You do realize that we have had a national debt for all but one year of the existence of this country don't you? And that we create money by debt. If 100% of all debt was repaid, there would be no more US Dollars.
Our national standard of living isn't really effected by the national debt. Our standard of living is based upon how much we produce. Unless you expect that we will start producing less, which is highly unlikely considering how fast we are becoming more productive due to technology, then our average standard of living should continue to increase, regardless of the national debt. The national debt is nothing more than an accounting issue, and it's not really that big of an issue because it never has to be paid off (unless we desire another depression).
Oh, and that one year that we had no national debt - we had a depression.