As reported on the Planet Money blog:

It sounds ridiculous today. But not so long ago, the prospect of a debt-free U.S. was seen as a real possibility with the potential to upset the global financial system.  We recently obtained the report through a Freedom of Information Act Request. You can read the whole thing here. (It’s a PDF.)

The problem?  No debt means no T-bonds.  Without T-bonds what happens to all the financial instruments linked to T-bond yields?  The white paper was co-authored by my old Berkeley mate Jason Seligman.