the eagle signifies that Americans should rely on their own virtue.
All the stripes and stars number 13. I do not look exactly as I did years ago, but then again who does?
The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 permitted the Federal Reserve to issue the tattoo on my front of “Federal Reserve Note” indicating currency denominated in dollars. In 1965 the Coinage Act (31 U.S.C. 5103) added “In God We Trust” to my back side.
Rodney’s saying “I get no respect” was a great tagline but the reality was that he earned “respect,” which is “eliciting admiration by abilities, qualities or achievements” (Merriam-Webster).
Similarly, my lineage is symbolic of the respect earned by the U.S. when after World War I. In 1920, my family of dollars became the international currency, meaning other currencies were measured in ratios against the U.S. dollar. This was a big deal as a currency is the “medium of exchange” meaning “a store of value” or “a system of money in general use” where “money” is “a store of value, a verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts, such as taxes.”
The ability to control your currency is important to political entities as illustrated by the resistance of Great Britain to adopt the Euro. The Chinese recently announced a goal of replacing the dollar as the international standard.
Rodney’s quip “I could tell my parents hated me. My bathroom toys were a toaster and radio.” The influence of my parents, the U.S. Congress, is reflected in many ways.
For example, in 1965 to pay for LBJ’s Great Society, his Vietnam War and the race riots, Congress passed the Coinage Act that provided that U.S. dollars must be accepted in all public transactions. However, the Act did NOT require that all private transactions accept U.S. currency. Congress, in 1971, suspended the conversion of my family of dollars to the precious metals of gold, silver or copper.
However, in 2021, the future of my family of dollars is being threatened by five events:
1. Obama-Biden’s authorization of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s use of U.S. taxpayer’s money to fund the Wuhan Lab’s efforts to “juice-up” the SARS virus to enable it to contaminate the lungs of humans through COVID-19. This duo also passed the Dodd-Frank Act that, among other things, required all transactions of more than $10,000 be reported.
2. Dr. Fauci’s financing the Wuhan Lab. Dr. Fauci also issued numerous false opinions, such as that COVID could be spread by contact. This opinion drove people out of offices, eliminated handshakes, and caused merchants to require customers to eliminate U.S. currencies and pay third parties, primarily credit/debit card companies and banks, for every purchase. When Sen. Rand Paul, M.D., asked Dr. Fauci for the supporting data, Dr. Fauci said “There was none, it was just my feelings.” His decision making based on “feelings” includes the six (now three) foot rule, outdoor dining and double masks.
3. Biden-Harris transferring the management of the U.S.-Mexican border to Mexican drug cartels. These cartels are charging thousands of dollars a day (an estimated $4,000) for each of thousands of migrants per day. These migrants are being used to distract and make baby sitters out of the border patrol while the cartels’ trucks carry drugs, such as fentanyl from China. The “double-hitter” this causes is the inevitable dilution to U.S. currency by the tax increases to house and support the migrants, and the increase in power of the cartels as they search for ways to launder their fortunes.
4. Technology created secure internet addresses labeled “blockchains.” One of the initial creations was NFT’s (non-fungible tokens) used to provide the holder with exclusive access to a work of art or music. Then Nagatomo (probably a pseudonym) created the blockchains network “Bitcoin” where the internet addresses replaced the currency of the U.S., or any other country, as “cryptocurrency” used to transfer assets on a peer-to-peer basis. Other forms have, and will, follow as the format is perfect for laundering money.
5. Cryptocurrencies growth hinges on increasing the 0.5% of merchant purchases in 2020, which requires the public to be able to (1) trade their dollars for these cryptocurrencies, (2) use these currencies for purchases, (3) and trade back into dollars. This has started as PayPal and Square are accepting some forms of cryptocurrencies. The recognition of cryptocurrency by the financial houses of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs indicates a permanence that will lead to the creation of financial instruments. Coinbase (COIN) is a publicly traded cryptocurrency exchange.
These five events, absent actions by Congress (moving in the wrong direction by printing more money to cover spending) or Federal Reserve (they are studying it), will threaten the respect given the U.S. dollar, now Federal Reserve Notes, creating the “Duplicity in Currency.”
Will a future comedian quip “I get so little respect that a robber gave me a dollar,” or “a hacker gave me his Bitcoin password?”
Brent E. Zepke
The author lives in Santa Barbara.