Congress needs to raise the debt ceiling so the U.S. can borrow more. That's what we hear. What does it mean? It means that the U.S. needs to quit increasing the amount it spends every year. Even more, we need to reduce the amount we spend. Our national debt is now more than $16 trillion, while the entire U.S. gross domestic product in 2011 was $15 trillion. We as a nation are living beyond our means.

Could you and your family live this way year after year? In 2012, the U.S. had a total income of $2.4 trillion and spent $3.5 trillion. What would happen to your family if you had a total household income of $24,000 and spent $35,000? You'd have to borrow the difference. So does the U.S. That $1.1 trillion that didn't come in as revenue had to be borrowed, with interest, just like the loan your family would need. The U.S. needs to live within its means. The U.S. needs to spend less and borrow less.

Ann Batchelder