Comptroller General worries US is new Rome

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It appears that David M. Walker has been reading his Cullen Murphy. In a startlingly downbeat report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, Mr. Walker, the office's comptroller general, drew explicit parallels to the fall of the Roman Empire in excoriating the U.S. government for what he considers to be unsustainable policies.

“I’m trying to sound an alarm and issue a wake-up call,” Walker said in an interview with the Financial Times. “As comptroller general I’ve got an ability to look longer-range and take on issues that others may be hesitant, and in many cases may not be in a position, to take on. One of the concerns is obviously we are a great country but we face major sustainability challenges that we are not taking seriously enough.”

Over at his eponymous blog, Dan Drezner can't help but roll his eyes at the cliché: "Analysts have been comparing the United States to a decaying, declining Roman Empire for close to 40 years now. It has become so clichéd that, according to a little-known D.C. ordinance, anyone who makes the analogy inside the Beltway is forced to listen to either Robert Kuttner or George Will pontificate for an entire hour on its historical appropriateness. Shudder."

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