Secretary of Scribble: Is Jack Lew About to Doodle on Your Dollars?


Because President Barack Obama plans to name Jack Lew as his pick to replace Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, your money might soon start looking a little goofy.

Call it doodle-nomics: If confirmed to head the Treasury, Lew, currently the White House chief of staff, would lend his squiggly signature to the bottom right quadrant of all newly printed greenbacks. His peculiar penmanship came to light in a September 2011 memo when he was the director of the Office of Management and Budget. New York magazine's Kevin Roose compares it to "a Slinky that has lost its spring."

Around that time, forensic handwriting analyst Sheila Lowe told The Daily Mail that a signature is the "cover on the book" that demonstrates how a person presents himself publicly. The parabolic peaks and valleys of Lew's letters may reveal a type of disguise.

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"The soft roundedness of the letters show he can adapt quickly and make rapid changes," Lowe said of Lew. "But he's also self-protective. He doesn't want people to see his private side."

On the economic front, at least, Lew appears at first blush to have little to hide. When he headed the budget office for President Bill Clinton, he and his boss left the nation with a $237 billion budget surplus.

But it's a different ballgame now. The loop-de-loops appear to be a surrealistic representation of the U.S. economy circa 2008. He will be charged with spurring Congress to raise the government's $16.4 trillion debt ceiling, so perhaps the jumbled John Hancock is only fitting.