According to TreasuryDirect, which is run by the Feds, US Government debt outstanding is lower in August 2013 as compared to March 2013 even while continuing to borrow heavily to finance massive deficits. It is uncertain how long they can continue this creative accounting method.
Total US student loan debt exceeds total credit card debt and now exceeds 1 trillion dollars. Also, approximately 45% of those who have already graduated college are not making payments either due to default, deferment, some other form of forbearance or they are still in their grace period.
In 1819, the USA purchased Florida from Spain for the cancellation of a $5 million debt.