We elected a president who promised “change”, without really knowing what to expect.  We took a gamble.  
And now we are learning that his idea of change is not what most Americans had in mind.

Today 61% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.  Most have no retirement savings. The only
employment opportunities are for federal workers who earn 60% more than their private-sector
counterparts while adding nothing to the GDP.  Banks now own more equity in American homes than
individuals do.  The middle class has vanished before our eyes.   Our optimism and pride in our nation
continues to fade.  What can we do?  

First, how do we measure success?  I submit that America is not a government, and not just a location on a
map.  It is a collection of people who claim each other for mutual support and who have mutual interests.  
We, as a group and as individual families, want (1)  the opportunity to improve our standard of living; (2)
security from those who would do us harm, both inside and outside our borders; and (3) the freedom to
choose how we live, work, play, and raise our families.   

Second, what contributes to success?  We know that competition breeds success, especially when there is
a profit motive.  Individuals will work harder and smarter to gain rewards.  But when failure has no
consequence, there will be little effort and much failure.  Government programs never expire, and
government employees are never fired, so there is little urgency to work harder or achieve more.

Blaming and finger-pointing solves nothing. To find success, we need change.  Radical change.  Not the
change we endure at the hands of our current leadership.  And not a change back to the less-than-stellar
path we were on before.  When you add it all up, the change we need is more empowerment of individual
Americans, and less government. The situation is not hopeless – there are solutions.

For instance, why not reverse the government-growth syndrome by privatizing many of the entrenched and
inefficient government functions?  For example:  our education system, especially in urban areas, is failing
miserably, and few of our students are prepared to compete with better-educated, lower-paid foreign
competitors.  Why do we structure curricula according to students’ chronological age and political
correctness, instead of individual abilities and interests, and the requirements of our economy?  Why is
economic knowledge at the bottom of the priority list instead of the top?  Why are urban parents forced to
send their children to sub-standard schools?  

I submit that private industry, because of competition and profit motive, can educate at lower cost and with
far better results than our current system.  Imagine the impact on our economy if, in five to ten years, our
young adults have the skills to develop high-value new technologies and innovations, rather than
competing for the lowest-paying menial jobs.  Imagine the impact on disadvantaged families if they, given
education vouchers, had the opportunity to choose the best educational options, geared to their students’
talents and ambitions.

Other opportunities for privatization abound, and priority could be assigned to the poorest-performing
departments.  The post office is obsolete.  Our airports and air traffic control systems are outdated and
dangerous.  Amtrak is dysfunctional and inefficient.   Administrative overhead and red tape in many
government agencies is out of control.  Oversight and audit is almost unheard of in government.  Who
knows, new competition might even cause government agencies to improve and justify their budgets.

Admittedly, big change takes effort, creativity, leadership, and courage.  But let’s face it, the direction we
are going is not working.  We need radical change, and soon.  I am looking for leaders who have the
courage and vision to embrace radical change.

Tom Balek
Lewistown Tea Party