There is a very ancient tale (or if there isn't, there should be) about a great jungle animal named Euro-America. When it was young, Euro-America created many wondrous ways of altering its physical environment and foraging for sustenance. As a result ate very well and grew big.
But after a while its great thoughts and inventions levelled, but it appetites remained huge. So it began to maintain its life style by eating other animals in the jungle, such as Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, eating them and their basic foods, called raw materials.
Euro-America then sophisticated its tactics, turning to form of cannibalization called world trade and fed its huge appetites in that manner.
Eventually, however (fairly recently, as a matter of fact) those weaker cannibalized animals learned how to defend and assert themselves...in politics, war and economics. Then, in reaction to that competition, a strange thing happened: unable to cannibalize the other animals through stealing raw materials or world trade, Euro-America--still with its great appetites--began to cannibalize itself! It began eating its own future. It did so though a process called borrowing, or debt.
The recent American part of this process is interesting.
After a particularly hearty Euro-American appetite period, right after a world jungle war which it won, the leader/main jockey of the American part of the animal, Lyndon Johnson--in order to pay for America's appetite for "Guns and Butter," started cannibalizing from his own old people's future retirement savings account, its Social Security account, to pay for "G & B." He took the separate funds that had been set aside for the old animal's future and dumped them in the general government funds, to be spent on the present appetite for an Asian war and the American animal's present health and welfare consumption, called the Great Society.
Following Euro-American animal leaders such as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan continued the self-cannibalization process through increased debt. One animal leader, Jimmy Carter, tried to stop the process, trying to ask the people to go on a diet for a while. He introduced the concept of an Era of Limitations. But he was unceremoniously dumped off the back of the animal.
Another leader, Bush I, who dared to--after having promised not to--have the animal's pay more in the present and not mortgage the future for what they desired--a process called increased taxation-- was dumped also.
The next animal leader got lucky; Bill Clinton. "Feeling their (hunger) pain," he was able to fill every one's stomach with hot air: the Euro-American animal felt full on the illusion/hot air (and taxation) of dot.com. But that air-bubble soon burst (and tax revenues went down)...but the appetites remained...and the self-cannibalizing debt only increased, under both Bush II (they increased greatly) under the present Euro-American animal leader, Obama (under whom they've increased even more). (By the way, animal jockey Clinton was eventually disgraced not for debt but for cannibalizing young females in his own House.)
How long can one eat oneself until one disappears entirely?
Logic would dictate there is a finite amount of self that one can eat...but logic and Keynesian economics--which advances the idea that self-cannibalization of the future is necessary to make you grow bigger in the present--argues otherwise. I hold my breath--and try to keep my own self-devouring mouth shut--as I watch the Euro-America animal devouring itself; watching its arms and legs and torso disappear in an Asian animal--called China's--mouth, so it can get healthy. As it's leaders say at the end of every main address to its own animals: God bless the Euro-American animal.