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A College Kid That Gets It



July 28, 2009 – Comments (11)

It's a tough thing trying to have hope in the future. We see the product of the modern education system: task-driven androids that mindlessly repeat the same slogans, maintain an impregnable air of entitlement, and sneer at anyone who offers an opinion or thought outside of the cookie-cutter dumbed-down world view that has been crammed into their heads.  They are culturally diverse and intellectually carbon copies of each other.  

Then along comes a free thinker and spirit, and that person always makes me smile.  So today I want to share the story of Briggs Armstrong, a young Misesian at Auburn University.  Not only does this young man (from the looks of his picture he's about 12, but more likely 20) have the critical thinking skills that few adults possess, he has the courage to implement his ideas even though he fully expects to be ridiculed by the ignorant.  On top of that, his essay "Why I Pay With Two Dollar Bills" was published on the front page of an economics website that is normally reserved for titans such as Hayek, Mises, Rothbard, Woods, DiLorezo, etc.  and fomally trained economists.  Congrats to Briggs Armstrong!  He should be very proud of this achievement.

Why I Pay With Two Dollar Bills by Briggs Armstrong

I recently decided that I am going to pay for as many things as is practicable using only two-dollar bills. I will now attempt to explain my purely symbolic gesture and the reactions I have received so far.

A few weeks ago I determined that I should be doing something to express my dissatisfaction with current monetary policy, and get people interested in the topic. Inflation was my main concern. I tossed around a few ideas of how to get others interested. I needed to do something dramatic enough to get attention, and interesting, or eccentric, enough to prompt people to educate themselves about monetary policy and price inflation. But how could I both express my discontent and get people to learn that the Fed's printing of trillions is disastrous?

It's a great idea and I hope it catches on.  I will also note that Americans are so ignorant of their own money that several people have been arrested for using perfectly legit $2 because the cashier and police officer didn't know they were legal tender.  Amazing!  I learned about $2 bills when I was six years old for crying out loud.  How dumb are these people?

David in Qatar


11 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On July 28, 2009 at 10:12 AM, outoffocus (23.81) wrote:

There was a 16 year old that blogged on here a couple months ago and even HE got it. I wish I should remember his name.

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#2) On July 28, 2009 at 10:36 AM, lemoneater (57.51) wrote:

Yes, a lot of people don't even know about $2 bills. I haven't seen one for years. A relative used to include a $2 bill in my birthday card when I was around 10-12 years old. I thought it was neat, but it wasn't the easiest money to spend since not everyone recognized it. (All money is not created equal.)

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#3) On July 28, 2009 at 11:41 AM, ocsurf (< 20) wrote:

Great article. The look on people's faces when you give them a two dollar bill is priceless.

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#4) On July 28, 2009 at 1:03 PM, GNUBEE (< 20) wrote:

Great concept, and great way to bring outsiders, and spread knowledge.

I might have to go and ask my bank for two's myself.......

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#5) On July 28, 2009 at 3:41 PM, ReadEmAnWeep (85.76) wrote:

That is awesome. I will need to read the rest of that article.

whereaminow: This is off topic, but where did you go to college and what was your major?

It might sound odd, but I found thats the best way for me to get a feel for someone with the least words exchanged. Probably because I am a college student right now.

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#6) On July 28, 2009 at 3:51 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:


I extend the same offer to you that I do to all Fools here.  I have to keep some anonymity here, but I will happily talk about my personal life with you on Facebook or email.  Hit me up!

David in Qatar

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#7) On July 28, 2009 at 10:15 PM, DaretothREdux (49.54) wrote:



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#8) On July 28, 2009 at 10:33 PM, ozzfan1317 (70.54) wrote:

Awesome College student too and I know ignorance is not

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#9) On July 29, 2009 at 6:32 AM, MikeMark (28.96) wrote:

Hi again David,

Nice recognition. I was impressed too. Briggs will be one to watch. It had enough effect on me that I ask for $2s when requesting cash at the bank. So far, none available at the drive-up.

So, what's your idea of a good monetary system? Do you see a need for a "lender of last resort"?

Enjoy (where-ever-you-are),


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#10) On July 29, 2009 at 7:46 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:


Good to hear from you!

I don't have a preference for a specific type of monetary system, although I have a pretty solid understanding of what the market would choose as a monetary system if government didn't get in the way.  What I would like to see is honest money and a system that does not rely on coercion to exist.  A lender of last resort is merely a cute way of saying, "we'll enjoy the windfall from the risks, and you'll pay for our losses."  I really, very badly, want to talk about this a lot more on the CAPS site, but right now I only have time for a link and a thought on my blogs.  It's been a very busy summer. 

In the meantime, I'm going back of De Soto's Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles (pdf.)  His discussion of free banking is off the charts.

Hope you're having a great summer.

David in Qatar

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#11) On July 30, 2009 at 10:40 PM, FleaBagger (27.51) wrote:

Not exactly the same thing, but a couple weeks ago I was going through my old stuff, and I came across a bunch of $2 Fed notes that I had stashed away when I was a child, believing that anything that was relatively rare would become more valuable with age as a collectible. As an adult, I realized that Fed notes were never going to be a collectible because collector's items require destruction of supply, and I knew that these notes were declining in true value every year.

So that night, as my friends and I were buying a pizza, I gave him a bunch these notes, and he looked at me like I was crazy.

"Why are you giving up something so rare and valuable as a $2 bill?" He asked. (I'm paraphrasing.)

"They're losing value every time the Fed inflates the currency," I responded. "And they can't become a collector's item, because everybody's holding onto them."

After a moment of puzzlement, he seemed to see the sense of what I was saying. Furthermore, I urged him not to hoard them in the belief that they would be worth more than their face value someday.

Not long afterward, I saw that article on, and I laughed myself silly at the coincidence, and I forwarded the article to my friend.

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