by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Before the talk of replacing Hamilton, the movement to put a woman on U.S. currency targeted the $20 bill. That would be a better choice. Andrew Jackson was a violent man who ignored a Supreme Court ruling and killed thousands of Indians by forcing them off their land. But the government says it’s not ready to replace the $20 bill.
Jackson opposed central banking, founded in the U.S. by Hamilton. So maybe there’s poetic justice in Hamilton getting pushed aside by the central currency-printing bureaucracy he helped create.
But none of us would have to fight about whom to put on currency if it weren’t all created and printed by a central government. Bitcoin is private currency that comes in many forms. People who prefer dogs as the symbol of their money can even use the digital currency Dogecoin.
Private currencies aren’t just a 21st-century novelty. Numerous banks used to print their own competing currencies. Contrary to the claims of John Kenneth Galbraith and other left-wing economists, private competition tended to prevent runaway inflation and deep depressions.
Economist Thomas Hogan writes, “There were 1,600 private corporations issuing banknotes and an estimated 8,370 varieties of notes” in the 19th century, while the U.S. economy “grew at an average rate of 4.4 percent per year [and] the price level remained roughly constant.”