The 700 billion dollar bail-out of the investment bankers really means the end of the United States as a world power. No country can remain strong with the level of debt we have taken on and must repay to foreigners.
The only comparable example I can think of might be the reparation debt Germany was forced to pay after World War I. We know that didn't turn out well.
A blogger on dailyKos has posted a lucid history of the Republican hands behind the deregulation that created this disaster:
Three times is Enemy Action
update: that DailyKos article is getting traction; it's been put on the front of The Nation's website