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U.S. Currency Now Growing on Trees
Government program gives new meaning to “green thumb”

by Marcos Johnsones
November 14, 2000

U.S. Currency Now Growing on Trees_Marcos Johnsones-Government program gives new meaning to “green thumb” WASHINGTON, D.C. (PO) — Remember when your parents used to say “Money doesn’t grow on trees”? Well, that’s no longer true. Thanks to a miracle of modern science, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, together with the U.S. Mint, has genetically-engineered a new breed of trees that actually produces cash. The top-secret project that led to the development, Operation Greenleaf, was spearheaded by the U.S. Treasury Department in the wake of disappointing savings bond sales. The arboreal money-makers are now available to the public with an average return on investment occurring after just 10 years per tree.

Oscar Wintergreen, spokesman for the new U.S. Mint in rural southeast Iowa, where the first cash trees were planted, says he expects investors to be reluctant at first. “The trees only yield perhaps ten to twenty bills in its fledgling years, but when people realize that a mature tree yields up to 200 bills per year, with a potential to double the initial investment after thirteen, fourteen years, I think we’ll see extremely rapid growth in the Harvest Green Program.”

The trees are available in four varieties: the Franklin, Grant, Jackson, and Hamilton, named after the presidents appearing on the front of the denomination each tree respectively grows. The $100 bill-bearing Franklins sell for $100,000 at one year old, the Grants for $50,000, Jacksons for $20,000, and Hamiltons for $10,000. While the produce is genuine legal tender, investors are responsible for proper care of the trees to ensure a good crop since the government program only guarantees a 50% return on investment.

Jake Crawford, a Wisconsin farmer included in the experimental initial group of investors, acknowledges that there are considerable risks in money farming. “You have to know what you’re doing, that’s for sure. They require a lot more maintainence than your average apple tree. I lost two Jacksons to pests -- they love those special monetary fibers. You have to be careful when you pick the bills too. I’ve ripped a couple hundred dollars worth in half and had to use Scotch tape on ‘em. Then, of course, there’s thieves.”

After some mischievous teens ignored several No Trespassing signs, Crawford quickly installed a twenty-foot high electric fence around, and over, his money orchard as well as a sophisticated monitoring system. “The top fence is to keep the birds out. I found a six-hundred dollar robin’s nest in my barn a couple of months ago.” There is also an immense tarp mechanism employed on rainy days. “Wet weather is definitely a problem with cash trees. I got a friend in Appleton who lost his entire crop in a severe thunderstorm.” Nevertheless, Crawford remains optimistic about his future home-grown earnings.

The news of the program created an instant buzz on Wall Street, but excitement turned to jitters when word leaked that several packets of Franklin tree seeds are missing from the Mint’s high-security lab in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Unnamed sources suspect the seeds are already planted and growing in Chinese soil.

Meanwhile, environmental activists are said to be “conflicted” about this unexpected merger of capitalism and nature. When asked for a reaction, officials at the Sierra Club could only stare blankly in confusion.

One thing for certain, now that money does grow on trees, is that parents will now have to think of some other reason not to give their kid ten bucks to go to the movies.

About the Author:
Marcos Johnsones is a senior news correspondent for The Partial Observer.


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