The frustrating thing about American government today—whether at the local, state or federal level—is that it doesn’t work. We can’t afford it and we seem powerless to fix it. An increasing number of people all around the country think the system is broken.
Most people on the inside don’t see it that way, though. They think the only thing we need is "leadership," by which they mean "throw the other guys out and put our guys in charge." That was the theme of the Obama campaign, and it’s the theme of the GOP establishment today.
But those of us in the Tea Party movement think we’re way past simple solutions like that. Throwing the bums out might be a good first step, but merely replacing one set of leaders with another set cut from the same cloth won’t fix things any more than initiatives that merely snip around the edges. We need a fundamental change in government at all levels, starting with Washington.
Government has gotten so massive, so regulation bound, so beholden to conflicting special interests, that it can no longer function much less solve the problems confronting us. Despite these problems, government seems unable or unwilling to enact necessary reforms. Why? Because large bureaucracies do not reform from within; neither do they reform top down. It’s against their self-interest to do so.
Even if a few well-meaning insiders try, their efforts will fail. The combined weight of business-as-usual bureaucracy, the straight jacket of accumulated regulations, and fiercely dug-in special interests would wear down any reformers who want to reduce government’s size, scope, and cost.
The only "reforms" we enact are those that add ever larger and more expensive programs on top of the programs of yesteryear that no longer work. We never eliminate the old programs, or laws, or regulations, we just add another layer on top of them hoping that will solve the problem. But just throwing money at a problem never solves it; it just kicks the can further down the road, all the while ratcheting up the cost of government.
We are now to the point where the federal government is forced to borrow 50 cents of every dollar it spends; and half of that is borrowed from countries that are not our friends. What if they finally say no!? What if they refuse to lend us the money to keep going? According to some seasoned veterans of finance, our currency could well collapse.
We can’t go on like this. We need to reform, reduce and restrict government. We need to start over. Get back to basics.
But we can’t rely on government or our leaders to do it for us. We’ve got to force change on them from the grass roots and at the ballot box this November.
Philip Howard’s Manifesto is the first step. The next is for people of all political persuasions to endorse it, and in turn support candidates who pledge to enact it once elected. And then, most critically, make sure they do.
For far too long both political parties have mouthed platitudes of reform at election time and then gone on to play the same old game once elected. Throw those bums out. And keep throwing them out until we elect people willing to make the fundamental reforms to necessary to bring America back from the brink. The first American Revolution was fought on the battlefield. This one will be fought at the ballot box.
KT McFarland is active in the NY Tea Party movement. She was a GOP candidate for US Senate from NY in 2006 and has held national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan Administrations.