NPR releases secret report prepared during the Clinton administration about paying off the national debt with the surplus it had accumulated.
Nixed. Why? They concluded that too little debt was a problem.
Full report in PDF, Life After Debt
What If We Paid Off The Debt? The Secret Government Report (with audio) by by David Kestenbaum at NPR
The US only paid down the national debt once, under President Andrew Jackson. It was followed by a depression.
See also L. Randall Wray, The Federal Budget is NOT like a Household Budget – Here’s Why