Reaganomics started it, Clinton, at best, one could say slowed the run to a trot, and Bush II, when reaching the edge of the cliff hit the accelerator. It's not his fault. He didn't want to be president. His handlers found the perfect buffoon that wouldn't know anybody better while they run roughshod over the economy, wrecking the government and the dollar.
 Actually, I shouldn't say Reagonomics started it. For all the good the New Deal did, the Keynesian policies (government spending on programs to kickstart the economy after laissez-faire policies wrecked it) that continued post-WWII, ie the GI bill (college loans good, house loans could've been good if they all didn't go to Levittowns - bad) and all of the highway programs really ignited the sprawling wasteland we see today [end edit].
This process is really out of control now. The bottom line is the comprehensive bankruptcy of the United States. The Republican Party under George Bush will be known as the party that wrecked America (release 2.0). Painful as it is, Americans had better get a new "Dream" and fast. It better be a dream based on the way the universe actually works, which is to say an operating procedure run on earnest effort and truthfulness rather than merely trying to get something for nothing and wishing on stars. We might begin symbolically by evacuating Las Vegas and calling in an air strike on the loathsome place -- to register our new reality-based attitude adjustment.
After that, we've got to get to work re-tooling all the everyday activities of life, including the way we grow our food, the way we raise and deploy capital, the way we do trade and manufacturing, the way we go from point A to point B, the way we educate children, the way we stay healthy, and the way we occupy the landscape. I know, it sounds like a lot, maybe too much. But grok this: we don't have any choice if we want a plausible future on this portion of the North American continent.