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The United States is still – by a wide margin – the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world.

We have a greater productive capacity than any other nation. It’s probably larger than all of Europe combined.

And despite what many people believe, I don’t think our country’s best days are behind us.

That may sound funny coming from the person who predicted the “End of America.” But my thesis is about the end of the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency and the devastating economic crisis that would follow. But America has recovered from crises before (and usually emerges stronger). I’ve always said I thought our political union would survive.

I’m still an optimist. I think that sooner or later – and I can’t say when – the madness of our current economic policies will be so evident that this country will make wholesale changes. I just don’t believe we’ll vote ourselves down the abyss.

Eventually, the middle class will realize this idea that we can tax, borrow and spend our way to prosperity is failing. By then, real wages will have fallen so far, the wealth gap will have become so pronounced, the collusion between government and the banks will have become so evident that people will vote in a candidate willing to take some radical steps to get us on the right track. Somebody like a Ron Paul, for example.

And you would be amazed how quickly even the huge hurdles we’re setting for ourselves could be overcome with just some sensible policies. For instance:

Sensible Policy No. 1: Imagine what would happen if we just had a flat income tax rate for everybody. We’d abolish every other tax – corporate taxes, social security taxes, payroll taxes and every other federal tax, levy, fine and fee.

Instead, you’d just pay 20 percent of your income, whatever the source. We’d get rid of the different tax structures for different corporate entities and the different shelters and rebates. Wherever your source of income – dividends, capital gains, wages, etc. – we all pay the same flat rate.

So the first thing we need to do to get our country back on track is to have a fair, sensible income-tax policy, period.

Sensible Policy No. 2: We need to pass a balanced budget amendment that keeps us from financing foreign wars and an endless welfare state.

We need true welfare reform, not the kind you saw in 1996 where everyone just jumped from welfare to disability.

If you have some kind of an emergency situation, you can apply to the federal government for help up to a limit of $5,000 over six weeks (to pick arbitrary terms). And that’s it. You won’t get any money from the government again.

Sensible Policy No. 3: We need to get out of the business of trying to regulate every single banking transaction in the world.

In the financial crisis, who got into trouble? Was it the hedge funds that are unregulated and backed with private capital? No. It was the banks that are heavily regulated and backed with public capital.

To ensure everyone’s money is safe, we’d back the currency by gold. We’d put up 20 percent of every dollar in existence in gold.

We need to stop trying to regulate the banks and guaranteeing the deposits. Leave that up to the market. But guess what? You won’t even have to put your money in a bank if it’s backed by gold. All you’d have to do is put it under the mattress and you’ll be fine.

With those three steps, we’d have a fair and transparent tax policy, we’d have a sensible federal budget with no budget deficit, and we’d be out of the business of trying to control every dollar that’s spent and the way it’s banked around the world.

If we did just those three things, the size of our economy could double in five years.

It would be an unbelievable boom because America is still the largest market in the world. We still control the global language of business. We still have the best computing and software companies, the best technology. We have unlimited amounts of energy (thanks to the shale oil and gas boom), despite what the politicians and bureaucrats in government tell you.

But as long as we continue with the idiotic socialist policies we’re currently pursuing, we are going to bankrupt ourselves just like every other socialist nation, no matter how wealthy and powerful we are.

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