Remember those X-tra X-treme new $100 bills the U.S. government introduced via triumphant Internet vid last spring? [Watch after jump.] Well, so absurdly turbocharged with new-age gadgetry were they, that the Benjamins seem to have outfoxed their maker.
A billion (or so) of the bills caused printers to glitch, crumpling/folding them on the way through so that patches of ink are missing.
Now, the whole lot has been packaged into stacks of $1.6 million and frantically shut away in huge vaults in Texas and Washington, D.C. Needless to say, the February 2011 release date has been scratched indefinitely.
With current technology, it would take 20 to 30 years to separate usable bills from the fucked-up lot. So, uh, that option is out. According to CNBC:
Because officials don't know how many of the 1.1 billion bills include the flaw, they have to hold them in the massive vaults until they are able to develop a mechanized system that can sort out the usable bills from the defects... in about one year.
Kind of like that thing where, if you get cancer and can't come to terms with dying, you can freeze yourself in hopes that one day there'll be a "mechanized system" to resurrect and cure you! Do not fret, Sir Franklin -- you will live to bask in the fluorescent light of America's department stores yet. It just might take a few more billion in reparations, plus one to 20 years of trial and error.
The locked-down stash already cost $120 million to produce, crinkles and all. Another jaw-dropper: It totals $110 billion, over 10 percent of all of U.S. currency available in the entire universe.
Turns out this whole thing has been going on since October; we were just too busy with Four Loko and WikiLeaks to notice Treasury officials were clammy as hell and rapidly losing weight. Now that the cat's out of the bag, we have this highly reassuring quote from one such dud:
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"We are working really hard to try to get a solution to the problem."
Check out how sweet they would have been, if they hadn't imploded on themselves: