When you were little, I wager more than one adult asked you, “When you grow up, how are you going to change the world?” I was no different. I daydreamed often about how I was going to change things. I’d become president, be an astronaut, a doctor, or do something really cool, like act in movies.

Of course, the “change” we imagined was always positive. Nowadays, though, like it or not, our world is changing, but not necessarily for the better. Seems our parents were right  . . . sort of. We are changing the world, but it’s change brought on by complacency rather than action, indifference rather than concern, entitlement rather than merit.

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity (so I’ve heard), and all we need to do is turn our eyes to Washington DC and most state capitols these days to see this age-old axiom play out again and again.

Concerned about the current fiscal crises facing America? Concerned about government debt, overspending, and mounting taxes? Most people are. This King Monkey is. We aren’t just talking my financial future here, but the financial future of generations of our young people.

I read somewhere that this will be the first generation since the founding of the country where the standard of living of parents will exceed that of their children. C’mon, really? What’s going on? Where’s that old American drive, that old American ingenuity and “can-do” attitude?

We can do better. You know it. I know it. Where’s the willingness to sacrifice, to take less now in return for prosperity in the long-run?

Desire must be at the root of successful change. You have to want something bad enough to change the circumstances. Likewise, you need to want something pretty bad to maintain the status quo. To me, it’s become clear that not everyone wants to change. Some people actually benefit from the current status quo.

While talk about entitlements usually conjures images of elder Americans (Social Security, Medicare) and those on Medicaid and welfare, that’s not entirely accurate. It’s dawned on me that “entitlement” includes people at the top, too, including those very people empowered to fix the current state of affairs (or keep us out of the crapper in the first place): Congress and the President. Talk about the foxes guarding the hen house!

Over the years, given their positions of power, Congress, the President, and thousands of Federal employees have “entitled” themselves to health care coverage superior to our own; they participate in generous retirement and pension programs separate from social security; and they are privy to a wide range of on-the-job perks that you and I could only dream of . . . and that’s not even taking a look at what goes on at various state or local levels.

Why would those already in power want to change the current system, which seems to be working so well for them?

I was always taught that Congress and the President—all government for that matter—worked for “we the people.” In my business life, it’s been rare (if at all) that I’ve encountered organizations where the employees have better benefits and health coverage than their employers, but not so when it comes to the Federal Government.

Over the years, those in power have created for themselves a pretty sweet deal, with little incentive to change it. Of course, financial realities may someday soon force a change to their circumstance (or disgruntled voters), but without a sincere desire on their part to make it happen, we can expect more of the same—business as usual—for years to come.

It would be nice for once if, when our leaders talk of shared sacrifice, to see them lead by example.

What do you think?

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