"But as soon as a new generation has succeeded and the democracy falls into the hands of the grandchildren of its founders, they have become by this time so accustomed to equality and freedom of speech that they cease to value them and seek to raise themselves above their fellow-citizens, and it is noticeable that the people most liable to this temptation are the rich. So when they begin to hanker after office, and find that they cannot achieve it through their own efforts or on their merits, they begin to seduce and corrupt the people in every possible way, and thus ruin their estates. The result is that through their senseless craving for prominence they stimulate among the masses both an appetite for bribes and the habit of receiving them, and then the rule of democracy is transformed into government by violence and strongarm methods. By this time the people have become accustomed to feed at the expense of others, and their prospects of winning a livelihood depend upon the property of their neighbours; then as soon as they find a leader who is sufficiently ambitious and daring, but is excluded from the honours of office because of his poverty, they will introduce a regime based on violence. After this they unite their forces, and proceed to massacre, banish and despoil their opponents, and finally degenerate into a state of bestiality, after which they once more find a master and a despot." - Polybius, Rise of the Roman Republic
This says that populism gets tied in with the filthy rich, which is exactly what the US is experiencing. Economic and moral suicide would be so set in people minds as something "good" that people would be offended by anything sane. The difference now is that unlimited debt can be foisted onto others. Then there is our greatly expanded ability to wreck havoc when we seek revenge against others who were not responsible for the pains we intentionally inflicted on ourselves.
For me, the only question mark is what happens after the collapse. The Greeks say it is a cycle that will simply repeat itself. The Christians say that this is a necessary precursor to the Apocalypse, which precedes the return of Christ. In either case, there is little reason to lament the inevitable.