There are two ways to reduce your debt load: 1) Pay back the money, 2) Default. Apparently, the US private sector (you and me) is doing mostly the latter. This article shows that close to the half of the debt reduction last year came in the form of default. Furthermore, if you analyze credit card debt alone, close to 90% of the debt reduction that came in 2009 was due to default! With most of the other reduction made possible due to tax refunds. This is not the best way to do it, and shows the dire straights in which the US consumer finds him/her-self.