All of us know how painful it would be - or maybe already is! - to have too much consumer debt and be unable to pay it. We know how that can adversely affect every facet of our lives.
But somehow, we have allowed our presidents and members of Congress over many years to keep on taxing us too much and spending too much more, adding to our catastrophic national debt.
Sadly, however, there is no agreement on any plan to quit increasing the debt, which is rising at a rate of $4.03 billion a day!
The result? Last year alone, we paid around $400 billion in taxes just to cover the interest on the debt!
No one wants to face the debt problem because it is so difficult. And so it's getting worse.
Congress has voted a "debt limit" of $14.3 trillion! But in just a few days - on May 16 - we're scheduled to hit that "limit."
Then we will discover yet again that the limit was no limit at all. Congress will soon raise it.
So what's the solution? Taxes are too high as it is, and tax increases would only discourage private investment - and kill jobs at a time of nearly 9 percent unemployment. Who wants that?
The commonsense solution is for Congress to begin spending less. But instead, President Barack Obama and a majority of his fellow Democrats expect to raise the "debt limit" and keep on spending too much - and demanding higher taxes, too!
Some Republicans propose more serious spending restraint, but a majority has yet to get behind a single plan to do that. And between the Democrat majority in the Senate and a Democrat president in the White House, such a plan would likely be defeated anyway.
So when was the last time we had a government "surplus," more tax income than spending outgo? It was 2001 - a decade ago!
There isn't any easy answer. Any proposed cut is likely to be met with a chorus of protests by special interests - while the national interest is ignored. But shouldn't we insist, at least, that lawmakers in Washington quit increasing the red-ink spending that is making it all worse?
Obama's Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, in a letter to congressional leaders Monday said that with some bookkeeping maneuvers, default on the debt may be avoided until Aug. 2. But what then?
The president, the senators and the representatives whom we have put in office are intelligent adults. They have begged us to elect them to run the federal government. How well do you think they are doing?
Why don't they face the financial problem? It's because too many of them do not want to face "us" with the tough and responsible spending cuts needed to begin to get control of our finances. They are more worried about the political cost to them than the far greater cost to the country.
So don't look for our financial problems to get better anytime soon.