Three words: Fourteen. Trillion. Dollars.

That’s how large our nation’s debt is – and our credit card is maxed out. The federal government is bumping up against its self-imposed debt limit, with talk of raising it. Again. If your child kept maxing out his credit card, would you think giving him more money would address the fundamental problem that he’s spending too much? Probably not.

So why do we let our politicians get away with that behavior? Unsurprisingly, a majority of Americans oppose increasing the debt ceiling. In that case, what’s a country to do?

Suggestion #8: ALL federal programs must be on the table for cuts.

If we are going to address the nation’s fiscal crisis in a meaningful manner, we have to consider making cuts to all programs – including defense and entitlements. Yes, there are certainly constituencies who benefit from the federal government’s largesse, and they’re going to howl that cutting these programs would place the nation in crisis. True, discretionary spending has been rising – but unfortunately, targeting that alone won’t close the gap. In 2010, entitlements account for 56 percent of all federal spending, and now consumes 14 percent of GDP, according to the Heritage Foundation’s Brian Riedl.

To really address the budget issue, we need to talk about the elephant in the room – because even though it may be unpleasant, it’s going to get a lot worse the more we delay the conversation.