Earlier today on CNBC, host Larry Kudlow introduced a segment on the government’s new Term Asset-Backed Loan Facility by lighting a dollar bill on fire. Kudlow said that the program — which is aimed at energizing “the asset-backed securities market that effectively subsidizes loans to consumers and businesses” — would result in “a lot of people lighting flame to the U.S. dollar which is going down in flames.” “No one is thinking about it, no one is worrying about it, it’s going down in flames,” he said. Watch it:
While Kudlow and his co-hosts seemed to enjoy their on-air gimmick, they apparently forgot that U.S. currency is protected by federal law. Indeed, were Kudlow to be convicted of defacing the dollar he’d be eligible for up to six months in prison:
§ 333. Mutilation of national bank obligations.Whoever mutilates, cuts, defaces, disfigures, or perforates, or unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, or Federal Reserve bank, or the Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.