They didn’t call him Tricky Dick for nothing.
The truth is we spent a fortune fighting in Vietnam and fighting “The War on Poverty” at home and we were tapped. When the the international community (especially the French and British) wanted to be paid back in gold, as was their right under Bretton Woods, for the money we had borrowed from them, Nixon told them to take a hike.
The main problem was that gold by decree was supposed to be $35.00 an ounce. The real world however was paying $44. You can see the problem. The US was bleeding gold and Nixon thought he had to do something. He chose the wrong thing however. He should never have completely abandoned gold.
His decision 40 years ago has had grave ramifications for us today. By disconnecting the dollar completely from gold Nixon unleashed the state.