At its peak the Roman Empire had expanded beyond its ability to maintain the conquered territories and all the amenities for it people.

It needed cheap workers at home to shore up its infrastructure. The population was expanding and they had to be kept happy.

Everyone has heard how the Caesars did it with bread and circuses.

Think quickly. The US has military bases in 156 countries and at home more than 50 percent are on welfare and must be kept happy.

Are we now in the stage of welfare and TV?

Seems like bread and circuses, doesn't it? This was the start of the decline of the Roman Empire and now we will see the decline of the US Empire.

Rome had gold coins to pay their people. As time went on they added more and more lead to the coins to the point where the people refused to accept them.

In 1972 President Nixon took our gold-backed paper money off the gold standard and allowed the Federal Reserve (which is not Federal and has no reserves) to print as much paper as Congress could spend (and they are very good at spending more every year).

This will mean a lowering of living standards for all the people in the country especially the middle class who must produce enough to pay for those on welfare. Even the welfare recipients will receive less as they will suffer from higher basic costs and hyper-inflation that always follows.

The U.S. Empire (and many will not like my calling it that, but facts are facts) will decline as the Roman Empire did. It will be a painful demise. Those that brought it on (the self-important politicians) will not realize until too late they will be victims of their own greed.

Those 60 and older will be affected, but not as much as their kids and grand kids. At this time it is my guess that the growth of the Asian countries will take over. Even their growth will be stunted because the buying power of the Eastern countries will have shrunk.

As time goes on it will be every man (country) for himself. Borders will tighten and jealousies will increase. The next 15 years is going to be very difficult.

The ruling class will become more oppressive.

I hope I am wrong. The writing is clearly on the wall. How did we get here? The people wanted more and more free stuff and the politicians borrowed from the future to give it to them. The debt is now due and cannot be paid despite what the politicians say.

My friends say I should not publish this column.

You know I tell you the truth. Few will pay any attention anyway.

Have a nice day ... while you can.

Al Thomas' new book, "If It Doesn't Go Up, Don't Buy It!", 3rd edition, has helped thousands of people make money and keep their profits with his simple 2-step method. The method made 10% during 2008. Read the first chapter at http://www.mutualfundmagic.com and discover why he's the man that Wall Street does not want you to know.

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