“I love my country. I don’t want it in debt like this. I don’t want it having a financial crisis,’’ said Jane Olive, a retired teacher in Las Vegas who sent $100 to the box this month.
But the contributions don’t specifically go to pay off existing debt. The government deposits them in the Treasury Department’s general fund, in essence the government’s main checking account.
“The gifts go toward funding the federal government, not to pay off the debt,’’ said Mckayla Braden, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of the Public Debt.
Since the contributions can reduce the amount of money the government would otherwise have to borrow to cover its expenses, federal officials stress they are complying with the 50-year-old law enabling the public to give gifts to lower the debt. “The government doesn’t have to borrow more,’’ Braden said.