One quick side note from tonight's State of the Union address: If you find yourself in a profession where people applaud you all the time, it's a sure sign that you're getting screwed. Teachers and soldiers, I'm talking to you.
Don't get me wrong: as a former educator, I fully respect the work that teachers do in classrooms around the country. But the fact is, teachers are dramatically underpaid--and that one sure way to improve America's educational system is to dramatically increase teachers' salaries. (The best way, of course, is to break the government monopoly on education--a measure which would coincidentally result in higher pay for quality educators.) Instead of larger paychecks, there is a rush to congratulate teachers on the huge sacrifice they make on behalf of the community.
Doctors, computer scientists, accountants, businessmen--the list could go on and on--all do valuable things for society too, but we don't feel the need to applaud them because they are compensated monetarily. Less clapping, bigger paychecks. I look forward to the day that teachers don't garner extra applause because people would think: "Yeah it's a tough job, but they are compensated for it."