Has it begun? If so, when? The USA has been an exceptionally fortunate country in that it was created by a group of selfless individuals who used their best efforts to create a unique form of representative democracy. The new country was then able to expand across the continent thru fortuitous historical events (Louisiana Purchase and Alaska) and dominance over weak neighbors (Mexico and Hawaii). Having survived a bloody civil war, it became the world's greatest industrial power after two victorious world wars and was able to economically destroy its nemesis, the Soviet Union in the 1980's. The question at hand is whether the USA has seen its best days as the world's dominant superpower. Many people believe that, by the end of this century, it will have been surpassed by China and perhaps Germany, who has now completed the absorption of its previously occupied eastern half of that country. Current projections cast substantial doubt on whether the U.S. economy can keep up with our population growth, thus portending a gradual reduction in our standard of living. I would argue that, with the demise of the Soviet Union and commensurate increase in U.S. military power, 1990 stands as the pinnacle of the American Empire. Like it or not, we were respected by our friends, feared by our adversaries and we enjoyed an unparalleled standard of living. Since that time we have been cannibalizing our military and living on borrowed money largely created by the housing boom. The subsequent decade saw the worldwide growth of radical Islam, culminating in the 9/11 attacks in 2001 which continue to cost our economy trillions of dollars. In addition to two costly foreign wars, the following decade saw the beginning effects of the retiring Baby Boomer generation with all of its associated demands on government programs, followed by the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and its worldwide economic ramifications. It seems that the best we can expect in the future is a slow, comfortable descent into mediocrity. Historically, this was probably the best time to be living in the Roman Empire. What say you?