A Constituent on a Mission
Last year, I was approached by a constituent who told me about a program that enables American citizens to donate money to help retire the soaring public debt. Though still a relatively little-known program, those Americans aware of it have donated millions of dollars since President John F. Kennedy signed the law creating it in 1961.
Even though private citizens are hardly to blame for our country’s financial problems, many patriotic Americans are still willing to give their hard-earned dollars to help solve them. In fact, since 1993, citizens have voluntarily contributed more than $66 million to debt retirement, with nearly $8 million donated in the 2012 fiscal year. That’s more than SEVEN times the annual average.
But Lucile had a concern. It turns out that donations made through this program are ending up in the Treasury Department’s general fund, which serves as the federal government’s main checking account. That means, in all likelihood, these donations are having the unintended consequence of contributing to our government’s out-of-control spending habit instead of helping it.
Lucile and I worked together to craft legislation to ensure donations made by the public are deposited into a separate account for deficit reduction only. We don’t want to encourage donations – just ensure that those made are spent on the right thing. The bill hasn’t seen much progress, but Lucile has continued to champion the cause. In fact, she recently published a children’s book about the federal deficit and will be donating all proceeds to retire the national debt.
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the passion and commitment of constituents like Lucile that make our country the best in the world.