What Would George Do?

A loyal reader from Britain sends along a redesigned U.S. dollar bill to reflect the state of the economy:


Our reader didn’t know the provenance of this artwork, but considering that the Treasury secretary’s signature on the bill belongs to the late Lloyd Bentsen, I’d have to guess that this doctored bill is a remnant from a bygone economic mess, not the current one.

Out of curiosity, I pulled the dollar bills out of my wallet to see whose signatures they held. I happened to have five singles, four of which had John Snow‘s signature (Series 2003), and only one of which had Henry Paulson‘s. I was surprised to see so many bills that had lasted so long, for the life expectancy of a single is apparently only 18 months.

All of this did make me wonder: if a Bentsen-era bill shows George Washington in a state of high anxiety, what would a Paulson-era bill have George doing? Your suggestions are welcome.


I can not tell a lie... I do owe more than my White House is worth.

and by

GW would be raising taxes on liquor to pay for iraq like he did after the revolutionary war, and moonshining and bootlegging would be back in bussiness. GW would have the illuminati brainwash us all into thinking the banks are solvent.


Soon they'll be more valuable as rolling papers.


counting his pennies, to see if he could scrape enough together inorder to get another single

Paul Copley

I live in the UK, so I guess dollars kept in overseas drawers might last a bit longer than 18 months.

Of the cash I still have from my last business trip to the US in late '06, I have 1 $1 Snow (2003), a $10 O'Neill (2001) and a $20 Snow (2004) - the $20 feels very new still. O'Neill might get repossessed by the Fed next time it gets spent.

mike shupp

J. Levitt - actually Americans carried around 5 and 10 dollar coins in their pockets until the 1930's. Eagles and half-eagles. Ask any coin collector.

Jon Feldman - Jackson was the President who shut down the Bank Of the United States, sort of a 19th century predecessor of the Federal Reserve. Whether hero or villain, he's a LARGE figure in banking history.


2 Paulsons, 1 Laurence H Summers.

Nadav Zohar

I have a 10 that's Randolph, a Randolph 1 and a Snow 1. For now.

I was going to say we wouldn't see George Washington's face, we'd just see his stockinged feet swinging in the middle of the frame. But I'm actually not that cynical--or more cynical. If Washington were alive today, I think he'd be on an iPhone talking to his broker.


Rolling over in his grave.


Scratching his head / eating a pretzel

John S.

I hate to be a dry blanket, but the fact that no one even remembers the crisis that generated the original bill suggests that this too shall pass.

Jake Summers

Two men in black suits around the bill. One represents Wall Street big business and the other represents government. In the center George is hand cuffed with his head hung low. Around the edge of the bill are taxpayers in chains together and walking in a circle around it's edge.

On the back side is a banker holding up a dollar bill. Next to him is a printing press and sheets of money spill out everywhere all over the bill. On the bankers face is a very happy evil grin. And again the images of Wall Street suit and government suit wearing individuals are on the edges, but this time they hold weapons and protect the banker as they face towards the edge of the bill.


I just moved to Australia, and I must say, the fact that they no longer use 1 cent pieces is quite nice. Also, the bills are all different sizes (presumably to help blind people), and they are made out of a material that takes a LONG time to break down. They're also one of the most difficult forms of currency to counterfeit. However, to all of you calling for $1, 2 or 5 coins...trust me, you don't want them! I miss dollar bills. The $2 coins here are the size of a dime (just thicker and heavier), so they're very easy to lose, and even if you can hang on to them, you wind up with very heavy pockets. My friend Jeff has a canvas sack in his car full of coins...if I had to guess it probably adds up to a couple hundred dollars...but they're such a pain to deal with (and they don't have Coinstar machines here!).


George has had breast augmentation treatment all paid for on his credit card.

Andrew Laurence

You can't tell the age of a US banknote by the date. You can only be sure it's not older than that date. The series is only changed when a new Treasurer or Secretary of the Treasury comes on board, or when the note is redesigned. There are no 2002 $1 notes, even though plenty were made that year. The newest $1 note is series 2006, and you can be sure some of those were made yesterday.


George would be wigging out.

4 Paulsons 7 Snows 2 O'Neills


We Americans Fail...

Mark Reever

The current one dollar bill is worth only 1/7th

of its buying power value in 1964. 1964 is when

I started teaching for $5,000. per year with a B.A.

Letters then required 6 cents; today its 42 cents.

Maybe it is time to scrap the penny and maybe the

nickel. Time to start printing 500 dollar bills

again (only $71. in 1964 buying power) especially if the banks issuing credit cards go broke in the current crisis!!!!

Mark in Colorado


I've got a 2001 single, that's one resilient note.

Henry C

You can look up where it's been on wheresgeorge.com