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Politicians Push Gold Standard: Have Americans Totally Lost Trust in Our Institutions?

The sudden public interest in reforming banking and money signals a loss of trust in our future.

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Massachusetts, Idaho, Florida and California have all considered proposals to emulate North Dakota since the financial crash. .

These moves – good, bad and ugly – are reflective of a larger sense of uncertainty not only with America's institutions, but also its economy as a whole. Just this week, a Gallup poll found that a majority of Americans believe that China's economy is the largest in the world. Despite the fact that ours is more than twice the size, less than a third of those polled said the American economy was the global leader.

That's a natural consequence of the “hollowing out” of America's middle class. For decades, we've been exposed to a constant stream of economic triumphalism based on Wall Street's health while our own economic security has been eaten away. Having seen their wages stagnate for years, while taking on an ever-increasing burden for the cost of an education, decent health-care and a dignified retirement, the American people recognize that their position in this supposedly upwardly mobile society has declined, and they're looking for a simple explanation for their pain, be it undocumented immigrants taking all the jobs, the machinations of the Federal Reserve or our departure from the gold standard.

Ultimately, our faith in the dollar is a reflection of our confidence in our country's future – in our military an economic strength, political culture and ability to navigate a rapidly changing world. We can dismiss the gold-bugs as crazies, and point out that the state bank movement isn't a magic bullet for our deeply entrenched economic problems, but the fact that so many Americans no longer trust the fundamental strengths of American society is itself a real and troubling phenomenon.

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