“This is an historic milestone for women and for the country,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said at an announcement yesterday. “It’s long past the time when a woman should be honored to be on what was once considered the world’s reserve currency.”
Lew said it was simply a trick of fate that a woman would finally appear on U.S. currency at a time when it would be worth a fraction of what it once was. “We were not hoping a woman would appear on our currency when it was worthless,” he said. “It was not our intention.”
Not all economic forecasters agree U.S. currency will be worthless by 2020, but there is widespread agreement that the role of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency is increasingly at risk for a variety of reasons, among them bad fiscal management by the federal government and systemically slow U.S. economic growth.
“If Republicans in Congress decide to play politics with U.S. debt obligations once more, you can pretty much kiss the privileged status of the dollar goodbye,” says Martin Freer, distinguished professor of economics at Harvard University and the author of a forthcoming book on American fiscal mismanagement in government. “We’ve been fortunate that no one has tried to hold federal debt obligations hostage in the last two years, but the damage has already been done; the Chinese, the Europeans—they’re no longer looking at the U.S. dollar as the rock of stability that they once did. In some ways the dollar is a dead man walking.”
Bill Goldman, a former top Treasury official who heads up a new economic think tank, the Economic Policy Institute, points a finger at the wealthiest Americans for gutting the country’s economy. “Lawmakers have given the 1% tax break after tax break on the idea that they will reinvest in the country’s productivity, but that hasn’t been happening,” he says. “Instead, whatever money they don’t park abroad, the wealthy put into more homes and more boats. They’re not putting it back into the economy in the form of long-term investment in productivity and innovation.”
Whatever the state of the dollar five years down the road, recognizing a woman on U.S. currency is long past due, advocates say. “It remains a great honor to have a woman on the $10 bill, even if it will only be worth $1.45,” says Angie Morgan, president of the Women’s Business Council, a group of top female CEOs who provide policy recommendations for advancing women in business.
Lew said the new $10 bill will probably be printed in China because the U.S. Mint, facing budget constraints over the last 15 years, has not upgraded its equipment in years and won’t be able to print the new bills. “We are working hard every day to enable us to print the new bills here in the United States but as I stand here today I can’t guarantee we will be able to do that,” he says.
One woman being talked about to appear on the bill when it is worthless is Elaine Chao, the first Chinese-American secretary of labor and the wife of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
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As a boy growing up in Alabama, Georgia, and then Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would occasionally go a week or two without getting beat up by other kids, a book released this week claims. “Not every week was ‘beat up Mitch McConnell week,’ Rex Doane says in Mitch McConnell: Little Snively Punching Bag (Knobe: 2016), “but most weeks were. McConnell usually had a cut lip, bent glasses, or bandaged nose, and on a typical weekend he could be found cowering under his kitchen table when one of his classmates walked by his front yard.” McConnell has come a long way since then, and Doane, in his detailed account, paints a portrait of a man’s journey from punching bag to the lawmaker who uses his position as leader of the United States Senate to block as much of the legislative agenda of President Barack Obama as he can.” More.
Chief executive officers at companies in the United States are uniting behind a push to guarantee no CEO has to work for less than $40 million a year. “This is an issue of basic fairness,” says John Carter, CEO of iQuantumData in Raleigh, N.C. “The idea that a CEO can live in this country on anything under $40 million a year is unsupportable. No one can maintain three or four houses, keep a boat, and travel to Europe for events like Wimbledon or to play golf at St. Andrews on anything less than $40 million.” Mike Anderson, CEO of Delta Pharmaceuticals in Philadelphia, says the CEO profession is riven by inequality. More.
The famous comb-over of Republican presidential nomination front-runner Donald Trump has been having an affair with lesbian comedian and activist Rosie O’Donnell and continues to meet with the TV personality on a weekly basis, investigators say. “We can confirm that regular meetings between the comb-over and the comedian are occurring and have been occurring for several years,” says David Rosten, an attorney who has been retained by Fox News to look into allegations of the affair. Donald Trump is married, although his comb-over is not. Roger Stone, a long-time associate of Trump who is now working independently of the candidate, says he’s also looked into the affair and is seeking media outlets to discuss his findings because American voters have a right to know about this important allegation. More.
The comb-over of 2016 Republican presidential nominee contender Donald Trump is being hailed as a war hero for saving an injured soldier during the Iraq war. “There’s a very real chance that Private Benjamin Carter, a gunnery specialist with the 1st Battalion 7th Marines that helped librate Baghdad in 2003, would not be here today if it weren’t for the comb-over of Donald Trump,” says Major Bill Nelson of the U.S. Marine Corps. “People today throw around the word ‘hero’ loosely. But I can say without qualification that Trump’s comb-over is indeed a true Amercan hero.” The comb-over, which has been part of Trump’s head since he started losing his hair in the late 1990s, was on tour in Iraq with the 1st Battalion 7th Marines as a private contractor. More.
The iconic comb-over of real estate billionaire and 2016 presidential aspirant Donald Trump is under investigation by U.S. immigration authorities on suspicion of being in the United States illegally. “We can only confirm that the comb-over of Donald Trump is a thing of interest to the United States concerning its immigration status and beyond that we have no comment,” John Goodman, director of fraud detection and national security for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), says in statement released by the agency today. April Sayers, a spokesperson for Trump, calls the allegation ridiculous. “Mr. Trump eagerly awaits the agency’s report and certainly expects his hair to be exonerated,” she says. More.
A Mexican who crossed into the United States 18 months ago and is working here illegally said it’s true that people from his country are mostly rapists and criminals. “I don’t know how Mr. Trump knew it, but he totally knows what we’re all about,” says the man, who asked not to be identified so he could speak freely to the media.The Mexican immigrant says he and millions of others like him are losers who are too lazy and stupid to make their own country work, so they come here to leach off the success of the United States. “Everything we touch reeks of refried beans and chiles,” he says. “Our hair is oily and we treat our women like dirt. We drive broken-down trucks and we take jobs from good Americans who could really use the work. I can’t say I disagree with Mr Trump when he says we should all be deported and a big wall erected to keep filth like us out.” More.
WASHINGTON—The Chinese government has reached out to the Obama administration with a proposal to buy the country’s debt of more than $17 trillion if the government would take about $5 trillion for it. “We are offering the U.S. government an opportunity to get our from under its heavy debt load, restructure its finances, and move on to a new period of prosperity,” said China’s Minister of Finance Lou Jiwei. “We say at the outset that we cannot offer less than this discount of 70 percent, because the American government has threatened to default several times in the last three years.” Lou said the Chinese government would also require that all American companies doing business in China work in partnership with Chinese companies, which would include the sharing of proprietary trade and technological intelligence. “Of course, the prohibition on Chinese companies sharing trade and technological intelligence with American partners would remain in place, as it must,” said Lou. More.
BEIJING—China this week released its plan to dominate the world by 2020 and also host a summit on the overfishing of red herring in the South Sea. “This is China’s century and we are determined to assert our interests globally in accordance with our stature as the one true superpower,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a news conference here yesterday. China is the world’s largest country by population, with 1.36 million people, not counting ethnic Uighurs, and the world’s second largest economy, with a gross domestic product of $16.1 trillion. That is about $1 trillion less than the United States, although that gap is expected to close within the next 18 months because of America’s declining productivity and “black president,” the plan says. More.
The world’s worst investor says he’s going all-in on California swimming pools, because with the state’s new water meters and water-use restrictions, swimming pools will become the “forbidden fruit” of the moneyed set. “Where does the 1 percent live? In California. What does the 1 percent want? Swimming pools,” says the world’s worst investor. The world’s worst investor says he “took a bath” on his last big investment idea, Texas gun locks. But he thinks he’s backing a winner this time. “You want to go where people are going, only go there sooner,” he says. “Right now, where are people going? They’re going to California to swim.” More.
AKRON, Ohio—Touring a wire coat hanger factory in what was once a blighted industrial area here, President Barack Obama said the United States is returning to its roots as a manufacturing giant and he took a stab at critics who say the country risks losing more manufacturing jobs if a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is passed. “Like this wire coat hanger I have in my hand, the United States is strong,” Obama said, speaking before the 75 employees of the Ace Wire Company. “Anyone who needs evidence that the United States can compete with anyone in the world just needs to look at the factory floor that surrounds me. Every day, more than 10,000 coat hangers are made here and distributed to dry cleaners and hotels throughout the United States and throughout the world. America is back!” More.
Saying “it just makes sense,” delegates from around the world overwhelmingly passed a resolution blaming all of the world’s woes on the United States. “Whereas the United States continues to have, albeit barely, the largest economy in the world, and
“Whereas the United States makes a lot of mistakes that everyone in the world knows about, and
“Whereas the United States has been involved in some capacity in all regions of the world for several decades, and
“Whereas the United States is in a state of decline and is clearly failing in all respects,
“We hereby resolve to levy blame for everything that is wrong in the world today on the United States of America. Happy New Year.” The vote was devastatingly lopsided, with delegates from 156 countries voting in favor and only one, the United Kingdom, voting against. Two countries, Canada and Israel, abstained. More.
After seven years of investigation, a United Nations team of researchers has concluded that Iran does not have homosexuals, as former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asserted at Columbia University in 2007. In his statement seven years ago, while he was speaking in New York City, Ahmadinejad told his audience of mostly students and faculty that “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We do not have this phenomenon. I do not know who has told you we have it.” At the time, the comment elicited laughter and some boos among the 700 people in the audience. But according to the U.N. team that has just delivered its comprehensive report to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Iran in fact has no homosexuals. More.
OTTOWA—Tired of living in the shadow of its much larger southern neighbor, Canada yesterday officially changed its name to Not USA and unveiled a new flag that government officials say is designed to tell the world that Canada is its own country and not simply a northern outpost of the United States. “Not USA has a long and proud history,” says Stephen Harper, prime minister of Not USA, formerly known as Canada. “With our new name and flag, we’re celebrating our unique place in the community of nations. People forget that Not USA defeated the United States in several key battles in the War of 1812 and beat the U.S. in the 2010 winter olympics hockey championship. What’s more, Not USA is the largest country on earth by land mass, has more ice than any other country, and is the world’s largest producer of maple syrup and moose souvenirs.” More.
Researchers at Oxford University have bestowed upon Canada the dubious distinction of being the most boring of the six countries that comprise what’s known as the Anglosphere: Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United States. “We think it’s important that this matter be settled once and for all,” says lead researcher Nigel Clappe, lecturer in political science and demographics at Oxford University. “Up until this point, people have been identifying the most boring country based on nothing more than their own gut feeling. And that wasn’t helping anybody.” More.
Saying it’s impossible to be mad when you skip, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for leaders around the world to take up skipping, the “hippity-hoppity” gait that comes so naturally to children. “If you remember the last time you skipped, you will no doubt remember feeling frisky and carefree,” Ban said in a statement released today. The U.N. last week passed a referendum declaring the week of Dec. 18-25 World Skipping Week, which the international organization hopes will inspire people everywhere to skip rather than fight. More.