While I have been struggling in my usual caveman way to express my frustrations with our national governance, whom should I stumble into but Andrew J. Bacevich, Boston Univ professor of history and international relations, who has been working on this matter for some time. Bacevich has written a book called The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism.  This exceptionally articulate fellow was recently interviewed by Bill Moyers on public television. 

His thesis comes down to the notion that American demand for consumer goods and credit has resulted in a kind of consumer imperialism. To facilitate this “domestic disfunction” or “crisis of profligacy”, the executive branch has acquired an excessive reach that exists only by the wither and atrophy of congress. By fiat of the executive, and the mumbling consent of a passive congress, our military adventures have distracted Americans from an examination of our continuous and undisclipined consumerism and indebtedness.