In most cases, it's impossible to determine the integrity of a heat exchanger without pulling the blower and burners. (DO NOT EVEN ATTEMPT!) It's possible to see approximetely 1/3rd of the heat exchanger on natural draft furnaces without taking anything apart. (aside from removing the cover)
You should get it checked every year.
The likelyhood of finding cracks in a 26 year old unit is extremely high - plan on getting it replaced.
economic collapse is a certainty. debt based fiat currency monetary systems can never continue indefinitely because they require continuous creation of new debt to service the existing debt. in the absence of economical growth (which is always predicated on increased resource extraction rather than capital alone), this leads to massive inflation which destroys the currency.
your leaders can't fix this - they're corrupt and only exist to enrich themselves and their corporate friends.