by Pettus Read
In the last few weeks some of the money in your wallet has taken on a new look. With great fanfare and a new paint scheme, the twenty dollar bill now looks more like a travelers check than the old "green-back" we all have come accustomed to.
It doesn't seem like long ago that the portrait of President Andrew Jackson, who graces the front of the twenty, was increased in size and the bill had another all new look. That change was supposed to keep counterfeiters from doubling their money in an illegal way and was to have been the change to end the parade of funny money.
However, the government saw fit to make another change because they found out that just increasing the size of the picture of Old Hickory didn't stop the presses, the illegal presses that is. Instead, the computer age kicked in and the makers of illegal dollars moved to the 21st century causing all kinds of problems for our government guys at the mint.
So now, once again, we have another all new twenty and this time it is printed in a new Martha Stewart peach color that they say will cause those who pass out President Jackson in the wrong color shade to be sent up the river to the big house.
Not to be a pessimist, but I really don't think it will take all of the chance out of funny money being made. Too many people work real hard at being illegal and this new peachy twenty will give some of them a challenge to be creative. In fact, it has already been attempted in several parts of the country by folks with computers and printers.
The thing that caught my eye was all of the fanfare for the new twenty when it was announced that it was coming soon to a bank near you. Every TV morning program did a special segment on it as well as talk show hosts having a federal employee on most of their programs talking about Jackson's new look.
But, the one item that really caused me to wonder was when I started seeing TV and newspaper advertisements showing the bill's new look. I believe this is the first time I have ever seen our federal government advertise money. Maybe advertise tax programs, government bond sales, health programs, and other government things that require us to participate. But when did we have to be convinced that the government has our money and now they want us to see its pretty colors?
I don't know about you, but the ads did not make me want to go out and get a twenty. It may have made me wish I had a twenty, but usually when I deal with the government it costs me a twenty or more.
I saw full-page ads in newspapers paid for by us, the taxpayers of this country. Do we need to spend money to advertise money?
Most people don't have to be told they need money. Instead, they just need money to pay the government more money so the government can spend money to advertise money. In fact, I need some money right now to buy aspirin because all of this money verbiage is giving me a headache.
Can you believe the humongous number of peachy twenty dollar bills that were spent for prime time TV ads that did nothing but advertise that the new twenty is now peach colored? So what! Give all of them a few trips in my wallet and that peach hue will become more of a leather sweat brown pastel as well as a bit washed out from falling in the creek during a day of fishing.
The bill our government paid for advertising the twenty was over 33 million dollars. That was our 33 million dollars they used to tell us about our own money getting a facelift. I believe I could have figured it out by myself.
So the next time you get a chance to spend a twenty, take a look to see if it is peachy or just sort of green. The government spent a lot of our tax dollars to teach us the difference and we wouldn't want all of that high-dollar instruction to go to waste.