Katie Kieffer
Imagine this: It's the Fourth of July. You are a notorious pyro and your frightened neighbor lady sways you into reading my column on her flashy new iPad to temporarily distract you from setting up your annual fireworks display. As you read this, she is "accidentally" dropping her garden hose, running full blast, on the pile of fireworks you’ve been stashing up all year.

Yes, by now, your fireworks are wet garbage. Don't panic. Keep reading. Trust me, she's not as sneaky as she thinks. I'll tell you how to ignite your neighborhood with a show like it has never seen before. You won't even need to make an emergency run to the tent down the street selling fireworks.

People like your neighbor lady who fear fireworks on the Fourth of July generally dread noise, uncertainty and risk. So, let’s beat them at their own game. Tell Little Miss Scaredy Pants and the rest of your neighbors that you are hosting a can't-miss Fourth of July celebration tonight featuring a “live” performance by pop star Katy Perry in your backyard.

What your neighbors don’t know is that you will be "performing" alongside Perry at your BBQ this evening. Since you only have a few hours to prepare, I’ll help you practice rocking out to selections from Perry’s hit single Firework. Crank up the volume. Here we go:

KATY Do you ever feel like a plastic bag Drifting through the wind Wanting to start again…

Do you know that there's still a chance for you Cause there's a spark in you

YOU There are people in every neighborhood across America—including yours—who are struggling. A man who lost his job. A woman who is underemployed. A teenager who can’t find summer work. Families who have skipped their traditional week-long summer vacations. Homeowners who are ravaged by foreclosures, floods and tornadoes.

This month, consumer confidence fell to its lowest level since November of last year. When people are sad, depressed and angry, the last thing they feel like doing is celebrating. So, tonight, commemorate our adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 by inspiring your friends and neighbors to embrace freedom and become “fireworks.”

KATY You just gotta ignite the light And let it shine Just own the night Like the Fourth of July

YOU This Independence Day, when your friends and neighbors come over for a BBQ, resolve to be a sounding board for those who are feeling down about their financial situations.

If they're a jobless young person facing a 24 percent teen unemployment rate, ask them to consider starting their own seasonal business. They could use their talents to start a lawn-care, house-cleaning or technology business this summer. When the school year starts, they could focus on marketing and building up a clientele so that their business will be running full-force by next summer.

If they’re an unemployed or underemployed adult, ask them open-ended questions about their talents and dreams. Ask them to consider taking the entrepreneurial leap—while still looking for traditional corporate jobs and taking interviews. They have nothing to lose, except maybe sleep.

If there are ravaged homes within or nearby your neighborhood, enlist your neighbors to join you in doing something nice to help the homeowners. Bring food, supplies, flowers, toys—whatever help or joy you can think of.

KATY Baby you're a firework Come on let your colors burst Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!" You're gonna leave 'em all in awe-awe-awe

YOU In a sense, fireworks represent taking risks, facing danger and fearlessly speaking out. Encourage your friends and neighbors to take Katy Perry’s advice and become fireworks.

The economic downturn is impacting everyone. The only way we can crawl out of this ditch is if we hoist each other up, not push each other down. Together, we need to advocate for pro-business policies, lower taxes and government spending cuts. We must revive the economy so that honest, hard-working Americans are no longer cornered into relying on the government for assistance when they lose their jobs, homes and savings—or are simply unable to find enough work—and not for lack of trying.

If we work together to revitalize the free market system in America, entrepreneurs will take risks, companies will create jobs, unemployment levels will plunge and Americans will once again be able to proudly create their own financial security. In a free market, ordinary people can help each other out infinitesimally more than the government.

Now, go invite your neighbor lady to your BBQ tonight. Just be sure she leaves her garden hose at home because there’s a rumor that Katy Perry’s sound crew will be delivering a truckload of fireworks to your house around 8:00 p.m. Be ready!


Katie Kieffer

Katie Kieffer is the author of a new book published by Random House, LET ME BE CLEAR: Barack Obama’s War on Millennials and One Woman’s Case for Hope.” She writes a weekly column for Townhall.com. She also runs KatieKieffer.com.