Brother, Can You Spare $43,000?

Thursday - 5/27/2010, 3:02pm EDT

According to people who are a lot better at math than I am (that would be 97 percent of the over age 5 population), your share of our national debt is about $43,000. The way they figure it, it would take that much - from every man, woman, and child in America - to pay off what Uncle Sam owes to China and other creditors.

I mention this because of the following e-mail which proposed a rather unique way to help retire the national debt. She said:

"Mike...I want to run something by you. The U.S. deficit. I've read it's in the trillions of dollars. Can the Government's deficit be paid down by taxpayers through donations? And can these donations be tax deductible as charities are? In other words, can the U.S. deficit become a charity in the CFC? I'm sure people will donate to get our government out of debt." E.C.

And, if done through the CFC, think of the tax break you'd get.

Short answer: You can (and people do) contribute to the reduction of the debt. The information is on the Treasury Department's website.

Some people make token - maybe protest - payments of $1 or less. Several years ago, somebody more serious kicked in around $3 million. Most contributions fall somewhere in between. Most do it by check or credit card as a one-shot contribution. The contributions, while nice, and thanks to politicians who can't say no, are just a drop in the bucket. But is there another, better way?

What about the Combined Federal Campaign? It's the nation's largest fundraiser for charitable causes. And many feel the U.S. government is definitely a charity case.

So, how about letting CFC participants contribute, via payroll deductions, to help reduce the national debt? The CFC is the nation's premier fundraiser. And it covers lots of groups that don't immediately strike you as charities.

So would adding a new category - to help pay down the national debt - to the CFC be good, or bad, legal and smart, inappropriate, or downright dumb? Should it be extended to private sector fundraisers?

It's the Friday before our first summer holiday. So if there is anybody out there, sound off.

Medical Privacy

The U.S. Postal Service, National Association of Letter Carriers and the American Postal Workers Union have reached an agreement over the privacy of medical records for postal workers. But Federal Daily says that while postal inspectors may continue to seek such information as part of an investigation, doctors and health care providers can say no.

FD says the settlement agreement goes into effect in 60 days and "recognizes that under federal law, OIG agents and postal inspectors may seek to obtain relevant information from an employee's health care provider without the employee's consent as part of a legitimate investigation. However, the agreement requires OIG agents and postal inspectors, before interviewing an employee's health care provider, to give the health care provider a form letter that explicitly states that the health care provider "is not required to speak" about the employee's health information to the agent or inspector."

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

According to Snopes.com, it's absolutely false that the average woman swallows six pounds of lipstick during her lifetime.


ADDITIONAL PAY AND BENEFITS NEWS ON FEDERAL NEWS RADIO
Federal paycheck check up
Among the pay and benefits headlines this morning: no federal pay freeze for now, White House opposes 1.9% military pay raise, pay for performance at issue for intel community, half of surveyed feds can't or won't telework, HHS Preparedness office will move to Patriots Plaza. Learn more from the Friday Morning Federal Newscast by clicking here.

No federal pay freeze for now
It looks like federal employees are safe from having to face a pay freeze for now. On Thursday, the Senate rejected two amendments on the war supplemental bill offered by Sens. John McCain (R-Az.) and Tom Coburn (R-Ok.). Read the full story by clicking here.

Causey Award winner helps wounded warriors expand job skills
Federal News Radio is pleased to award Beverly Malone, an HR specialist at the IRS, with one of the seven Causey Awards given out this year. Malone was responsible for creating the mentoring component of the IRS Warrior Intern Program (WIP) at the IRS where she helped place wounded soldiers in IRS jobs prior to transitioning out of military service. Click here to learn more about Malone's work and be sure to check out the full list of Causey Award winners.


MORE NEWS FROM FEDERAL NEWS RADIO
Head of Minerals Management Service resigns
Elizabeth Birnbaum, the head of the troubled agency that oversees offshore drilling, resigned under pressure Thursday as President Barack Obama moved more aggressively to take charge of the Gulf oil spill. Click here to read the full story. Federal News Radio also spoke with Debra Roth, an attorney with Shaw, Bransford & Roth, about some concerns that have been raised about the relationship between the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) and the oil industry. Click here to read that story.