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Guest post: George Washington

Scott Jagow Nov 11, 2009

The first president is staring at me, like he wants to say something. I let him out of my wallet this morning for a little fresh air, thinking maybe he wanted to take a ride down the vending machine chute or something. But I can tell that doesn’t interest him in the least. His eyes are piercing. I think he might be angry. Uh-oh. What is it, Mr. President? What is it?

Let me transcribe.

George Washington: Scott, I want you to communicate something for me. You know, with your thing here. I need you to frog it out.

Me: Uh, frog it, sir? Wait, do you mean blog it?

Washington: Yes, that’s what I said. Frog it.

Me: Of course, yes, sir. It would be an honor, Mr. President. What would you like me to, uh, frog for you?

Washington: Well, I’m a cranky old man, you see. I’m 277 years old, for Jefferson’s sake. I don’t have the patience I used to. And I can’t just sit around here on this dollar bill all day, while the blasted Federal Reserve keeps devaluing me! I won’t stand for it.

Me: Yes, of course not, Mr. President. It seems extremely disrespectful.

Washington: You’re damn right it is, Jagow!

Me: Alright, alright, Mr. President. Let’s be calm about this. If you scream and shout, it’ll just sound like populist outrage, sir.

Washington: Yes, yes, I suppose you’re right. We wouldn’t want that. Listen, I’ve been trying to tell people for 200 years that unfunded paper money is dangerous. Nobody wants to listen. The government just keeps printing these green bills with my picture on it, over and over and over, with no regard for the consequences.

And then I hear the Treasury Secretary, Mr. Geithner, say: “I believe deeply that it’s very important for the U.S. and the economic health of the U.S. that we maintain a strong dollar.”

Me: Yes, he said that in Japan today, sir.

Washington: Well, it’s Poppycock! How can he say that, while his friends at the Fed keep stomping on my face!? I don’t know how many countries have deflated their way out of a recession, but I bet it’s not many.

Me: But isn’t a weakening dollar okay if it doesn’t get out of control? I mean, it might help boost the job market if US companies can export more, right?

Washington: I don’t trust it. Maybe there’s some truth in it, but I worry this government is way in over its head. Back in my day, I did everything I could to protect the nation’s credit. I knew we’d never make it as a country if we buried ourselves in debt from the get-go. Of course, that was a different time. You’re an older and wiser country now. Well, older anyway. I still think it’s dangerous policy.

Me: Well, we certainly do appreciate…

Washington: I mean, have you seen the price of gold?? Makes me look like a dishrag. I only wish I had bought a few bars back in 1795 when I the chance. I’d be rolling in it right now. You should hear Martha. Boy, is she upset about that one.

Me: Yes I suppose she probably is, sir.

Washington: I guess that’s all. I’ve gotta run. Some of the founding fathers and I are having a get-together in your wallet, so if you don’t mind waiting to spend us, we’d certainly appreciate it. It’s a good idea to save anyway.

Me: Will do, Mr. President. Thank you.

Washington: Oh, one more thing. I don’t like that machine you feed me into. I’m always getting stuck. I’m too old for that nonsense. Stop it. That stuff’s no good for you anyway.

Me: Of course, Mr. President.

Wow. How about that, huh? The president also wanted to pass along the text from a letter he sent to the state of Rhode Island on January 9, 1787:

“I am sanguine in the belief of the possibility that we may one day become a great commercial and flourishing nation. But if in the pursuit of the means we should unfortunately stumble again on unfunded paper money, or any similar species of fraud, we shall assuredly give a fatal stab to our national credit in its infancy. Paper money has had the effect in your state that it will ever have, to ruin commerce, oppress the honest, and open the door to every species of fraud and injustice.”

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