This post contains a lot of valuable factual information, but there is also much hidden information if one is willing to look. The factual part includes the graphic of government debt supplied by NPR, and then there is the appealing idea of cancelling the debt to the Federal Reserve. However, the latter reveals a rather naive idea about the Fed. It is a heavily disguised and obscured consortium of major banks designed by the ruling financial class around 1913 to graft onto US society a permanent method of sucking the blood-money of working people for their class benefit. People in the Fed constitute a major part of our ruling class. (See a brief summary of US reserve banks in my commentary for an August post.)
The creation of money has been so thoroughly hidden throughout the centuries--deliberately so by banking people who are the core of capitalist ruling classes--that few people today understand this process. The fact that Fed critics such as liberals like Alan Grayson and old-fashioned conservatives like Ron Paul are tolerated at all by the ruling class is because they otherwise support the system of capitalism. I'm not well versed on Grayson's support, but Ron Paul would like to cut all social services. He would like to return to the 19th century when it was literally every man for himself.
Remember, it was during the latter half of the 19th century that we saw the rise of the Carnegies, the Rockefellers, the Vanderbilts, etc.; and also the brutal attacks on working people such as the Ludlow Massacre, the Lattimer Massacre, the Columbine Mine massacre, and the Homestead Strike (you probably didn't learn much about these incidents in your education). The 19th century industrial and financial titans' rise to power created the ruling class as we know it today (see also this). The latter are the beneficiaries of these 19th century capitalists (also known as "robber-barons") who created the foundation for the construction of the wealthy and extremely powerful 1% of the One Percent who now rule the US and much of the world. So, no, we can't turn back the historical clock, and we shouldn't want to! And, the financial ruling class of today certainly doesn't want to, and won't permit such ideas of canceling government debts owed to them. Those who control the creation of money are top dogs in the capitalist system because they not only earn interest from money "created out of thin air", but control how that money is spent.
To shift subjects a bit, notice the debt owed to Social Security on NPR's graphic. This fund consists of money contributed by workers and their employers equally since the 1930s. Social Security has always been portrayed as a trust fund, but it is unlike any trust fund that we know about. This fund has not been set aside to benefit us so much as it has been to fund the government--and you know what the latter does with the money (think wars and military-industrial complex). Yes, the government of, by, and for the ruling capitalist class has been pilfering money from our Social Security