"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.” "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy and crushing entitlement debt, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”. Alexis de Tocqueville.