Our national debt now exceeds $18 trillion. To put that figure into perspective, that amount exceeds the gross domestic product (GDP) of more than 200 countries listed by the World Bank, including the European Union and China.

Watchdog.org’s Jason Hart helps bring some additional perspective:

When President Obama took office Jan. 20, 2009, debt held by the public plus intragovernmental holdings totaled $10.63 trillion. During Obama’s presidency, the national debt has increased by $7.38 trillion — an average of more than $3.4 billion every day. …

At more than $56,000 per man, woman and child, each American’s share of the national debt is greater than the median household income. The federal government’s debt is also greater than America’s 2013 gross domestic product of $16.8 trillion. …

The $18 trillion national debt would fill 2,392 48-foot semi trailers jammed full of $100 bills.

Covering a football field like the one where Obama gave his presidential nomination acceptance speech in 2008, the national debt in $100 bills would reach 124 feet into the air.

But wait—there’s more because the $18 trillion debt figure doesn’t include a variety of other debt as Hart notes:

Public debt reported by the Department of the Treasury does not include an estimated $49 trillion in unfunded Medicare and Social Security liabilities, and it does not include more than $4 trillion in unfunded state pension liabilities.

Back in 2010 (when the national debt was “only” $13.6 trillion) the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) called the national debt “a crisis” and warned that attempts to tax our way out of it would reduce savings and productivity, resulting in an even weaker economy and therefore less tax revenue to pay down the debt.

Government (over)spending does not grow the economy. We the people do.

Real change means realizing there are better, more local ways to address pressing social needs without more expansive, expensive government. It also means fighting to keep more hard-earned tax dollars closer to home—instead of exporting them to Washington.