As the fight over the budget threatens a U.S. government shutdown we should use this opportunity to address an even bigger issue: the U.S. debt crisis.
The chance of the government hitting its debt limit in a few weeks is being discussed primarily as a negotiating tactic as a government shutdown appears imminent. However, this opportunity should be used to address the issues surrounding our outstanding debt.
As a former investment banker I can think of a number of generally responsible uses of debt. Debt can be used to generate returns that exceed the cost of the debt in a variety of ways. I can also get behind using debt to fill a temporary funding gap when cash flow to pay it back is shortly anticipated.
However, what is not responsible is taking on debt for everyday spending, especially large amounts of debt, with no credible plan to pay it back. That's what causes families and businesses to go bankrupt. This is also how debt is being used by our elected officials.
(Read more: What does 'debt ceiling' mean?)
Every year since 1982, our national debt has increased, except for one; for the last 30 years we have consistently borrowed money to fund government overspending. The problem is that it wasn't responsible spending; it hasn't been used to generate meaningful returns. Moreover, the true "emergency" level of anything we have funded is debatable at best.
But most importantly, there has been no credible plan to pay it back.
Money has been borrowed from other nations at a variety of interest rates. It has also been borrowed from the Social Security Trust Fund to pay for other government entitlements and pet projects, leaving merely a government "IOU" in its place.
(Read more: US government shutdown: how will markets react?)
Our representatives have borrowed for far too long and with an alarming rate of acceleration. More than $11 trillion of the debt on the U.S. balance sheet (over 60 percent of it) has been taken on over the last 8.5 years. Plus, now we're spending to finance past overspending.