WASHINGTON -- As the days go by, the U.S. national debt steadily goes up. Since 2007, it has been increasing at a pace of $397 billion a day.
If that doesn't worry you, consider what's happening in Europe. This week, the Dutch government gave up after not being able to come up with a plan to bring down their deficit.
Some experts warn if the United States doesn't take care of business soon, America will be going down the same path.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., author of the book The Debt Bomb , talked about how a debt crisis could soon affect ordinary Americans on "The 700 Club," April 25.
"If we have a debt crisis, which is just around the corner, then all those programs that people organize their lives around, their retirements around, are going to be broken promises, and we're going to have severe disruption in peoples' lives," Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., warned.
"That's what happens when you have a debt crisis," he continued. "That's the kind of austerity that is imposed if politicians keep kicking the can down the road, and not solving these problems, like what President Obama is doing."
Coburn agreed, saying that the nation's skyrocketing debt would "destroy the middle class."
"It will wipe out your savings and your retirement and the value of the things you plan on living off of. Your purchasing power will go down immensely," the Oklahoma lawmaker told CBN News.
"Its called financial repression and what happens is it's a sneaky way for governments to raise tax on you because they devalue the value of everything you have so youre purchasing power declines," he explained.
"If we stopped borrowing money today, by 2022 the entire budget would be made up of Medicare, Social Security, and interest. This is deadly for our future and our freedom," he warned.
How to handle the nation's debt is a signature issue in the 2012 presidential race. It's been a constant theme in stump speeches by the likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney, who's been critical President Obama's economic policy.
"We sure hope things are getting better. We sure hope the economy is getting better. There are signs that it is getting better. I sure hope it keeps getting better. And the president is going to stand up and say he deserves credit for that. No, if it gets better, it's not because of him, it's in spite of him," Romney charged.
"And so if I'm president, I will cut spending, I will cap federal spending as a percentage of the budget, and I will finally get America on track to have a balanced budget," Romney vowed.
The Obama administration, however, is pointing the finger at Congress for not controlling spending.
"Part of why it hasn't worked yet is because Republicans in Congress refuse to accept the basic premise that we need to take a balanced approach to our deficit and debt reduction," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
Both sides agree something needs to be done, but they're far from agreeing on exactly how to do it. Meanwhile, the debt keeps rising.