I was told there is a book out about democracies that says that none has lasted more than 250 years. Ours is at around 238 years.
The failure comes about because people vote for the politicians that do them favors, and politicians keep doing the majority favors to keep getting elected. This has nothing to do with being responsible for the overall good of the country. The result is that the majority become hooked on government handouts, which tips the outflow of money past the income -- and it's all downhill from there.
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Guess what? We've reached that point. It reminds me of one of my neighbors who is a businessman and did counseling for young couples who had large credit card debt, some more than their annual income. He told me he could not convince some of them that they owed that much money. They were strictly looking at monthly payments. That shortsighted attitude has taken over the majority of our people when it comes time to elect our government officials: "as long as we're getting by." On a personal level we can always file for bankruptcy.
What does our country do? Look at the rioting going on overseas when some countries try to right the ship. Entitlement mentality takes over and we get rid of responsible minded officials. Look at our former governor. How could he get elected to a second term? Both sides of the aisle in government are guilty and so is our electorate.
The "fiscal cliff" is nothing compared to what's happening to our national and Illinois debt. Wake up America, it may already be too late.