Circle The Drain Meaning

(idiomatic) To be in rapid decline or a state of downfall, especially as leading to inevitable utter failure or destruction.

Example: 1989, Brian D. Johnston, "L.A.'s Crippled Emergency Care:," Los Angeles Times, 29 Jan. (retrieved 17 Oct 2010):
  Our emergency medical services are, nonetheless, circling the drain.
2008, Belinda Luscombe, "Just What the Economy Needs: A $5,000 Toilet," Time, 10 Oct.:
  Presciently, the high-end Japanese bathroom-fixtures manufacturer Toto chose a time when the economy is circling the drain to launch its newest product—a $5,000 commode with a super-efficient flush.
2010, Douglas Coupland, Generation A, ISBN 9780307357731, p. 234:
  Needless to say, the guy on the phone would be watching his life circle the drain, imagining the horrific press and the life-destroying damage this false accusation would cause.