He presented the plan at a Dunkin’ Donuts to the mayor of Middletown, who directed him to a state senator, who published Soucy’s idea on a Web site. Soucy sent messages to Donald Trump, Fox News and Vice President Biden. When none responded, he started buying tables at business banquets and chatting up chief executives. He advertised on local cable. He sent in more than $300 to the debt himself. He approached strangers walking on the beach and politicians hosting campaign fundraisers.
“The debt is the biggest problem we have,” he told them. “Back in the day, people gave their lives to save this country. I’m just asking you to give a check.”
Scott Soucy has a novel approach to addressing the nation’s $16 trillion debt: Pay it down himself. He joins us to explain his plan to convince other Americans to write checks to the Treasury as a means of erasing the shortfall.
A habit of giving
Another day, another $4 billion added to the national debt, and another statement of “no progress” from leaders in Congress.
Soucy left his house and drove to the post office, where the employee at the door greeted him by name. The past two months had been the hardest since Soucy opened the limousine business, with only six transactions in all of October. His eldest daughter was applying to private colleges such as Cornell and Stanford. He had a mortgage and business loans to pay off in the coming weeks.
He addressed his envelope to the Bureau of Public Debt in Parkersburg, W.Va., a town of 33,000 on the Ohio River where 2,000 people are now employed to manage the debt. The office discourages citizens from sending coins because they cost too much to process. It auctions off donated items such as paintings and TVs and then funnels all gifts into a general fund, which is used to pay down the country’s maturing securities.
When people such as Soucy call to request the mailing address, a representative sometimes reminds them that: “You can’t get your money back” and “You know, each American would have to pay about $52,000 to get us even” and “This is a little like picking one tiny grain of sand off the beach.”
But, for Soucy, it was also an act of muscle memory — less about the principal of the debt than the principle of the habit — so he stepped up to the post office counter.
“Somebody has to do something,” he said, and so he handed over an envelope with a check, for $32.