The national debt

Since its inception, THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL has had a Voluntarily Pay More Taxes widget in the right-hand sidebar. If you click on the button, either in this article or in the sidebar widget, you will be directed to a site with the United States Department of the Treasury through which you may make a donation to pay down the national debt.

Your Editor has mocked the Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength in the past, once for their blatant hypocrisy, and again for their surreptitious link to a far-left organization; they are not honest about why they want higher taxes.

However, I saw this story from

Donations to Pay Down U.S. Debt Spike, But the Dent Is Tiny

By Damian Paletta

Maybe Americans are getting more generous. Or maybe they are just sick and tired of hearing lawmakers fight about taxes and spending. But whatever the cause, there’s been a noticeable spike in voluntary payments made by taxpayers to pay down the government’s $15.7 trillion debt.

From October 2011 through April 2012, the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Public Debt reported it collected $5.8 million in voluntary payments from taxpayers earmarked solely for paying down the debt. That’s more than the $3.3 million collected during the entire 2011 fiscal year – which ran from October 2010 through September 2011.

In fact, the government has already collected more in the current fiscal year, which ends in September, than any other year except for 1994 and 1995, when Democrats and Republicans were also at war over the government’s budget.

The influx so far this year is primarily due to “three pretty big estate gifts – one in particular was really large,” said McKayla Braden, director of public and legislative affairs staff at the Bureau of Public Debt.

The Treasury Department doesn’t disclose information about who actually donates, but the JOURNAL article did have information on one large donation. However, the very last paragraph noted that while the $5.8 million collected so far this fiscal year is an impressive gain, the federal government spends about $1.23 billion per day just in the interest on the national debt, and that $5.8 million is equal to about seven minutes of interest expense.

As it happens, THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL also maintains another link to the Treasury in the right-hand sidebar. This link takes the reader to the Treasury Department site which will give you the national debt to the penny. As of the close of business on Friday, the national debt was $15,772,177,351,447.14. At the end of January 20, 2009, the date that Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States, the total national debt stood at $10,626,877,048,913.08. Since Mr Obama has been our President, the United States has accumulated $5,145,300,302,534.06 in additional debt.

At one point in the not-so-distant past, slightly less than four years ago, as it occurs, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) was telling the American people that it was “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic” for President Bush to have added $4 trillion to the national debt, “all by his lonesome,” in eight years. One wonders, then, what Senator Obama would have said about a President who, all by his lonesome, added over $5 trillion to the national debt in just 3 years, 4 months and 26 days.

Even President Obama, who is apparently a close relative of that Senator Obama fellow, said, very responsibly, that the huge deficits were unsustainable, and that he would cut the deficits in half by the end of his first term. That was a statement that was both bold and serious, and one with which your Editor found himself in complete agreement. Had President Obama actually done what he said he would do, he’d have had the support of the TEA Party, and the Democrats would still control both Houses of Congress.

Unfortunately for our country, that was not the path President Obama chose. Rather, he was swayed by the Keynesian economic thinkers, who told him that if he just borrowed more money, and put it into our economy, it would stimulate demand so much that our economy would take off, and the additional tax revenues from that stimulus would make that investment pay off. It didn’t work, and conservatives told him that it wouldn’t work. If we are paying $1.23 billion every day just in interest on the national debt, part of the reason is that we added nearly a trillion dollars to the national debt with the failed 2009 stimulus plan.

It’s nice that some people made use of the donation button, and it would have been nicer if some of the self-styled Patriotic Millionaires had done so as well, but until we change the course of our country, by enabling President Obama to get a four-years-earlier-than-planned start on his presidential memoirs, we will be going the wrong way on the debt, not the right way.

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