… in 1835. Robert Smith has the story of how it happened at the behest of Andrew Jackson, and why the good times lasted only one year and were followed by "the longest depression in American history." Matt Yglesias uses the story to make the case for debt:
Having a decent pool of creditworthy sovereign debt outstanding greases the wheels of private sector commerce in helpful ways and also gives people a useful low-risk savings vehicle. That’s not to say that a giant debt load is unproblematic or that it’s healthy to have a huge share of GDP going to interest payments. But there’s nothing wrong, as such, with a country having debt any more than it’s a moral failing for a business to avail itself of a line of credit.
Let's just concede that right now, America has a lot more on its plate than access to a line of credit.
(Image of a $1 coin via Wikimedia Commons).