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john65pennington's avatar

If each of us donated $10 dollars to the U.S. Treasury, would that solve America's debt problem?

Asked by john65pennington (29080 points ) April 10th, 2012

If each of us agreed to donate $10.00 dollars to the U. S. Treasury, would this solve America’s debt problem?

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21 Answers

jca's avatar

Even if it did, not everyone would do it. Did you hear somewhere that that’s the amount that would get us out of debt? Arent’ we billions and gazillions in debt? Would the amount of $10 each really total that?

JLeslie's avatar

No. I think it is more like $4,000 per adult. It’s really not that much if that number is right. If we each paid in just $1,000 a year on average, it would be greatly reduced in just three years, and then much more manageable. If we also took steps to reduce and control spending things could turn around quite fast it seems to me.

ro_in_motion's avatar

@JLeslie has it right. However, we are spending more than we take in so we’d have to keep putting extra money in. It’s quite simple: we spend entirely too much on Offense. We could cut the budget in half and still be #1.

JLeslie's avatar

Wait, I just did some math and it might be $40,000? Crap, someone needs to check my math. Still, we should be paying in to reduce it while fixing spending and hopefully rev the economy. We pay much much less taxes than in history because of Bush tax cuts and that is part of the debt problem.

john65pennington's avatar

If we can figure this out, what the heck are the people in Congress thinking? Nothing???

nikipedia's avatar

@JLeslie, your second figure is correct. Sort of.

JLeslie's avatar

@john65pennington They are thinking a bunch of people in America don’t want to pay one more dime of taxes no matter how logical it is. They accuse the Democrats of passing debt to their children and grandchildren, but it is the Republicans who will not pay now. If we don’t take responsibility for decisions made in our time, going to war, cutting taxes, a financial bubble that led to government bailing out industries and economic downturns, then we lay it on our kids. We need to take the burden onto ourselves.

tom_g's avatar

If I can spare $10, then someone who makes $1,000,000/yr can certainly pay the equivalent percentage. But $1000 for a person earning $1,000,000 comes from a different bucket than $10 for me. Maybe we could develop a system in which the higher the income, the greater the percentage of contribution? So, rather than contribute .01%, maybe you bump it up a quarter of a percent every x dollars/year, until….

wait. Isn’t this what reasonable people talk about when we call for solving problems with progressive taxation?

jca's avatar

If they proposed any amount per person, people would be crying foul, saying why should they pay for things like war or social programs when they don’t believe in them? Essentially the debt comes from things like war and social programs, if you’re wondering where I got those examples from.

serenade's avatar

This is a thought exercise in attempting to solve a problem at or below the level of thinking that fostered its creation.

The debt problem might be solved through changes in the hearts of those who are earning interest on that debt.

Qingu's avatar

If Congress does absolutely nothing, there is no debt problem.

The Bush tax cuts will expire, and the alternative minimum tax won’t be renewed. That will go most of the way towards solving our debt, as would “triggers” involving automatic defense cuts hammered out during the 2010 debt ceiling fiasco.

CWOTUS's avatar

No, it would make things worse.

If Congress has a “surplus” or even a “small deficit” then they will turn that into a deficit and a larger deficit, respectively. The closer we get to balanced books, the more the tendency is to “spend a bit more, for the good of the people”.

It’s not so much that individuals in Congress are corrupt, dishonest or stupid*, but the system encourages and rewards that kind of behavior.

Congress should be kept penniless, to the extent that that is possible, but there should be definite and workable caps on spending and debt. Debt incurred in the production and generation of assets is (generally) a good thing, depending on the value and worth of the assets, of course. Debt incurred in day-to-day expenses of running the government is an awful thing.

*Although more than a few of them are very definitely “that way”.

Qingu's avatar

@CWOTUS, the Clinton years directly contradict your claim.

You’re painting Congress with too broad a brush. There are responsible members. The people you are talking about are Republicans.

I mean, we agree that government should spend in a recession and save during boom times, yes? That’s exactly what Democrats have done or have sought to do for the past two decades. It’s exactly the opposite of what Republicans have done or have sought to do for the past three decades.

CWOTUS's avatar

No, @Qingu, we don’t agree, but I’m not going to rehash that again.

bkcunningham's avatar

The US national debt, at this minute, stands at $49,917 per citizen. $137,952 per taxpayer.

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

bkcunningham's avatar

Sorry, @john65pennington, your $10 donation idea would be like spitting in the ocean.

jca's avatar

Last time I checked, I didn’t have $138 k to spare.

LuckyGuy's avatar

As @bkcunningham said, the debt is $50,000 per person or $137,000 per taxpayer. That means there are a lot of people not paying taxes and, worse, drawing from the system

The person that @chyna mentioned in another post is drawing at least $50k out of the system annually and more like $100k if you include health care. Too many people are allowed to do it.
Also we have been buying Chinese made products and sending our cash overseas. That puts Americans out of work, and on unemployment further increasing the debt.
Two wars do not help either. A billion here, a billion there and eventually you are talking real money.

YARNLADY's avatar

@bkcunningham Thank you for doing the research. I appreciated that answer

bkcunningham's avatar

You are welcome, @YARNLADY. Actually, I noticed after my post that @nikipedia posted the same link that I posted. Great minds.

ETpro's avatar

I was going to point the discussion to the debt clock and its figure of nearly $50,000 per adult, or nearly 138,000 per person. Note we were paying the debt down in real terms and as a percentage of GDP and the country was doing very well till 1980 when Reagan slashed taxes for the rich and simultaneously massively increased government spending. That move tripled the national debt. And save for the Clinton administration when we raised top tax rates and began paying debt down again, it’s been soaring ever since.

If we try to fix it by spending cuts, it means eliminating ALL discretionary spending. We would have to end all entitlements, and close down all government agencies except for the defense department. Millions of indigent people and elderly would be forced into homelessness or starvation. With millions of federal, state and local workers laid off and all federal research and oversight gone, our economy would go into a tailspin that would make the Great Depression look like a walk in the park.

Any politician that says they have a secret plan to cut taxes further for the rich and thereby fix the debt problem without any pain is LYING. The sooner we learn to realize that, and lose our wishful thinking that we can have our cake and eat it too, the sooner we can turn our attention to actually solving the problem. When we had a rational revenue stream, we paid for what we are doing today just fine. The problem is we kept doing it, but stopped paying for it.

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