The government has maxed out its credit card again, mortgaging America’s future with yet more debt. Obama Administration Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, in a letter to Congress the day after Christmas, said, “I am writing to inform you that the statutory debt limit will be reached on December 31, 2012 . . . .”

The statutory debt limit, set under sections 3101 and 3101A of the U.S. Code, is currently $16,394,000,000,000 — yes, more than 16 trillion dollars. A dollar bill is a half-foot long, so if you laid 16 trillion dollar bills end to end, they would stretch 8 trillion feet. With 5,280 feet in a mile, that means they would stretch more than a billion and a half miles. The sun is 93 million miles away, so the 16 trillion dollars would stretch from Geithner’s office in the Treasury Department to the sun more than 16 times. Of course, with the temperature of the sun’s surface at 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the sun would probably burn through the dollar bills on that end almost as fast as the U.S. Treasury does on this end.

When Congress last adjusted the statutory debt limit in August 2011 with the misnamed “Budget Control Act,” the limit went from $14.294 trillion to the current $16.394 trillion, a $2.1 trillion increase. It took the government only 17 months to get $2.1 trillion deeper into debt. The Appendix to Secretary Geithner’s letter said, “On average, the public debt of the United States is increasing by approximately $100 billion per month (although there are significant variations from month to month.)”

In addition to spending all of the money they take from American taxpayers, Congress and the President are borrowing to spend every month an additional $100 billion. Congress needs to cut, cut deeply, and cut now the government’s spending for everything except what keeps us safe from attack. Congress must drive down federal spending, toward a balanced budget, including by fixing the out-of-control entitlement programs, while maintaining a strong national defense, and without raising taxes.

Spend less, tax less, and borrow less. If the government would do that, America’s future would have many Happy New Years.