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President Obama announcing selection of Jack Lew President Obama nominates Jack Lew to be Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. (Rex Features via AP Images)

The Secretary of Scribble?

This wacky signature might soon appear on U.S. dollars.

By Samantha McCann | null null , null

Over the past few weeks, President Barack Obama has been picking people to help him run the U.S. government for the next four years of his presidency. These selections are called federal appointments. One of the people Obama chose was Jack Lew, who may become the next Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

The Treasury Secretary is in charge of making or keeping the U.S. economy strong. Soon, members of the U.S. Senate will vote on whether Lew is the right person for the job. They will look at Lew’s skills and experience. But right now, lots of people are looking at Lew’s strange signature. They know that the signature of whoever is Treasury Secretary appears in the corner of all paper money—and Lew’s signature is impossible to read.

Lew’s signature is a string of loopy squiggles. (Look at the photo above to see it.) New York magazine said it looks like “a Slinky that has lost its spring.” It also said the signature looks like “one of those crazy straws you get at Six Flags [amusement park].”

Others have compared it to ramen noodles, curly fries, and the swirl on the top of Hostess cupcakes.


Every four years, the President is responsible for choosing thousands of officials to help run the government. These include judges and lawyers, ambassadors to other countries, and people who oversee the government agencies that keep your food safe and send astronauts into space.

The Treasury Secretary is one of 15 appointed officials in the President’s Cabinet, a group of his closest advisers. They are some of the most important appointments that Presidents make, and each of them has to be approved by the Senate before becoming official.

In a press conference after announcing his important pick, President Obama said that he had “never noticed Jack’s signature.” He joked that if he had seen it earlier, he might not have nominated Lew for the position.


The current Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, also had a messy signature when he took over the job in 2009. He changed it so it would be a bit more readable.

Will Lew change his signature to make it more readable as Geithner did? Obama joked that Lew promised to make at least one letter readable. But many Americans don’t think Lew should change the loops.

A radio station asked people if Lew should change his signature if he becomes the next Treasury Secretary. Of the more than 1,400 people who responded, 76 percent said he should keep it “just the way it is.” What do you think?

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