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Episode 152: Thank you, Mr. President

Presidential money
Episode 152: Thank you, Mr. President


This “Money With Mak and G” podcast episode, we’re celebrating Presidents Day by looking back at some of our favorite presidents, the relationships they had with money, and how they changed the course of history…

Let’s be honest, we’d all love to have our face on a dollar bill, but who decides which people get put on our money?

This episode, we look at how money gets coined, some of the troubles past presidents had with money, and the fate of the 10 thousand dollar bill…

“The penny costs, funnily enough, around 1.8 cents to make!”Mak

“It took him a decade to pay his debt back, yep honest Abe, he freed the slaves and was well-loved by many because of his actions.”Mak

Time Stamps:
01:14 – George Washington and the money problems he had.
02:33 – The love George Washington had for dogs and the whiskey he made.
03:10 – George Washington’s teeth problems.
03:28 – The number of letters George Washington wrote.
03:55 – The two non-presidents that are on bills and the biggest bills that ever existed.
04:30 – One dollar gold coins, the only coins with a woman on them.
05:47 – How you get your face on a bill.
06:27 – Abraham Lincoln and his history in wrestling.
06:58 – How much it costs to make coins and bills.
07:24 – Abraham Lincoln going bankrupt and some of the great things he went on to do.

Connect with Ben Jones:


MAK: Welcome back to Money with Mak & G. We’re here each week and we’d love a COMMENT, a LIKE, or maybe even a SUBSCRIBE. See how I did that? A little change-up.

DAD: Nice, maybe I could do a change-up, by doing the podcast with you. Grant hasn’t been feeling well lately. I saw a bit of fish food the last couple of days, but he’s getting better. I know we can do it.

MAK:  Ugh.  Not that again.  But, you do love your Ben and Jerry’s.  Hey, it’s a good time for Grant to recover.  We just had teacher’s institute last Friday with a day off, and also President’s Day.

DAD: Agree, we wouldn’t want him to miss too much school or be down for the count over Spring Break.  Hey, did you celebrate President’s Day?

MAK: I sure did. Lying around, enjoying myself with a little “R and R”, playing games, watching some YouTube, hanging with the fam, and NO homework!

DAD: Everybody needs some rest.  But, you missed a great opportunity to celebrate some great Presidents and learn a bit more about them and money wouldn’t be too bad, right?

MAK:  Ok, I’m buying what you’re selling, let’s do it.  How about we start with #1, Mr. George Washington. Born on February 11th, 1731. He would’ve been 291.

DAD: What? Isn’t his birthday Tuesday, the day after President’s day, which is 2/22/22.

MAK: Funny, you say that. He was actually born on the 11th, but when the colonies switched to the Gregorian calendar, from the Julian, they moved it a year and 11 days. So, you didn’t really miss it!! His updated birthday is February 22, 1732, which makes him actually 290!! 

DAD: Awesome!  I was right. He’s on the $1 bill. A personal favorite, so flexible, so easy to spend, tips, vending machines, and other adult things. I know he must have been great with money to get that honor!

MAK: Dad, surprising enough, he actually had money problems.  He had to BORROW money just to attend his first inauguration.  Even though his salary in 1789 was said to be 2% of the US budget!!

DAD: No way. That’s mind-boggling.  I’m not sure I can fathom that. Want to hear another?  He’s the highest-ranking US military person EVER. They literally passed a law. I guess people loved him.

MAK: And, he LOVED dogs.  He was known as the “Father of the American Foxhound” with over 30 of them.  Three of the hound’s names were Drunkard, Tipler, and Tipsy. Maybe those came from the fact he had one of the largest alcohol distilleries at the time, producing 11,000 gallons of whiskey.  

DAD: Animal lover, nice. He was a big supporter of not drinking too much as that was bad. Plus, his white hair in pictures was real, but he did use powder. He may have also invented the toothbrush, too.

MAK: Daaaad.  That’s not true, but I get where you’re going.  It was rumored he had wooden teeth. That’s not true, either but he had problems.  By his first inauguration, he only had ONE tooth in his head, so the TOOTHbrush. Anyone else would’ve called it a TEEEEETH brush.

DAD: Dad joke!! Way to go.  I think he was a spammer before his time. You know, lots of junk mail.  He wrote an estimated 18 to 20 thousand letters.  That’s one letter a day for 50-55 years.

           DAD/MAK: Hand cramp!

MAK: He loved paper. Makes sense. The first president on the one-dollar bill, but Salmon Chase, who was the Secretary of the Treasury under Lincoln, was the first in 1862, then Washington in ‘69.

DAD: You’re full of facts.  By the way, do you know the two non-presidents on bills?

MAK: That’s a layup, even for me.  The $10 bill with Alexander Hamilton.  You know the guy in the musical and then “mister lighting with a key and a kite”. Mr. Benjamin Franklin is on the 100.

DAD: I’ve taught you well. And a little musical panache. In 1969, the $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills were discontinued. Talk about having some walking around money. 

MAK: I guess it would be weird asking for change for a 10,000.

DAD: You know grandma Jones gave us some $1 gold coins.  I think you said you love those.

MAK: Dad, it’s the only money in circulation in the US with a woman.  What’s up with that?  It’s Sacagawea, and is best known for working with Lewis and Clark on their Expedition.

DAD:  Her story of traveling thousands of miles from St. Louis to the Pacific Northwest.  She was a Shoshone Indian who was taken in a raid and sold as a slave. Unbelievable story.

MAK: Sacagawea means “Bird Woman” or “Boat Launcher”. That’s cool. Susan B Anthony was also on the $1 coin. But, Hellen Keller was on the quarter. In my research on bills with women, I’ve found some conflicting info. Some places say Martha Washington, and others say Pochantas was as well.

DAD: I found Martha’s online. She is right there portrait style on the front.  I guess it’s good to be the first lady, one of the first on a bill, on the $1 certificate. The other is Pochantas who is on the back of a $20 bill. But, I couldn’t find one of her.

MAK: Well, if you have a nice Martha Washington bill, it’s worth 4,000 George Washingtons’ today. Harriet Tubman almost made it on the 20 to replace Andrew Jackson by 2020, but it didn’t happen.

DAD: It was confusing because I remember it was going to happen, then it didn’t, then it was going to happen, and so on. Do you know how you get your face on a bill?

MAK: The final say is all up to the secretary of the treasury.  But, you and I can’t get on a bill, because you have to be…

           DAD/MAK: Dead

DAD: I guess a guy named Spencer Clark, who worked in the treasury put his picture on the 5 cent bill. That was a big problem. It was immediately retired. Since 1929, the same guys are on there.

MAK: They haven’t wanted to change since they want something with a permanent familiarity in the minds of the public. Changing portraits a lot might cause confusion. Is this $100 with Trump real?

DAD: Harriet Tubman unquestionably did a ton for slavery. Presidents and slavery always brings up Lincoln. He was a favorite. He’s celebrated in February because he was born on the 12th.

MAK: I read that he was in the WRESTLING hall of fame, and only lost one match in over 12 years.

DAD: That’s a new one by me, but he was 6’4” and was raised tough on the Indiana frontier.

MAK: Daaaaddd…. He made it on the penny and the $5 bill. He’s important enough to be on bills AND coins, like Washington and Jefferson. I think that was it.

DAD: It costs a lot to make coins and bills.  Not only the actual stuff in the coin or bill, but special ink, cost to print or stamp it, and trying to keep it so you can’t easily make them yourself.

MAK: The penny, funny enough costs around 1.8 cents to make, nickels cost almost 7 ½ cents.  Feels like running backward, huh? Remember how you were let down about Washington handling money?

DAD: Yep, and I know what you’re going to say.  Honest Abe filed bankruptcy in 1833 due to a failed business.  I guess he was a partner in a general store in Illinois, when his partner died, it went under.

MAK: It took him a decade to pay the money back.  Yep, Honest Abe. He freed the slaves and was well-loved by many because of his actions. When he died, almost ⅓ of Americans or 30million took part.

DAD: The funeral train re-traced his steps to getting elected.  They didn’t have refrigeration back then, so before every stop, they had to take care of the body.  In Chicago, 125,000 people saw him.

MAK: It was estimated that 7,000 people could pass in an hour.  That’s close to a solid 18 hours straight. They added additional stops on the train route too. He did a lot, how about we name a couple:

           DAD: Signed The Homestead Act for the poor to get property

           MAK: Set up the Department of Agriculture

           DAD: Signed the Revenue Act of 1862 which led to the creation of the IRS. YUCK but necessary!

           MAK: Morrill Land-Grant for creating colleges

           DAD: Created the US National Banking System

           MAK: Led the Reconstruction effort after the Civil War

DAD: Great stuff.  I think it’s time to say goodbye. We’ll see you next week for more…..

DAD/MAK: Money with Mak & Dad.  Oops. Bye!!

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