NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The debate about the national debt has already paid off: Individual Americans pitched in nearly $8 million of their own money to help reduce it in fiscal 2012. That’s more than double the total from the year before.

Donations for the national debt had averaged about $3 million a year since 2009. “So this is obviously a big jump,” said Mckayla Braden, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of the Public Debt.

But even this year’s hefty total of $7.7 million is barely a drop in the bucket. That sum represents just 0.000007% of the approximately $1.1 trillion deficit the U.S. ran in the latest fiscal year.

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