The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.8.6: "The Congress shall have Power … To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States." The Congress passed laws under this provision that made counterfeiting United States bonds, currency and coins a federal crime.
"The Secret Service, which is a branch of the Treasury Department, was given jurisdiction over counterfeit cases. The penalty for counterfeiting is a $5,000 fine and up to fifteen years' imprisonment" (W. Cleon Skousen, The Making of America: the Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 428).
Counterfeiting in America has "thrived" at various times, especially early in our history. When banks printed currency, each bank had its own design, and counterfeiters had easy times copying any of the designs. Official national currency - "greenbacks" - was first issued in 1862. The U.S. Treasury has been issuing new currency in recent years that make counterfeiting more difficult.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
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