Because of a problem with the presses, the federal government has shut down production of its flashy new $100 bills, and has quarantined more than 1 billion of them -- more than 10 percent of all existing U.S. cash -- in a vault in Fort Worth, Texas, reports CNBC.This article reports that these bills would be the first with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's signature. So even he seems to have his name on this misfortune. Never mind the controversy over his taxes when he was first considered and appointed to head the Treasury Department.
"There is something drastically wrong here," one source told CNBC. "The frustration level is off the charts."
Officials with the Treasury and the Federal Reserve had touted the new bills' sophisticated security features that were 10 years in the making, including a 3-D security strip and a color-shifting image of a bell, designed to foil counterfeiters. But it turns out the bills are so high-tech that the presses can't handle the printing job.
More than 1 billion unusable bills have been printed. Some of the bills creased during production, creating a blank space on the paper, one official told CNBC. Because correctly printed bills are mixed in with the flawed ones, even the ones printed to the correct design specs can't be used until they 're sorted. It would take an estimated 20 to 30 years to weed out the defective bills by hand, but a mechanized system is expected to get the job done in about a year.
Combined, the quarantined bills add up to $110 billion -- more than 10 percent of the entire U.S. cash supply, which now stands at around $930 billion.
The flawed bills, which cost around $120 million to print, will have to be burned.
17 hours ago