What You Don’t Know About the New $100 Bill

A new $100 bill is on the way. As evidenced by the first issue (not sure how many are coming) of the $100 BankNote e-newsletter, it’s not a simple process.

Security procedures are the primary reason for the lengthy introduction. A 3-D security ribbon with colors, bells and more is part of that mix, but I was more intrigued by some of the trivia elements. Among the facts:

  • The bill features Benjamin Franklin’s portrait on the front and a new image of the back of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall on the back
  • There are also phrases from the Declaration of Independence and a quill pen similar to the one used to sign that document
  • Some bills will have a small FW in the corner, which means they were printed at the Western Currency Facility in Fort Worth, Texas. No "FW" means it was printed at the Eastern Currency Facility in Washington, D.C.
  • Finally, U.S. currency is made of three-fourths cotton and one-fourth linen

The new $100 debut: February 10, 2011.

Americans Get an “F” in Civics

There is no political divide in the results from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s latest civics literacy test. Everyone earned a failing grade.

While the organization has focused on a lack of civics knowledge among college students in past years, it expanded its reach this time around. Randomly selected Americans earned an average score of 49 on the 33-question test. Amazingly, elected officials came in even lower at 44%. Breakout totals included: Republicans (52%), Democrats (45%), liberals (49%) and conservatives (48%).

So what didn’t these people know. How about:

  • Fewer than half could name all three branches of government
  • Only 54% could identify a basic description of the free enterprise system
  • 40% of those with a bachelor’s degree did not know that business profit equals revenues minus expenses
  • 30% of elected officials did not know that "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" are the unalienable rights referred to in the Declaration of Independence

There’s plenty more to amaze — and dismay — you. The National Center for Policy Analysis has a summary or take the quiz yourself.

What’s the solution? I don’t know. But these results and the prospects for what they mean down the road sure are depressing.