A quote from Ron Chernow's "Alexander Hamilton" seems particularly apropos to modern day America:
"Both theory and experiences conspire to prove that a nation... cannot possess much active wealth but as a result of extensive manufactures."
And on page 374;
"Remembering the scarcity of everything from gun powder to uniforms in the Continental Army-- a by-product of Britain's colonial monopoly on most manufacturing-- Hamilton knew that reliance on foreign manufacturers could cripple America in wartime. 'The extreme embarrassments of the United States during the late war, from an incapacity of supplying themselves, are still matter of keen recollection,' he noted in the report."
(December 2009) Leslie Gelb, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former senior US defence official:
"'In addition to China's being stronger than it used to be, the United States is weaker than before and spread thin in military commitments and wars. In particular, America is weaker economically, the weakest it's been comparatively in almost 60 years. It hardly ever was in a position to dictate solutions even at the height of its powers, but today, even its clear position of primacy has been diluted.''
"the US, owes, on some estimates, more than $US1 trillion ($A1.1 trillion) to China in public debt."
Hamilton saw debt as a necessary part of an effective government; to borrow, invest and tax. However, the key to debt lies in a nation's ability to repay what it owes. "Active wealth" is derived from a vibrant economy and its ability to produce salable goods.
How many people do you know who actually make something for a living?