How to Pay Off a $17 Trillion National Debt (Hint: Pumpkin Spice Lattes Are Involved)

My favorite charity is the United States of America.
 
I love America. That sounds pretentious. It's like saying, “I love Nickelback” or “I’m a Yankees fan.” But it’s true. I’m profoundly fucking grateful that I was born in America.
 
Remember the Occupy Wall Street movement? I know. It’s hard to remember things that happened way back when Barack Obama was president. Everyone was pissed at the One Percent. In 2011, you were a One-Percenter if you made $980K. In other words, no one was pissed at you.
 
But to be in the top one percent of the world, all you need to make is $47,500. 
 
Even if your family lives on the official U.S. poverty line, you are still in the top 13 percent of the whole damn planet.
 
Regardless of your politics, you are wealthier than the vast majority of the world simply because you’re a Goddamn American.
 
So then why are you so stingy with America? Why do you want to pay as little as possible in taxes? 
 
Good point. You’re a CPA, so that’s kind of your job. 
 
A few years back I was feeling particularly patriotic. As a result, I wanted to pay a little extra tax to the land that I love. Every year I know I can check a box and have $3 go to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, but I never do because fuck that. But there's nowhere on my 1040 to give some extra cheddar to the U-S-of-A.
 
So I called the IRS and talked to a very nice person named Helen. I explained to her that I wanted to pay more than my calculated amount of taxes. Unsurprisingly, she’d never fielded this type of question before. After a little unsuccessful digging, she put me on hold to ask her supervisor, who didn’t know how to pay extra taxes either. The agency with sole responsibility for collecting revenue for the United States of America was stumped by one guy trying to voluntarily give additional revenue to the United States of America.
 
So I poked around on the internet for awhile and found out that I can't pay extra taxes, but I can donate money to the Bureau of the Public Debt.
 
The problem with the Bureau of the Public Debt is that no one knows about the Bureau of the Public Debt. They even acknowledge that in the first line of text on their website. And, unsurprisingly, they barely get any donations.
 
In 2011, the Bureau of the Public Debt received $3.28 million in contributions to reduce the national debt. To put that in perspective, the Red Cross received $878.7 billion million, Animal Friends received $6.99 million, and the Marijuana Policy Project received $1.44 million. 
 
People gave more money to spay and neuter strays than to reduce the national debt. The Marijuana Policy Project received almost half of what the Bureau of the Public Debt did, and most people who are passionate about marijuana policy don't have lots of discretionary income because they aren’t "Thirteen Percenters."
 
Warren Buffett famously said that he’s paying a lower tax rate than his secretary. Unfortunately, he can’t solve that problem by giving money to the Bureau of the Public Debt because all donations are tax deductible.
 
It is surprising that no one knows about the Bureau of the Public Debt because they are mentioned on page 93 of the 2012 Instructions for Form 1040, and page 93 was one of the top 214 most popular pages of those instructions.
 
So Bureau of the Public Debt. Blah blah. Who cares? 
 
You should.
 
We've had two major showdowns over the debt ceiling in the past two years, and the U.S. national debt just passed $17 trillion. Our nation has unsustainable spending habits. 
 
However, the population of the United States is about 317 million. So if we all donate just $53,628 to the Bureau of the National Debt, all our country's money problems will be solved. 
 
Let me put it another way. For the price of 37 venti pumpkin spice lattes a day, every day for a year, you can do your part to eliminate the public debt. And wouldn’t you feel better if you had 37 less pumpkin spice lattes today anyway?
 
In summary, U-S-A! U-S-A!

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