Being in a constant state of debt is detrimental to the status of the US government. Particularly when the solution to the problem is so incredibly simple: Cut government spending.
If we were to significantly reduce government spending then we could gradually begin to pay off the debt. The solution is as simple as ensuring that the government's annual income exceeds annual spending. Then siphon off the additional money and gradually pay off the debt.
As to the harms of having governmental debt this depends particularly as to whether the debt in question has interest rates. If there are then it will become exponentially more difficult to deal with the debt as time goes on.
There are some huge misunderstandings about the US debt. I guess its best to start with the current scare. That China OWNS us.
China owns less that 1.5 trillion of the roughly 18 trillion debt. Most of the debt is stilled owned internally. That is to things like social security and other parts of the government.
The fact we owe is not great, but the question to how bad it is can be answered by the fact that investors still buy bonds. They are very safe, and a good investment.
We don't have to pay it all back. That's right. We really NEVER have to clear the debt. The country is basically eternal. There is no demand to pay this now, next week, or ever really. It can rollover for just about as long as we are a country.
I think that it has not shown a problem to us in the United States, considering we are still being able to fund our projects and what we have been doing for several years. But the debt for the U.S. has to be caused by mostly us borrowing money from China. I am sure China would not want to attack us considering that we are good trade partner's with each other.