I’ve been reading a lot about the national debt recently. The debt is not new, of course, and people have been debating the subject for years. Some argue that the debt is not a major problem because it’s not that big in relation to our national assets and revenues. Others, however, emphasize that if it’s not paid off, or at least reduced significantly, it will limit the nation’s ability to tackle other important tasks.
This issue has become even more pronounced in recent months as our government has taken on additional debt during this Coronavirus pandemic. To help ordinary citizens understand the overall size of the current national debt, some financial experts estimate that the debt means every single taxpayer in this country owes approximately $200,000 (see link below).
$200,000? Seriously? Are you kidding me? That’s a boatload of money. And that’s just for me. My wife owes the same amount. So does my daughter. So does every taxpayer on our street, in our community, in our county, in our state. You get the idea. What are we going to do?
Obviously, most of us cannot pay off our share. And no one seriously expects us to do so. But what if we were willing to pay off a little bit of it? That would help, right?
I know. Asking individuals to contribute is futile. A drop in the proverbial bucket. I get it. Somehow, though, I think it would make me feel a little better if I at least attempt to help out. God knows it doesn’t appear as if our politicians are seriously tackling the problem.
So here’s my idea. Why don’t we simply set up some kind of national account that would allow personal and corporate donations to help pay off the national debt? Anyone could contribute any dollar amount, and every dollar would go directly to pay down the debt.
We wouldn’t need any kind of tax deduction or tax credit. That would only complicate the process and reduce its effectiveness. And donations could not be used to finance any other government activity. As I said above, every dollar would go directly to pay down the debt.
Local banks could accept our cash donations. We could write checks or make wire transfers. We could even use our debit cards or our smart phones and our computers to contribute. As Yogi Berra might have said, “This is not rocket surgery.”
Is this a crazy idea? Of course it is. But as someone who is rapidly approaching 70, I am concerned about the size of the debt, and I feel uncomfortable about leaving this debt to subsequent generations After all, we all benefit from government-provided programs, services, infrastructure, etc., so let’s demand that our leaders allow us to help them solve the problem. I would like to help. I would like to do my small part. And I have a feeling many others in this great country feel the same.