President Joe Biden signed a $1.2 trillion package funding federal agencies for the remainder of fiscal 2024 after the Senate passed the measure early on a Saturday morning and avoided a partial government shutdown, but Republicans seeking deeper cuts in spending were disappointed.

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden proposed that the federal government would spend $7.3 trillion in fiscal 2025. The Wall Street Journal added three exclamation points to its headline: “Biden’s Budget: $7.3 Trillion!!!”

As Americans are inundated with news about so many crises from all over the world, it makes it harder to focus on what really matters—even when punched up with punctuation.

Biden’s budget proposal is unlikely to become law, with the House controlled by Republicans, but it indicates the president’s priorities. The proposed budget is much higher than the $4 trillion of annual federal spending during Barack Obama’s presidency, the Journal’s opinion columnist Daniel Henninger notes. It’s even more than during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 under President Donald Trump, when spending was $6.8 trillion, in part for emergency outlays.

How can we fathom this $7,300,000,000,000 or how much our nation is already overspending?

report by the Congressional Budget Office last month predicted: “Debt held by the public, boosted by the large deficits, reaches its highest level ever in 2029 (measured as a percentage of GDP) and then continues to grow, reaching 166 percent of GDP in 2054 and remaining on track to increase thereafter.” With $34 trillion in national debt currently, we’ll cross the threshold of a 100% debt-to-GDP ratio sometime next year; it’ll be at 116% by the end of 2034.

Granted, it’s hard for everyday Americans to appreciate the meaning or urgency behind these figures. Many are just struggling to make ends meet in their own households. But the cowardly choice to run our national economy on borrowed money has implications for Americans today.

Countries with debt-to-GDP ratios of more than 77% experience economic slowdown, according to a World Bank study. A high debt-to-GDP ratio has also been found to contribute to higher interest rates. In other words, fiscal irresponsibility is damaging our economy and wasting our money. And of course, the implications for the future are even worse, which suggests that younger Americans should take an even greater interest in this issue.

The problem of politicians not dealing with this huge national debt problem is often called “kicking the can down the road.” Few want to take it on and risk not getting re-elected because they raise taxes or cut government benefits that voters like, such as Social Security and Medicare. Trump’s “spending plans for a second term remain largely unanswered” and “The Biden Democrats are betting the nation is numb to public spending,” Henninger writes. Many Democrats have embraced Modern Monetary Theory, which says running big deficits is no big deal because we can always just print more money. Does this pass the commonsense test?

Kicking a can is too nice a way to put it. This is Uncle Sam getting morbidly obese and stealing money from his orphaned nieces and nephews, with the plan of leaving them with massive bills when he dies—which is expected to be soon.

Or JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon used another common metaphor to describe our nation’s growing debt: “It is a cliff,” Dimon said earlier this year. “It’s about 10 years out, we’re going 60 miles an hour [toward it].”

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan called the snowballing debt “the most predictable crisis we’ve ever had.”

Rising interest costs and growth in spending for the healthcare programs due to the country’s aging population are significant drivers of the increase in spending, CBO says. The federal government will spend $870 billion (or $870,000,000,000) on interest on debt in 2024, more than the $822 billion it will spend on defense this year.

As the 2024 election approaches, Americans need to hear more from our politicians on how to address the problem, beyond extending expiring Trump-era tax cuts or short-term plans to raise the debt limit. Our leaders need to reduce federal spending and onerous regulations and to enact pro-growth policies.

Americans should vote for candidates who commit to facing up to our national debt. How much longer can we wait???!!!