Americans donate almost $8 million to pay down debt

Robert Gubbins/Shutterstock.com

More than any time since the mid-1990s, citizens are pitching in to help the government pay its debt.

During the latest fiscal year, which began shortly after a fight over the statutory borrowing limit cast the country's eyes on its ballooning debt, citizens gifted nearly $7.7 million to the government to help it pay down its obligations.

The gifts, allowed under a 1961 law, are processed by a small agency within the Treasury Department called the Bureau of the Public Debt.

According to the bureau's records, fiscal 2012 brought in more than double the amount of donations than any of the past 15 years--and that doesn't even include gifts made in September, the final month of the fiscal year, which have yet to be tallied up.

The annual average since 1996 is $2.2 million; people donated $3.3 million in fiscal 2011.

People can make contributions online or through a check payable to the Bureau of the Public Debt, mailed to "Dept G" at the bureau in Parkersburg, W.Va., according to the bureau's website.

Donations tend to be small, under $1,000, according to Joyce Harris, a spokeswoman for the Treasury Department. They usually come from estates and individuals. Harris did not have data broken down in a way that would explain the spike in giving during fiscal 2012, although she notes that the level of donations has picked up over the last few years.

Even though $7.7 million is a large sum in the gifts-to-reduce-the-debt world, it is a small drop in a giant bucket; the national debt currently stands at over $16 trillion.

(Image via Robert Gubbins/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.