Sorry, Scramble, but I disagree. America is not in decline, but is actually moving in a positive direction, in part because people just like you are very concerned and are actively trying to do something to correct what you perceive as a bad direction. That's how America has always managed to advance: by never assuming things are fine, and always pushing for better.
Actually, the Federal government is not 'spending more than it takes in'; what it IS doing is making commitments to spend or subsidize or loan or guarantee more — on paper — than it looks like it might collect in various taxes and fees — on paper. And that's OK, because the Federal government owns the printing presses at the mint, and, as long as other countries (most notably China) feel comfortable loaning us money by investing in the world's leading economy (ours), everything is fine. We don't need to panic until and unless those other countries start thinking it might be better to invest in, say, Greece, or Portugal or Iceland (not likely). And it is proper for the Federal government to help spend us all out of this recession. Without Fed intervention, GM would have gone bust, and so would Ford. Without Fed intervention, the credit markets would have evaporated, driving us into another Great Depression. Without Fed intervention, there would still be fly-by-night companies issuing worthless mortgages. Without Fed intervention, the unemployment benefits of many would have run out far sooner, and the health costs of all would be continuing to spiral higher than they already are. Without Fed intervention, we wouldn't be demanding better fuel efficiency from vehicles, and greater investment in renewable energy.
But, still, we DO need to begin throttling back on our spending and start saving, individually, as a nation, and as states and cities. We DO need to hobble the lobbyists who are hobbling real advancement. We DO need to find ways to correct the horrific income disparity between the average American and the average Fortune 500 CEO.
My daughter is now at Harvard, among the next generation of business and political leaders. Trust me, they get it. They know that we need to fix a whole slew of problems across America. And they are up to the challenge, excited by it, energized by it, and determined to make a better nation. We have turned a corner over the past few years, and are in fact on our way to better days.