All across Western Europe—the land of platinum-plated social benefits, the 35-hour work week, tony retirement plans and government-funded health care—countries are coming to the realization that they can no longer afford these luxuries amid skyrocketing deficits. Yet here in the United States, as we face a $14.3 trillion deficit, some are calling for increasing our government’s ability to borrow even more money without any concern for spending reform. Congress can’t allow that to happen, lest we become the Europe of the West.

The U.S. government is fast approaching its $14.294 trillion debt ceiling — the statutory limit on how much money it can borrow to finance spending. Just how big is that? To put it in perspective, it would take essentially everything that Americans produced in all of last year to pay off the existing national debt. That comes out to $45,000 of debt for each American.

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