During my run around the Internet, I followed some links to a libertydollarbill.com, a site promoted out of Liberty Middle School in Ashland, Virginia (a suburb of Richmond). The program, sponsored by teacher named Randy Wright, has been lobbying congress since 1999 for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) to change the back of the $1 bill to be printed an abridged version of the US Constitution. The abridging would include the entire preamble, the names of each Act, and the title of each amendment. The Christian Science Monitor and Ralph Nader have endorsed the bill.
According to their website, the claim is that not enough people know and understand the Constitution that governs their lives. By putting a representation of the consititution on the most common piece of paper currency, the concept would be available to everyone. It is an interesting concept that may be looking at the wrong way to educate the masses.
First, I am amongst a growing number of people that believes that the $1 and $2 bills should be discontinued in favor of coinage (I will explain why in a future entry). But if congress does not eliminate this currency (which seems the likely scenario), then just a one-line summary of the constitution is really not enough. What about having a series of currency issues with either the text or summary of each Article and Amendment? In the same spirit as the 50 State Quarter® program from the US Mint, not only would the currency serve as a learning tool but would generate seigniorage for the BEP by creating new, circulating collectibles.
The US currency has really gotten stale in its designs. Even the recent upgrades can only be classified as “putting lipstick on a pig.” Maybe this would be a good idea if it can bring new designs to the currency.