$11 Trillion in US debt, the Federal Government has taken the cue that there is no need to have liquid assets when you control the printing press. In doing so, over the last decades, the perception of wealth has been superior to actual wealth... and as such, inflation of the US dollar has soared, making net wealth actually much less than mere decades prior. Standards of living are vastly improved, however, again, I submit that this is merely perception of wealth.
What is more troubling is the increased role the US government is taking in providing social programs by way of social bureaucracies. With the numbers of individuals dependent on these programs swelling, there is a simple question begin begged: What happens when the money runs out?
The old parable "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will always be fed" comes to mind.
When the money runs out, when the system begins to shut down, you will get New Orleans circa Hurricane Katrina - where services were less than a mile away, with little "water walking", yet tens of thousands of people sat idly by yelling into the cameras and shouting into the air "WE WANT HELP"... sadly, some died as the mob idly stood by, unable and unwilling to save themselves - complete dependence on government assistance right up until the end.
When "we want help" fails to work for millions, as it failed during Katrina, there is going to be a catastrophe never before seen here in the United States. When the numbers are such that entire communities and ways of life have been established on government dependence, two things can happen when the well runs dry: One - entire communities begin to starve to death, disease overtakes the communities and they wither and die; two - they revolt and attack those who they perceive as 'hoarding' their entitled necessities.
I suppose option three is that the government gains total control of commodities as well as money, forcing government mandated crops for the "US Food Program" and government mandated occupation in support of the betterment of the nation. The full implementation of "to those based on their need from those based on their ability" - also known as the Marxist Dictum.
Regarding option one: private help, charitable foundations, and the like will step in, as they do now, to quell the hunger and aid those trained only to receive... however, the ability to sustain this level of charity will become impossible. You will surely begin to see limitless masses pining for their 'fair share' of the charity - unwilling to give back or to step aside for the next hungry mouth. Entire communities will be displaced or deceased... and it will be blamed on the inability of private charity to provide.
Regarding option two: I believe that conspiracy theorists refer to this scenario as the "race wars". Communities of inner city mobs will begin raids on the suburban area for wealth, then basics like food and water. The ethnic make-up of the cultural boundaries is clear to all, which is why the term 'race wars' is used. This civil unrest will be the final chapter in the story of the United States, as it existed as a free society.
The underlying problem continues to point toward government involvement. The establishment of sub-cultures, be they "migrant workers" or unskilled inner city welfare communities, is the horrible side effect of government social welfare programs. When the intent is to provide all for everyone, the system fails itself and the nation.
When the systems were 'sold' to the citizens of the US it was during a crisis - and remember the Obama administration taught us that no good crisis should go unused. Past crises were used to sell a "support net" intended to help folks get back on their feet... they became abused and resulted in the mess we see today - complete dependence.
In short - the money will run out... the money has run out. The continued wealth we see is perception only - the US is bankrupt and is digging faster into debt than ever before in the history of its existence. Once the money is gone, we are going to have a flood of government dependents screaming "We Want Help" - but in the end there will be ne'er an ear to listen.