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beta bills

 A consecutive series of 50 $2 bills minted in 2013, when the Federal Reserve continued a policy of Quantitative Easing (QE) begun in 2009. In 2013, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke announced the reduction of future bond purchases, or "tapering" of QE. Market speculators railed against it, fearing it would slow the economy, in what was called a "taper tantrum." It appeared Bernanke succumbed to the pressure, and the Fed continued to buy. That weakness is reflected in the title. The colors echo images associated with childhood or childishness: a baby's room, candy, or even Monopoly money. Although, ironically, even the game Monopoly contains a limited amount of money. 

 faith

A 50-Bolivar note from 2018 during Venezuela's period of hyperinflation. Currency often features a nation's past heroes, whose portraits become the face of despair during monetary devauation and the resulting poverty and suffering. In this case, Antonio José de Sucre was a revolutionary figure helpinig Venezuela to free itself from colonial domination. But that hope was wasted on future generations.

In 2018, (the year this note was printed), the rates of inflation became so accelerated under President Nicolas Maduro, the government stopped providing statistics, with estimates ranging from 33,000% to as high as 1,000,000% by the IMF. Interestingly, de Sucre was a contemporary of George Washington, the face of the US dollar.

open arms

 The title comes from a quote from US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq saying that US soldiers would be welcomed with "bouquets of flowers." Estimates of Iraqi casualaties range from 100,000 to as much as 1 million; US casualties stood at 4,431 through 2021. The war was also sold to US population for its cost: approximately $50-60 billion.

 

In 2020, the Military Times published details of a report estimating the cost of the war was $2 trillion dollars, including $444 billion of interest, roughly $8,000 per US citizen.

As early as June 2003, reports of torture began to emerge, which included many incidents at the Abu Ghraib prison, where up to 50,000 prioners were held. The artwork comes with electric wire shaped like a flower, and a lighter with which the recipient has the option to burn the accompanying 2003 $100 bill.

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