Directing Your Charity Dollars to the National Debt

Planet Money reports that good samaritan citizens of Greece and the United States can now direct their charity dollars to a worthy cause: the national debt. The National Bank of Greece has established a “Solidary Account,” while the U.S. allows citizens to conveniently donate online. Just wondering: what kind of person is most likely to avail him/herself of this opportunity?[%comments]


Tzimiskes

Not sure what kind of person would in general, but I did always think that Obama should have devoted his Nobel prize money to help paying off the national debt.

Aaron

I just gave. I think the federal government distributes dollars on my behalf (Social Security, Medicare, common defense) a lot better than I do during my daily life.

Brett

It seems to me that this is like taking a stack of bills and giving it to a guy who uses cash to build his fire. Sure the guy will be warmer because of your donation, but I can't help but think that there are people and organizations who could put that stack of bills to much better (read: efficient) use.

Chris

I would be interested in how many of the donors evaded taxes beforehand.

Mr. Davis

I rather redirect some of my funds towards kicking out the current bums who have run up this debt, and installing some fiscally responsible legislators (I'm not sure these exist, but I have some hope).

Sam

You can choose to donate by using a credit card? That doesn't seem to make much sense. Lower the national debt and increase your own. Sounds like a fantastic plan.

164

Hardly a "worth cause" since the government is inherently inefficient at providing for the public good and merely displaces private sector activity.

To answer the question the kind of person donating will be left leaning and in my opinion not that smart.

CS

Good samaritans or not, we will all pay eventually.

Of course, our leaders could begin to tax and spend intelligently, planning for America's future rather than just for their own re-election. In other words, they could stop behaving like children.

Or our citizens could start voting for actual leaders willing to tell us hard truths rather than pandering, fear-mongering windbags who tell us that we can have it all for free. In other words, we could stop behaving like children.

Fat chance.

Jacquilynne

Lots of people use credit cards as a convenient way to pay for things -- that doesn't mean they're actually maintaining a balance.

Dan

Is the donation tax deductible?

Brett

@164

I agree with most of what you say, except that I'd replace 'not that smart' with 'misguided'.

I know plenty of 'left-leaners' who are extremely intelligent.

Mike

Q: Just wondering: what kind of person is most likely to avail him/herself of this opportunity?

A: A few kinds - a moron, a buffoon, a fool, a doofus, an idiot, a dimwit, a boob, an imbecile, or a dingbat.

jim

The ability of government to spend money is limitless. This is like throwing mass into a black hole.

Jean Val Jean

Define "opportunity"

Ben

Those who don't understand the meaning of the word "fungibility"

John

Wouldn't this be bad for the econonomy? It seems to me that people sending discretionary cash to the government so that the government could pay it's debt would just be taking more money out of circulation. I guess it would help to hedge against inflation, though. I wonder if there is any legislation preventing the politicians from just crediting an account against the debt then spending the money elsewhere? They have been known to do that type of thing, you know (both parties, but especially the one in power now).

Allen

It's actually a really good idea. Every once in a while, some billionaire bozo says something like "I don't pay enough in taxes". It's always said in the context of a tax increase on the rest of us. I'm looking at you, Buffet. Okay, so put your money where your mouth is. Give till it hurts. Then you can "complain".

P.S. Looking at you to, Mr. Clinton.

jet

by donating $ to the national debt...you are reducing the demand on $$ by taking it out of circulation, and therefore should bid down interest rates.

So instaed of concentrating $$ to one particular charity your charity is to all holders of USD. Sadly that fraction of a penny I got doesn't improve my life much =(

Jeremy

It's a great idea though- for the price of hosting a website with a few tack-ons, it's very likely they will come out ahead. The idea sounds silly on the face of it, but it's innovative and pretty likely to succeed.

BTW, were all the people complaining about the ARRA money also impuning GWB for very similar programming (on a relatively similar scale in response to seperate crises which were very different in scope and scale) for the predecessor 'stimulus packages'? --I don't offer the thought as an indication that either right or left is either right or wrong. I'm basically a centrist, but it seems like very similar policy is either angelic or demonic depending on who puts their face on it-that and legislating to get re-elected rather than to serve the common good are the 2 biggest issues in the US government today.

Chupatribra

It seems very ironic that the government would create such a program while simultaneously supporting a stimulus plan (in which the Fed adds more money into circulation). Aren't the two programs counter-productive?