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Your Views: Government reform is needed to limit spending
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There has recently been talk of how to properly reform Washington and the nation. For several years, my friends and I have discussed how to better our political situation, and the following is the plan we developed.

Term limits across the board. Every position in D.C. has a term limit of some kind, maybe two terms at most. I also think that Supreme Court Justices should not be lifetime appointments. A 20-year term should suffice for the High Court.

Campaign finance reform. An individual should only be allowed to spend up to one penny less than they will make in office. (Example: If a position pays $1 million over four years, the candidate may spend $999,999.99 of personal funds in a campaign.) It would certainly limit the number of commercials we have to put up with.

Congressional pay. Congress should be paid the average yearly salary of our soldiers serving in Afghanistan. Public service was meant to be a duty, not a lifelong career. Drop the pay and see how many politicians stick around.

Require any spending bill brought before Congress to show where spending will be cut elsewhere to account for this bill. Budgets during times of peace cannot grow faster than the growth rate of the economy.

Members of Congress should spend two weeks in their home district or state for every one week in Washington. The level of technology we have should allow for Congressional representatives to see how their constituents are doing, and to keep them from hiding in Washington.

Change all presidential debates to unscripted town halls. No more planted questions. We saw how awkward things were for President Barack Obama when Joe the Plumber confronted him several years back. Lets put all the candidates in that situation.

For people drawing unemployment benefits, enact a state sponsored program to put them to work cleaning highways and parks, but at the same time help them find a job.

Change the education system to engender more vocational training. We have to admit that some people are not cut out for academia, but vocational training and apprenticeships would help them greatly in life.

These are the high points of our discussion. The path our nation is on is completely unsustainable. We are currently $15 trillion in debt, with over $10 trillion being added in the last 11 years. At our current rate, well have a national debt over $22 trillion by 2016.

Our current president, by his own admission, fosters policies that will cause energy costs to skyrocket. His energy secretary wants to see American gas prices at the same level as Europe, where gas is around $8 per gallon.

The last two points begin societal changes that need to come about to avoid becoming a European-style social welfare state. Again, these are my ideas, supplemented by the ideas of some of my friends.

Blake Duncan
Flowery Branch