Five Ways the U.S. Could Disintegrate
BY DAVID KOTOK
Note to readers. Yang Hu is the Director, Economics and Mortgage Market Analysis at Fannie Mae. He is also a serious student of history and a thoroughly skilled writer. He offered a rejoinder to my earlier commentary entitled “I’m worried.”
What Kind of Decline? A rejoinder by Yang Hu
In drawing parallels to the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, a note about the distinctiveness of its disintegration.
David has kindly invited me to write a rejoinder to his column “I’m Worried”, where he sees the parallel in the decline between United States and Rome. While my crystal ball is no more perspicuous than anyone else’s (and my day job as an economist probably makes it less so, given our track record), I think it would be instructive to visualize what the United States might look like centuries from now, were we to follow the same arc of decline as the Roman Empire from its Augustinian heights during first century AD.
Were that the case, a century from now the vast majority of our presidents would die either fighting someone else or at the hand of his or her successor, most of whom had risen to prominence through the military . States west of the Rockies would break away and form their own countries, as trade and economic integration completely broke down . The strains from an overly expanded army and devastating plagues  would further cause the collapse of civil society. And there would be 100 million fewer Americans a hundred years from now, as incessant civil wars wiped out a large number of people .
All this, before our version of Diocletian shows up.
Historians Will and Ariel Durant, as quoted by David, attribute the final destruction of the Roman Empire to Diocletian’s “socialist interlude.” . I am of the opinion that this reflects more the anxieties of our times and that even had Diocletian been replaced by Empress Margaret Thatcher Augustus, who in turn appointed Imperator Ayn Rand Maximus as her co-emperor, the trajectory of the Roman Empire would not have been much different.