ABILENE, Texas -- Douglas Powell Sr. sent a $100 cashier's check made out to President Barack Hussein Obama in August to go toward the national debt.
The 65-year-old Texan believes he's doing his part to help solve the government's economic woes.
And he wants others to do the same.
"We should give a hand up instead of being down on the man," he said. "He had those problems when he went into office, you know. Pray for him, and give him a hand up. Maybe he can do a better job."
Powell is not the only person voluntarily helping to reduce the national debt. The U.S. Treasury files monthly reports listing contributions to reduce the debt.
In the first 10 months of fiscal year 2011, the government received $2.43 million in gifts to be applied to the national debt.
Gifts may be mailed to the Bureau of the Public Debt or made online.
U.S. Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., wants to make it even easier for people to make gifts to the Treasury.
He has sponsored the "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth is Act of 2011," which would add a line to income tax forms so people can make monetary donations of more than $1. The resolution, which he has sponsored previously, is awaiting action in the House Ways and Means Committee.
Powell's $100 won't make a dent in the federal debt, even if people listen to his suggestion that every U.S. family give $100 for two years. USdebtclock.org puts the national debt at more than $47,000 -- and counting -- per U.S. citizen.
Powell included a letter with his check. He also placed a call to the White House with his suggestion.
A resident of Abilene, Texas, for 20 years, Powell was a diesel mechanic until he got hurt on the job eight or nine years ago and couldn't work. He said he knows what it is like to live within his means.
"I've tried to vote Democrat, but the thing is I'm for the person who is trying to do the right thing by the country," Powell said. "And anymore you don't actually know one person's heart, unless God shows it to you. You've got to go by what you feel and what you believe. And that's why I sent the money -- the man seems like he's sincere. He needs a chance, just like everyone else. Give him a chance, and pray for him."
Powell said he doesn't expect a response to his letter.
"I believe he's a man of his word. I think he would try to take it and put it in a special account for the debt," Powell said. "If people would really think about it, we're not helping the president, we're helping ourselves."
A White House spokesman said last week that the letter and check had been received and that it will be returned to Powell with instructions on how to send it to the Bureau of the Public Debt.
Powell said he realizes his $100 probably won't make a difference, but what would make a difference is for Congress and the White House and Republicans and Democrats to cooperate.
"There's no cooperation. Seems to me 1/8members of Congress 3/8 want the man to fail, and seems they want the country to go down in the hole than to see the man succeed," Powell said. "If Congress would get in there and work with him and work for the country that would solve half our problem there. Sit down and work together. Talk it out, and see both sides."
How do you make a contribution to reduce the debt? There are two ways: -- You can make a contribution online either by credit card, checking or savings account at Pay.gov -- You can write a check payable to the Bureau of the Public Debt, and in the memo section, notate that it's a gift to reduce the "Debt Held by the Public." Mail your check to:
Attn Dept G
Bureau of the Public Debt
P. O. Box 2188
Parkersburg, WV 26106-2188
Source: Bureau of the Public Debt
(Contact Larry Zelisko of The Abilene Reporter-News in Texas at email@example.com.)