The Nation: The Taxpayer Giveth . . .

A retired wholesale grocer in Fayetteville, N.C., named Guy Madison Brock, 73, wrote out a check for $1,000 as his contribution toward paying off the national debt, which is now $493 billion. "I'm not a crackpot," Brock declared. "I just wanted to do something for my country."

Brock is not the only American who has taken it upon himself over the years to do what he could to ease the nation's financial burdens. A dozen or so unsolicited contributions are received annually by the Treasury Department from individuals or their estates. In the 1960s,...

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