WASHINGTON — Amid concern about the cost of redesigning the ten-dollar bill, and growing opposition to one of the country’s Founding Fathers being removed to make room for a less important figure, the U.S. Treasury is scrapping its plan to replace Alexander Hamilton’s visage with that of a woman’s. Instead, Hamilton will simply be given hair extensions and a slight makeover.
The “Alexandra bill,” as Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has dubbed it, will retain the same basic design, allowing the United States to continue honoring the creator of the U.S. financial system and author of several Federalist Papers. More importantly, perhaps, is that keeping the current design will save the Treasury Department upwards of $30 million it would have otherwise spent launching a call for submissions, judging samples, hiring new banknote designers for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and creating new steel plates for the presses.
Lew had come under increasing pressure to put a woman on U.S. currency, and as recently as last week he confirmed that he would do so, inviting the public to make suggestions as to whose face should be chosen.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, says he applauds Lew for coming up with the compromise.
“There’s no reason to trash a perfectly good bill just to put some filly’s smug mug on it,” Hatch said. “Let’s do something about the $500 million federal deficit before we start going around featuring our womenfolk on the greenback.”
While some say that the Alexandra bill should at least be given the name of a historic woman, Lew believes there’s no reason to limit ourselves.
“Each and every person who uses a ten-dollar bill should be able to decide, for him or herself, which woman’s face it is,” Lew said. “Personally, I think she rather resembles Glenn Close, a fine actress who has made huge contributions to Hollywood.”
“If you’re not into cinema, you can think of her as J.K. Rowling or Shakira,” he added. “If you squint, you just might see Dolly Parton, and if you squint really hard, you could imagine Oprah.”
Other supporters of the Alexandra bill say that it celebrates social progress and invites everyone to ponder the artificiality of gender.
“Caitlyn Jenner has demonstrated to the public that whichever gender one decides to identify with is a decision for one’s self, and one’s self alone,” said blogger Randy McBrandy. “This beautiful, strong, historic face can belong to anyone we so choose, from Mozart to Liberace, from Patty Duke to Cher. The possibilities are limitless.”