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CITIZENS CHIP AWAY AT NATIONAL DEBT A FEW DOLLARS AT A TIME

SHARE CITIZENS CHIP AWAY AT NATIONAL DEBT A FEW DOLLARS AT A TIME

Each year, 76-year-old Gudrun Hertsgaard does what she can to reduce the national debt.

This year, she wrote out a check for $300, leaving the balance at roughly $3,000,000,000,000, give or take a few dozen billion.Hertsgaard sent her money to the U.S. Treasury through Citizens for a Debt-Free America, a network of people who chip away at the national debt a few dollars at a time.

Just the interest on the debt this year will approach $200 billion, about 15 percent of the federal budget. Friends tell Hertsgaard her annual gestures are futile, but she is undismayed.

Nationwide, 2,345 people contributed more than $4.2 million in the past five years toward retiring the debt, including 29 Minnesotans who gave $26,301.