The president-elect plans to try to help pay down the nation's debt. Here is how you can do your part.
The United States is carrying about $19.96 trillion in debt as of this week. But you can join the country’s next president in volunteering to help wind back the hands of the national debt clock.
Donald Trump reportedly plans to donate money to the U.S. Treasury to avoid conflicts of interest as president.
The so-called Foreign Emoluments Clause — Clause 8 in Article I, Section 9 — of the U.S. Constitution states that federal officials “shall” not accept profits in the form of “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever” from foreign nations.
The lawyer who structured Trump’s plans — Sheri Dillon, a partner in the law firm Morgan Lewis in Washington, D.C. — explained his plan to deal with that issue Wednesday at Trump’s first press conference as president-elect:
“So, President-elect Trump has decided, and we are announcing today, that he is going to voluntarily donate all profits from foreign government payments made to his hotel to the United States Treasury. This way, it is the American people who will profit.”
While critics and ethics experts question whether Trump’s plans are sufficient to avoid conflicts of interest stemming from his ties to the Trump Organization, one thing is unquestioned: You can indeed donate money to Uncle Sam in the name of debt reduction.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Fiscal Service accepts money donated to the federal government if it’s made “on the condition that it be used to reduce debt held by the public,” according to the bureau’s website.
Last year, for example, more than $2.7 million was donated for that purpose. The government’s TreasuryDirect website has the information about how to make your donation. Just don’t get your hopes up about making a big difference.
Charles Douglas, director of wealth planning at the financial advisory firm Cedar Rowe Partners in Atlanta, tells CNBC:
“I can see if you didn’t have kids, rather than giving your money to charity, let’s pay down the debt. But if you look at the debt clock by the second, it wouldn’t cover a day’s worth of interest.”
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