There is some theory that the National Debt is a good thing. I have never heard a good explanation for that theory. The only version I've even understood was the idea that "If the rich people are owed money by the government, then they won't lead a revolution, because they really want that money back."
That theory seems absurd to me.
Anyway, when you think of a good economy, do you think of:
The reason I bring those two nations up is because they are on opposite ends of this chart of national debts. Despite the theoretical benefits of debt, most of the crappy countries have a debt, and most of the successful countries have surpluses.