Ben Bernanke: Get rid of Jackson, not Hamilton, on $20 bill

Former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said in a Brookings Institution blog the US Treasury should replace Andrew Jackson with a woman on the $20 bill instead of Alexander Hamilton on the $10.

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters/File
Former US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Jacques Polak Annual Research Conference in Washington in 2013. Bernanke said in a Brookings Institution blog the US Treasury should replace Andrew Jackson with a woman on the $20 bill instead of Alexander Hamilton on the $10.

Former Federal Reserve chief-turned blogger Ben Bernanke is calling for the US Treasury to abandon plans to drop Alexander Hamilton from his featured spot on the $10 bill and to dump Andrew Jackson from the $20 instead.

Bernanke wrote Monday that he is "appalled" by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew's plans to replace Hamilton with a woman. In a post entitled "Say it ain't so, Jack," Bernanke wrote that adding a woman is "a fine idea, but it shouldn't come at Hamilton's expense."

He called the first Treasury secretary "without doubt the best and most foresighted economic policymaker in U.S. history."

By contrast, Jackson, president from 1829 to 1837, was "a man of many unattractive qualities and a poor president." Jackson opposed attempts to establish a US central bank.

"Given his views on central banking," Bernanke wrote, "Jackson would probably be fine with having his image dropped from a Federal Reserve note."

Treasury last week revealed plans to put a woman on the $10 note, which has featured Hamilton since 1929. Candidates include Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt and Rosa Parks. Treasury says that Hamilton wouldn't disappear from the redesigned $10 bill and that it might print two bills, one with Hamilton.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the $10 bill "is under review by the appropriate authorities for upgraded re-design for security purposes ... And that is why the discussion is happening in the context of the $10 bill."

On his blog, Bernanke was effusive about Hamilton, noting that he helped create the US Constitution and knit 13 fractious states into a single economic unit. The 19 countries that use the euro currency are struggling now with similar issues — which is why Bernanke says he recommended Ron Chernow's 2004 biography of Hamilton to European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.

Bernanke stepped down as Fed chair in 2014 and is a distinguished fellow and blogger at the Brookings Institution.

Associated Press writer Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.

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