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What are the Practical Implications of too Much Debt?

In yesterday's post an astute reader wrote me a note. It is below. Here is my answer.
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“Yes, there comes a point where the borrowing cannot be overcome. We as a nation have reached that point. All great points. I want to hear more, and how this affects people's lives individually in concrete ways, so that people can really feel what you're saying, even more: what desired and expected activities are curtailed?, what dreams are crushed?, what pain points are created by these acts of government malfeasance in the everyday lives of families, for individuals?, for the young? for the old? For our security as a nation — on economic and military fronts?— in terms of America's standing in the world? — in terms of our world leadership? — in terms of innovation? — in terms of job prospects? — in terms of maintaining our individual freedoms? — in terms of our maintaining our expected rights? — in terms of control over our own lives? What are the real world concrete negative consequences, in people's everyday lives, specifically, of getting to this point of no return? Of falling off this fiscal cliff? Paint that concrete (and grim) picture! Thanks, professor!”

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