The Treasury Department's Public Debt Bureau tracks Americans' well-known habit of charity and their government's ability to accumulate debt, at
On May 28, for example, the debt stood at $6,547,151,634,901.82. The bureau reported that gift contributions to reduce the debt were $760,005.09 for fiscal 2003. The gifts recorded this year already exceed the gifts in 2002, which amounted to $744,675.06.

If the debt was to stop increasing now, and the contributions to continue at the 2002 rate, the debt would be paid off in 860,000 years.

Donors can send checks to the bureau'just note on the memo line that it is a gift to reduce the public debt. Mail it to Attention Dept. G, Bureau of the Public Debt, P.O. Box 2188, Parkersburg, W.Va. 26106-2188.

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