It sounds like at least part of what you are asking is actually this: Given that median household income is $59,600 and average household debt is $137,000, does it follow that many Americans are living beyond their means?
The answer is no. Imagine a country in which there are 100 households, all with income of $59,600. Imagine that 99 of these households have zero debt, and one has debt of $13,700,000. Then, assuming "average" means the arithmetic mean, median income is $59,600 and average debt is $137,000, but it is not at all true that "many" people in the country are living beyond their means. There is one person with a lot of debt and everyone else is fine. (Even if we use "average" to mean "median" in both cases, you can concoct many situations with debt and income distributed in various ways across the population.)
That is a silly example, but my point is to say that we should begin by questioning whether the claim by USA Today ("many Americans are living beyond their means") is actually "suggested" by those numbers alone. It is not. Never mind whether it's "foolish" to take on such-and-such amount of debt; the point is that those numbers don't even address the question of how many people are taking on debt that is 2.5 times their income. Even if they did, that would not tell us whether anyone is "living beyond their means". "Living beyond your means" generally means having expenses greater than your income, about which the given numbers say little or nothing.
Now, if we combine the article's numbers with some other reasonable assumptions (about the kinds of debt people tend to take on, the way income and debt are distributed, etc.), you might be able to make a ballpark estimate of the typical (note I don't say "average") debt-to-income ratio. And if we do that, then, as others have pointed out, we can say that the question of whether a given debt-to-income ratio is foolish depends on many factors.
My answer is just pointing out that the article itself is playing somewhat fast and loose with logic and arithmetic, moving from two separate statistics about income and debt to a claim about "many" people "living beyond their means" --- an inference for which those statistics provide at best only rudimentary support.