The European countries can't live within their means either, and will likely hit the wall before the US does. Greece is probably gone from the EU by the end of the year---their vaguely pro-EU parties were devastated in the recent elections and there's some question as to whether anybody will be able to form a ruling coalition.
The downside from the US standpoint is that this is likely to prop up the US dollar to some degree via the 'tallest pygmy' effect. Foreigners will be disinclined to heed our advice that they stop enabling our drug-addicted Uncle Sam, simply because most of the other prospects will look worse.
Oh, and that remark that civilized people don't buy gold---riddle me this, why is it that central banks are far and away the largest holders of said heavy metal? Is it because they're not civilized people? Hmmm, there may be more truth in that than the speaker recognized or intended.