“It’s our country. It’s our debt. We are all responsible. We
can’t just sit around waiting for government to fix this.” — Scott
Soucy | Middletown, Del.
Eli Saslow at the Washington Post has a story about a guy, Scott Soucy, with a proposal to pay
down the national debt. He believes each of us,
including businesses, can take care of the national debt on our
own. The simple explanation is you donate $1 every paycheck and
businesses donate $1 for every transaction over $10. Personally, I
think the paycheck proposal is easier to swallow than the business
There is a group looking to have a place on your tax form you can
designate to donate to the debt. Before I found the site, I looked
at the 1040 form and there is not a space specifically designated
for that. You can give $3 to the presidential campaign fund, but
not for the debt. You can send the IRS a separate check with your
return if you like, but how many people are actually mailing hard
copy tax forms anymore?
If you want to help pay off the debt, Pay.gov has a page,
Gifts to Reduce the Public
Debt, where you can donate online.
Obviously, if you’re convinced government has more of a spending
problem than an income problem, you might not be motivated to do
something like this. However, the fact that it’s voluntary might
have some appeal even to fiscal hawks.
There are legion stories about government spending money it
doesn’t have, the most glaring example being our entering a war we
that didn’t cost us a single extra tax nickel now. It was the first
time we ever did that. We got into debt for other wars, but
we at least paid for some of
each with additional taxes.
Complaining about that, though, has yet to do anything to solve
the debt trouble we are in. At least Soucy is seeing the problem as
his own. I think there is probably much to fault in his specific
plan, but he is not waiting around for someone else to come up with
a better idea. He’s taking on the challenge now and encouraging
others to do the same. If 220 million other people felt that same
level of accountability we might actually solve the problem.
It may come down to 220 million people like me realizing that
however little blame I am willing to accept for the overall
problem, I benefit from federal spending any time I cross the
According to CNN people donated nearly $8
million to pay down the debt in fiscal 2012, more than
double the donations from earlier years. It’s a groundswell, but
it’s far from 220 million. No wonder, then, there is little
movement in solving the fiscal cliff issue. American leaders are
taking their cues from us. Almost everyone involved is waiting for
someone else to budge.