Amid the financial crisis of 2008, the U.S. went into what economists call a "debt deleveraging cycle"—akin to a credit hangover, where the party has ended and everyone there decides to quit drinking cold turkey.
Somebody has clearly turned the lights back on, though, and corporate and individual buying is soaring.
Consumer credit, for instance, surged past the $3 trillion mark in the second quarter of 2013 and continues on an upward trajectory, according to the most recent numbers from the Federal Reserve.
At $3.04 trillion, the total is up 22 percent over the past three years. Student loans are up a whopping 61 percent.
Total household debt, according to the Fed's flow of funds report, is at $13 trillion, nearly back to its pre-crisis level in 2007 and a shade below government debt of $15 trillion.
"We have not solved (anything) when it comes to the deleveraging myth," said Michael Pento, president of Pento Portfolio Strategies. "We have learned nothing."
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While the specter of another debt crisis might seem scary, some economists tout it as a healthy sign of a recovery. "In a moment of crisis, that's going to come back to haunt you," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital. "As long as you can support that debt through growth, it's really not a major concern."
That's a big "if," and the prospects of rising interest rates could force borrowers back into their foxholes.
But with the U.S. economy growing at a steady, if unspectacular, 2.5 percent rate, economists are mostly dismissive about another debt crisis hitting.
Gluskin Sheff's noted bear, David Rosenberg, said the rebirth of leverage is actually a reason for optimism. A July analysis Rosenberg released on the topic marked a sharp change in tone for someone who only a few years ago saw an economy not in recession but rather depression.
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"The building blocks for the consumer to grab the torch are being put together with each and every passing data point as of late," he said. "Don't fight it. Embrace it."