Now that the government free stuff is coming to an end, what I think will happen is that folks in this country will start ignoring the federal government and start to make their own arrangements. From my point of view, the Federal government has never been able to get by without bribing the population. Now that there is a real financial crisis, the government will not be able to keep passing out the bribes to the masses, and now the masses will start ignoring them.
Sure, the federal government will try to assert it's power, but the truth of the matter is that they will not be able to do it. No combination of military and police power has the manpower or the discipline to carry it serious suppression of domestic disobedience should the population decide to ignore the government's wishes. Some folks think that "Blackwater" or "the Black Helicopters carrying UN troops" will do it for the government. Get real, Blackwater doesn't have the resources to hold a single medium-sized city. As for the black helicopters, hell, can anyone show me a UN mission that worked?
So, without the federal government being able to either bribe or threaten us effectively, what next? I see tax revolt to the Fed as one of the first steps. This will be a good thing, it will force the government to first start cutting off the bribes, then will force the government to start defaulting on its bonds. Remember, begin with the bankers and the foreigners first on the defaults.
Once that train has left the station, then it will be time for the State governments or perhaps regional entities to start coming to the fore. Local governments will also have to step up their work ethic and clean up their act. This is going to be hard on some folks, these levels of government have become a group of nanny-state crybabies, screaming for the Fed to help them at every step, now they are going to have to break their suction with the giant federal tit and start doing something themselves. Oh, they will thrash around for a bit, but they will get the hang of it.
The key is remembering that the centralization of the continental state is dependent on the flow of cheap energy and cheap money. Now that the end is near for cheap oil, the continental state simply doesn't have the tools to survive. It will wither.
We won't sink into chaos. There will be hard times, there will probably be some wars. Hell, if the countries of Europe (BTW, I see the EU collapsing too) can live through the all the wars they have lived through and still remain intact, so can we. All we will be losing is an overweening Federal government. Hell, it might even be an improvement.