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Christopher Herz Headshot

Additions to the State of the Union

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If I were one of the writers who helped to put together President Obama's State of the Union Speech last night, I would have added the following:

For you teachers out there wondering where the money for your raises that you so dearly deserve is coming from, I am instituting a sports tax on all stadiums. Each ticket sold, each concession stand purchase, each dollar that is given to parking for the big game, will be taxed a small percentage and handed over to a national education fund that will be used to pay teachers.

There is no reason why our brightest and most passionate people should not be encouraged to teach.

There is no reason that sports facilities should be build in low-income communities and not give back to the people in those communities. If baseball is our national pastime, let our national pastime support our nation. If the Super Bowl is drawing 10 million dollars for a 30 second commercial, why shouldn't some of that go towards building our education system and ensuring that the right teachers are in place to drive our children?

Staying on the subject of schools, each school cafeteria will purchase foods from local farmers and local merchants. This would stimulate economies on the local level and ensure a greater sense of quality control over what our children are eating for lunch. If you raise them on pizza and fried chicken patties, we as a nation are going to grow up to be adults who do the same thing. We can battle obesity and help to hold back the onslaught of corporate takeovers of our educations system in one swoop.

To the Pharmaceutical companies making millions off of the health of hard working Americans, each dollar spent on advertising will have to be matched with creating healthy living campaigns designed to keep Americans from getting ill in the first place. We can no longer be a nation that makes a profit off of the unhealthiness of its citizens. If we are to make money off of sickness, there needs to be a balance of health.

For the auto companies who were once the backbone of this great country, I would give tax breaks to you if you were to embark on a national rail system that runs through this country. The rail system would need to be run on clean fuel and renewable energy. This would not only help the infrastructure of the country by allowing local merchants to ship and trade within America, but it would serve as a model to the rest of the world that we can evolve and create something new and innovative.

To encourage such ideas, we will set up scholarships within the public school system for children who want to participate in the building of this great system. Design, innovation and the ability to create exists right now in the mind of some 12 year-old child sitting at home and watching this speech with their parents. You out there, you are thinking "Is the President Talking to Me?" Well I am. I am saying that you can help develop this country.

You must help develop this country.

Every day I read about some young child who builds a game that helped make them thousands of dollars. The youth today is more tech savvy than many adults, so let us harness that creativity and start them on the track of greatness.

Now on this point, I am not asking or telling you to do something. This point, I am talking to the business owners of all levels. I am talking to the CEOs and to the small business owners who have two employees. Look at the companies who have prospered during the last 20 years. As the economy changed, their model on how they interacted with their employees changed.

If you want a worker to be productive, have them involved at every level. Allow them to take time in their day to develop new ideas and bring them to the table. This is how companies like Google and Facebook have become such dynamic Titans - they see that the value of their workplace exists in the minds of their employees. There is no way I can implement such a mandate, but I ask you as a favor, as your president, to go in tomorrow and see if the people who know your business the best have any ideas on how to make it better.

Let us move on to garbage. On a recent visit to Germany, I saw that the people there actually separate out their own trash into papers, plastics, glass and trash. If it is not separated, it is not getting picked up. Now America has come a long way in this regard, but there is still miles to go. We are running out of natural resources at an alarming rate. To know that nothing can be wasted must be in the minds of all Americans each time they go to the trash can. Ask yourself - Can this be reused? How is my action affecting the rest of the country?

As for Food Stamps and Social welfare programs, I realize that many families are in need of support to get through difficult times. We have all been there when the choices were little.

However, I would like to see these programs run more like a job, where you receive your Food Stamp Credit or Welfare check after you have completed a set number of hours of community service. This service could be volunteering at a VA hospital or simply helping to clean up the trash on your block. Giving people a sense that they are receiving money and food for work that is done, gives them a greater sense of pride, and makes the street a little more of a two way one in regards to what the country is getting back for extending the lifeline.

I want to close this evening by requesting that Americans reach out to the world through the arts. Social media has given us an amazing opportunity to learn about cultures from around the world. Using social media sites, I encourage you to share your art, your literature, your music - any of your amazing creativity with the rest of the world. If you listen to a Hip Hop Track out of Pakistan, and they listen to a ballad out of Great Falls Montana, it might be a little more difficult to go to war with each other.

We have the ability to reach out across the world and gain a deeper understanding of each other.

Why not do it?

Thank you for your time this evening. This country is the experiment the rest of the world is watching. Show them that we are proud to be on stage and invite them to join us. The globalization of economy, arts and science is upon us. Let us look to join and not dominate, but let our voices be heard.

Good night.