The center cannot hold. The United States has made many of the same errors as its Cold War nemesis, the late Soviet Union. From gulags, to invasive border searches, to economic mismanagement, to ignoring corruption, to costly interventions in Afghanistan, to targeted secret assassination, to suppression of whistle-blowers, and failing infrastructure, the similarities start to outweigh the differences.
One issue is that over two centuries of legislative process, there exist many laws on the books that are contradictory, bizarre, and downright strange. Imagine if for profit prisons, combined with drones and surveillance, begin enforcing them selectively in ways that targets political opponents. Who needs a public secret police force when the whole thing is privatized and for profit? Of course, the system requires taxpayer money to function, so the difference between 'socialism' and 'capitalism' is largely non-existent.
Many of the few productive centers of US business (thus excluding financial speculation, guard labor, patent/copyright trolling, and polluting resource extraction sectors) want out. As empires falter, the richer sectors try to leave, the educated flee for greener pastures, and the poor are thrown to the dogs. The recent debt circus merely postponed the next act until early 2014, by which time many of the larger players' flight from the US dollar may be well underway. So many matches could ignite the oily remains of the petrodollar economy. Who knows which will be the straw that breaks the camel's back?