You are correct. Many people have used leverage to build businesses. However, they used that debt to generate additional wealth/revenue. When the government takes on debt, they are making a promise against future generations' earning potential, and using it to pay for ... short term political gains, payoffs, cronyism. If you examine history, government stimulus has never generated long term benefit, and usually slows recoveries by misallocating resources. Stimulus by tax cuts (especially on those who generate wealth) worked in the 20s, the 50s, the 80s, and 2000s. Short deepening of recession followed by explosive growth that lasts.