This was sent to me from a student who remembered some of my lectures (a nice compliment; thanks), and thought it hit on many of the same themes I discussed last year. I agree ...
While the ad definitely captures the empire-in-decline narrative, the story-line, unfortunately, is incomplete. Generic spending on government programs and "waste" aren't entirely to blame for our nation's debt problems.
Government bailouts for the private sector (which really took off under Reagan), favorable legislation for the rich (which undercuts our tax base), and a culture of war (fomented by the war crazies) have as much to do with our current financial mess, if not more, than expenditures on services and waste. Indeed, President Reagan effectively tripled our national debt, while President Bush doubled it (then he poisoned the financial well by setting up a trillion dollar bailout and government guarantee program for good measure).
Still, the ad is vivid, and sends a message about our nation's decline, and our seeming inability to do anything about the root causes of debt.