Vol. 1, Issue 23, October 21, 2003
Get Away From It All

New $20 Bill Causing Controversy Already

The new currency design recently unveiled by the Treasury Department is causing some controversy among a small, but vocal group of members of the House.

"I can understand the necessity of redesigning our nation's currency to make things hard for counterfeiters," said Congressman John Hagen (D), Iowa. "But frankly I think the Treasury Department has spent a lot of money on a flawed and ill-considered effort."

The new design for the $20 bill is the first in a series of currency redesigns and incorporates several new features. The bills now possess multiple color-changing logos, a revised portrait and watermark, and - for the first time in over seventy years - a color other than green. The new pastel background of the bills, which includes pale green and peach tones, is one of several new or enhanced security features.

The new bills are the same size and carry the same portraits and historical images, although enhanced, as the old $20s. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which produced the $20s, said the bill is the most secure U.S. currency ever.

However, the changes are not as apparent to those who suffer from red-green colorblindness.

"Frankly I can make a copy on my office photocopier that looks just as good as this," said Congressman Hagen, who is colorblind. "It doesn't even look like they tried very hard. I mean, they took out the frame around Andrew Jackson. This was worth $53 million in retooling the mints and promotional campaigns?"

The Treasury Department is scheduled to issue new $50 bills in 2004 and new $100 bills in 2005, but Hagen is gathering a small but vocal coalition in the House to delay or cancel the redesigned currency.

"There are a lot of considerations to be taken into account before they should continue redesigning money," said Hagen. "This doesn't even have braille. How unfair is that?"

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