Michael Barone explains it all and it is truly frightening:
What the Debt-Limit Battle Is All About
The debate may be complicated, but the issue is basic.
It’s hard to keep up with all the arguments and proposals in the debt-limit struggle. But what’s at stake is fundamental.
The bedrock issue is whether we should have a larger and more expensive federal government. Over many years, federal spending has averaged about 20 percent of gross domestic product.
The Obama Democrats have raised that to 24 or 25 percent. And the president’s budget projects that that percentage will stay the same or increase far into the future.
In the process, the national debt as a percentage of gross domestic product has increased from a manageable 40 percent in 2008 to 62 percent this year and an estimated 72 percent in 2012. And it’s headed to the 90 percent level that economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart have identified as the danger point, when governments face fiscal collapse.
You need to read it all.