For many Americans, $2 bills are sacrosanct. You rarely see them used in stores, except as a decoration taped up over the cash register. In fact, growing up, my family considered it a kind of sin to spend one. Instead, my dad has an envelope stowed away somewhere in which an unknown amount of $2 bills are aging gracefully.
However, if Taco Bell has their way, the $2 bill could make a resurgence. Wednesday, the popular fast food chain took out a full page ad in USA Today requesting that the “Governors of the Federal Reserve” put more $2 bills into circulation. As The Wall Street Journal points out, the ad is tied to a larger promotion for Taco Bell’s new $2 combo meal deals, which by the way, are not actually $2 in a number of places.
Yet, even though the ad itself is clearly a ludicrous marketing ploy, it has called attention to a currency that Americans have long been nostalgic for. According to the U.S. Treasury, the $2 bill remains in circulation even today, but is only issued based on the demand from banks and generally is not printed “as often as the others.” Still, $2 bills have clearly been on the decline. The last year the $2 bill was printed was back in 2006. As of 2007, there was more than $1.5 billion worth of $2 bills in circulation and only about half that amount by the end of 2009.Even with hundreds of millions of these bills floating around the country, they continue to feel like a rare commodity. There are multiple fan pages on Facebook for the $2 bill as well as sites like SaveJefferson.com, which offers a series of reasons to love the currency (“they take up less space in our wallets than singles”) and even holds a contest to redesign the bill. By comparison, there are tons of groups out there calling for the retirement of the penny. Clearly not all currencies are made equal.