For some reason there exists a belief that economic collapses are sudden events. Because the collapse isn’t happening all at once, those who see what is happening must be wrong. This is true even in the rather fast collapse that started in 2008 with the housing collapse.
People generally think that the Great Depression of 1929, which started officially in, happened all at once with the stock market crash of 1929. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the crash was not the cause of the Great Depression, but was instead the trigger.
The same is true of the Great Depression of 2008 in that it was not caused by but was instead triggered by the collapse of the housing market. The second Great Depression actually started in late 2007, but the effects weren’t noticed until the housing market was no longer able to disguise the symptoms in the rest of the economy.
Collapses take time. This is true even of rapid collapses like in 1929 and 2008; it takes time for the many failed institutions to wind through and finish - longer if the government attempts intervention to rescue failed institutions.
Political collapses take even longer. The reason people do not believe that the current United States imperium is not in decline is because the decline has been going on for several decades. If the several years of an economic decline are too long for the average observer, then the several decades of political decline are beyond notice for the average observer.
Like an economic collapse, political collapses aren’t single events but often have a single event trigger. The collapse of the Roman Empire didn’t occur when barbarians invaded, but was made real when barbarians invaded. Until the invasion, Rome looked as might as ever, but was a hollow shell.
This decline, economic and political, will not be visible to someone who hasn’t studied history. Because it is not apparent on the surface it is something that won’t be believed, especially since so many people have an emotional investment in the current greatness of the United States. Reality doesn’t care of people don’t believe in the collapse.