What the President Should Say in His State-of-the-Union Speech

Last Updated Feb 7, 2011 1:26 PM EST

Tuesday night is the annual State of the Union Address (SOTU), when the President travels to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue and lays out what his priorities will be for the next year. This event is like the "Super Bowl" of American politics, where the theater and drama reach a fever pitch. Republicans get to stand on issues they like, Democrats give an ovation when they hear something they are in favor of, and the Supreme Court Justices and military leaders just stay put. The SOTU is truly a spectacle of American politics.
Though President Obama will talk about foreign policy, healthcare, the environment and several other obligatory topics, here's what one blogger thinks the President should say in his speech about how we should try to get our economy back on track. I've even built in the breaks for applause.
"These United States were founded by risk-takers who envisioned a better life for themselves and their families. They came here seeking the opportunities to innovate, create and become the directors of their own destinies. Our country was built by these "doers" and too often, our government has gotten in their way and obstructed their progress.

Entrepreneurs have helped us win two world wars, triumph in the space race and ushered us into the information age. Without them we wouldn't have television, computers or the capability to search almost all written word since the invention of the printing press. Entrepreneurs, we look to you once again to bring forth the innovations we never imagined and the jobs, wealth and increased quality of life that will come with them.

Pause for applause
Obama's 2010 State of the Union address
We know that all net new jobs created in the United States since 1980 have come from firms less than five years old. These young firms are the conduit through which economic recovery will be realized. That's why I will focus on helping entrepreneurs start and grow their firms in 2011.

My efforts will focus on two areas. First, our economy needs more entrepreneurs to take the risks associated with pursuing their dreams and starting a company. I will work to encourage more Americans to take the steps necessary to form a firm, hire workers and begin to grow our economy back to the humming engine that it once was -- and will be again.

Second, we need to find new ways to increase the success rates of these new companies. We need to focus our efforts on the innovative products, services and ideas that are likely to have the most impact. This is not about picking winners and losers, its about helping match first-time entrepreneurs with experienced mentors who can help guide our firm creators through the trials and tribulations they will face on their own entrepreneurial journey. And it's about looking for entrepreneurs in every corner of society and encouraging them to go into business for themselves.

So how do we reach these goals?

First, we must pledge to do no harm. If entrepreneurs can lead us down the path to economic recovery, the government must stop putting up barriers that slow their ability to enter new markets, hire additional workers and expand their enterprises to their full potential. That's why I recently signed an Executive Order requiring a review of all Federal regulations. This review will help identify and remove unnecessary compliance requirements that could hamper the ability of the American entrepreneur to do business. But government may not hold all the answers -- the government might best serve these efforts by getting out of the way and letting the doers do and the creators create.

Pause for applause
Second, our country needs to show it is open for business by allowing the best and the brightest from all over the world to come here and start their companies in the United States. We know that most entrepreneurs want to come here and start their companies, particularly after finishing their studies. They want to follow in the footsteps of those American entrepreneurs with whom we are all so familiar with today.

That's why I'm calling on this Congress to pass the Startup Visa Act that will make it easier for foreign-born entrepreneurs to come here and start their companies and employ our citizens.

Pause for applause
This expanded visa class will allow entrepreneurs the visas required to live the American dream if they are sponsored by a qualified venture capitalist or angel investor. The United States is no longer the easiest place on earth to start a business.The good news is that people still want to come to the United States, just as our ancestors did over two hundred years ago, and make a better life for themselves. Let's make sure we don't keep out foreign job creators.

Pause for applause
Finally, I want to explore ways that the government can make it easier for people to start a company. We have to make sure that we offer the right incentives to fledgling companies who count on every dollar to keep their enterprise going. I will explore changes in our tax policy to offer a payroll tax holiday to new firms in the first few years of their lives. I want to provide special exemptions to federal requirements for startups, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, to reduce the reporting burdens on young firms. I believe these actions will show that we are serious about encouraging new firm starts and will lay the groundwork for an explosion of innovative entrepreneurship."

Good luck with your speech, Mr. President. Please feel free to liberally plagiarize the above. America's entrepreneurs are counting on you.
Cameron Cushman is a Senior Analyst at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation where he works to educate policymakers about the importance of entrepreneurs as job creators.
Photos courtesy of the White House Flickr stream.

  • Cameron Cushman

    Cameron Cushman is a Senior Analyst at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation where he leads the Office of the President and works closely with the President and CEO, Carl Schramm. In this capacity, Cushman directs the Foundation's efforts to educate policymakers about the importance of entrepreneurs as job creators.

    Prior to joining Kauffman, Cushman served in the U.S. Department of Commerce's Market Access and Compliance division of the International Trade Administration. At Commerce, Cushman led the effort that launched the website www.entrepreneurship.gov. Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, Cushman served in the Domestic Policy Council and the Office of Presidential Correspondence at The White House.