In a speech to a joint session of Congress, President Obama told lawmakers to "stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy" by quickly approving a $447 billion package of measures so he can sign it into law.
"The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities. The question tonight is whether we'll meet ours," Obama said to applause. "The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy. The question is whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning."
In detailing the plan, he noted that there was nothing controversial in the bill and that everything was paid for. He spoke specifically to the need to get the economy up and running, help those who are unemployed, and give incentives to businesses that hire the unemployed and groups that are chronically underemployed.
How did you feel about Obama's job plan? We took a look at widespread reader comments, iReport reactions and Twitter reactions to the speech to see whether Obama presented a plan you liked, that you felt would work, or if he disappointed you. More than 16,000 reader comments (as of this post) came flying in, along with numerous iReports and tweets.
Robert Hallman told iReport that as a teacher a substitute teacher in Fort Worth, Texas, he's going to be looking for jobs once he starts an alternative teaching program.
When the president spoke about his job plans, he specifically referenced jobs for military members and teachers, something Hallman was happy to hear.
"If there will be more teaching jobs, that would be good for me," he said. "I have friends in the military as well as some college friends who might benefit by increased job opportunities."
Hallman praised Obama's speech, especially in comparison to how he felt Obama handled the debt ceiling issue, and was hopeful that this speech and bill would change things around.
"During the Deficit Ceiling negotiations the President was a no show, a non participant. He just let the two parties bicker, fight, and whine just like a room full of Kindergartners. Tonight the President had a strong showing. He told the members of Congress that they NEED to work together because WE the the People demand nothing less," Hallman wrote. "Overall the President showed us something that we haven't seen in a long time. A politician with belief and conviction."
John W. Hargis Sr., a 54-year-old disabled veteran of the U.S. Navy, told iReport that he thinks another stimulus would not help, as the money from the last plan was "spent in all the wrong places."
That thought was echoed by many commenting on the CNN.com story who referenced "shovel-ready" projects in the first stimulus that either didn't make sense or got hung up because of red tape - red tape that Obama said he was getting rid of to help make sure building could begin as soon as possible where it is needed most.
Hargis said he felt that although there are absolute infrastructure needs that have to be addressed, as Obama suggested, none of it will matter "if checks are not placed on disbursements of funds."
As far as jobs go, Hargis was skeptical about Obama's suggestion that veterans would get a boost from the bill. He said that having the added concern of being a disabled veteran makes finding a job hard.
"My friends and family are middle class and below," he said. "As we disabled failed to receive cost of living increases in the last three years, the struggle to make ends meet has tripled. There are no jobs to be had, and as many of us drive older-model autos, we are always subject to maintenance issues and inspection compliance."
iReporter David P. Kronmiller of Burbank, California, said he was pleased with Obama’s jobs speech.
“I thought he was direct, passionate - a lot of the things I think his supporters were looking for," he said.
Kronmiller, 34, thought the jobs plan "had a lot of great points," including a training program and aid for veterans. The independent filmmaker added that he was "deeply disappointed" in Republicans and their behavior during the speech.
But many people commenting on CNN.com were wary of Obama's plan and wondered whether they were in the movie "Groundhog Day."
"Meh...I think we all know how this movie ends...," brooklynny95 wrote. "Temporary stimulus/subsidy begets temporary and artificial growth that dries up as soon as the stimulus/subsidy is gone. Then we're back where we started with more debt."
TforLIberty felt the same way.
"What's the definition of insanity? Trying the same thing over and over again but expecting different results," they wrote. "Everything Obama is trying to do was done in the 30's in the Great Depression. These policies were why a recession that normally lasts about 12 months, lasted 15 years. Let's end the Bush/Obama big govt boondoggle and restore a free market so people can get back to work."
Some people wrote in to defend even the first stimulus. reneN argued that without the first stimulus program, unemployment could have dropped even more. That alone, they said, was a sign things were working. They also cautioned those who say Obama should have been able to fix the economy faster, citing an example everyday Americans would be able to understand.
"Since it takes most of us 2-3 years to clean a garage or a basement, don't pretend that anyone could turn this economy around in 2 year," reneN wrote.
In the end, how you feel about the bill probably depends on whether you truly believe you stand to benefit from it.
And one commenter who was a small business owner saw some big benefits.
"As a small business owner I love the tax credit of 4k for hiring is a great Idea, and loosing up all the government regulations, along with ensuring American workers rights to earn a livable wage," LVAmerica wrote.
Even if people liked Obama's speech and thought the plan was what the country needed, many doubted whether anything would actually get done or if it would remain "politics as usual."
iReporter Mike McCullough, who recently dropped out of graduate school to get a job to support his family, uploaded a video in which he described Obama’s jobs speech as "uplifting."
The Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, resident also shared a message for Congress: "Maybe you should do your job. And if you lose your job, guess what? You're going to be like everybody else.
"Start working for us instead of for yourselves,” he added.
That echoed Obama's statement that Americans couldn't wait 14 years for the government to do something. He alluded to both the urgent need to act now and the idea that Republicans were not working with him merely so they could say he hadn't done anything to help the economy during the upcoming election.
The idea that Republicans are being passive and allowing the situation to worsen was also something readers seemed to connect with.
"The republicans will pay dearly in the next election. Congresses approval rating is at an all time low and a lot lower than Obama's," Garyd2 wrote. "All republicans need to be voted out of office, they are nothing but trouble makers, they do not want the USA to survive and be great again unless they are in office. It is always party first and screw the american worker, this is how it has always been and it will remain the same."
Shirley Pilote, 60, of Edison, New Jersey, who has been out of work for four years, was thrilled to hear Obama’s jobs plan last night - and it showed her why she supported him in 2008 and plans to again in 2012.
Pilote feels that Obama’s plan shows he’s listening to the American people: “I wrote a letter proposing that President Obama give small businesses a tax break...that's why I'm really excited that President Obama listens to what people say.”
“President Obama did something wonderful tonight,” she wrote in her iReport. “I feel he is taking the right course of action and I am very proud that I was one of the people to suggest this. There is light, and we see the light through the darkness now. Bring back the Dodge, the Ford, the Chevrolet and apple pie. This is what made our country great and gave Americans the dream.”
Here’s a sampling of some of the other comments about Obama’s speech:
"For the first time last night, Obama sounds like he has a pair and is willing to fight for what is right. About damn time! Maybe he finally got the message that he's not winning any points or respect with his voter base by bending over to the GOP. It's a step in the right direction."–bTcoy
"I'm very disappointed that the Republicans haven't learned to work with Obama. Republicans should listen carefully to the President, make certain they understand his plans in great detail, and do the exact opposite. American will be back on track almost immediately."–Mirus3
arizonanorm said, "If Obama really wanted to help the economy ... he'd resign."
maybrick said, "If GOP congressmen really wanted to help the economy they'd be willing to negotiate."
mamamayr said, "Republicans won't do a damn thing to help the people get back to work. ALL that they care about is keeping Pres Obama from getting re-elected, that's it! They will do nothing that he suggests. They wouldn't know a good idea if it slapped them upside their heads!"
Capitalism replied, "We do know a good idea and that is to get a new president elected in 2012. That alone will help bring jobs back and turn the economy around. Obama is the president of zero job growth and perpetual unemployment. Failed liberal entitlement policies do not work and never will!"
John201001 asked, "How is this stimulus different from the other stimulus packages?"
urangry replied, "It gives tax breaks and incentive to small businesses so they can hire the unemployed, next question?"
jeannotga said, "Okay, so the long-term unemployed and military veterans will take the place of competent and experienced people, raising the competence of the unemployed. I'm impressed."
Deacs replied, "So basically you think veterans don't have the knowledge and skills to perform civilian jobs? Seriously? I can't speak for the long term unemployed since that deals with local markets, but that's funny."
nobmanov12 said, "George Bush had TARP; Obama had Stimulus 1. They both did not work. So what does he come up with but Stimulus 2. It's not going to work; we have already tried this. We need new ideas and a new methodology."
Chooch0253 replied, "It did not work? Really? CNN.Money disagrees with you."
maybrick added, "Want to talk failed GOP policies? Let's try trickle down economics for size. That has NEVER worked."
Xantippe5 said, "This jobs bill is nothing more than the old tired liberal formula of wealth distribution, but, in reality, this will take wealth away from the private sector and distribute it to the politically well-connected, not to those who need it the most. Just like Obama's previous failed attempt to use your money to shore up the economy. Only the private sector can create wealth, and you liberals who regard big government as a force for good, instead of the force for evil that it is, should jettison your childish belief, alongside your belief in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny."
guestem replied, "How is repairing roads and bridges that are falling apart 'wealth redistribution?' This is a basic function of government, to build infrastructure. If you think railroads, roads, and ports aren't important, how do you plan to have your business deliver goods?"
ImInFlight said, "If Obama proposed eliminating the income tax, Republicans would be against it."
Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.
Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.
The only real jobs bill: H.R. 25 the Fair Tax Act of 2011
Congress has done everything they can to make the President look unworthy of the Job!
What about the People of our country, do they not count! When the President fail, the country fail. oh, how stupid of our leader are!
The republicans are retards. Everyday more and more of their voters are converting to dems. Its just a matter of time before they lose their seats. Its sad America's people have to suffer and play the waiting game because of senseless pride the gop arent willing to put to the side. And also the middle class republicans who support their stupidity are just as ignorant. Its like trying to bite the hand thats feeding you. In my opinion if your household isnt making at least a combined 150,000 you should be a democrat. No ifs, ands, or buts about it
I actually think that, whilst Proverbs 31 is a picture of the ideal wife, I think it is a prophetic picture of how the church should be, the husband being Christ of course.
I didn't mean Jesus Christ was bad I meant RWR was not so hot as history reivsionists would have us all believe or as Christ-like as you Heritagers pretend he was when you compare him to other presidents. So, if Obama drops as low as Reagan did for RWR's first three years, I will keep my word and put him in Reagan's category .So, today's Heritage news is that Obama's unemployment is up..but not as far up as Reagan's got to after a year in office 10.4% in January of 1982!!! It took RWR 3 years to get unemployment down to what, 9.4% & 2 1/2 years to get it below 10.1% (July 1983).Whatever happened to that "balanced budget" Reagan promised he'd get us within three years after he was elected with his "supply side", "trickle down" & "borrow and spend" policies? Let's see! How many huge budget deficits did RWR have? I think it was 8!Man, y'all set awful low standards for Republicans; and you demand so much from those bad old Dems! Children, please!!!Why don't we hold Obama to Reagan's first three year standard? If he has as poor a record (unemployment, debt to GDP ratio, etc.) as Reagan had in his first three years; even his first 4 years, lets get all upset and re-elect him in his fourth year like we did RWR!!! After all, unemployment wasn't but 7.5% under Reagan in 1984.
denise, the thing you have to remember about ALL polls, is that citaren assumptions are made. Some are quite reasonable, counting a citaren percentage for men and a citaren amount for women, and the same for differen traces, geographic regions, and so on. But the Obama Love Fest in the media is circular logic. He gets more press, so he must have more support, so the polls are weighted to show far more democrats than are actually out there. I'm not talking about the historic advantage of democrats to republicans 38 or 39 percent of the voters to the GOP's 35 or 36 percent. I mean polls which weigh as much as 45% democrats to 25% republicans. I will agree that turnout is critical, and if the republicans give up and sit at home, the democrats MAY get their 40-45% of the voters in which case the media-driven polls become self-fulfilling prophecies. But if republicans stay charged, then at the worst they can match almost all of the democrats' votes, and it comes down to a group that the polls have been strangely quiet about.The independents.Did you wonder why McCain took the tone he did in the first debate, Mister Reasonable and not on the attck, even when it looked like he had an easy line to Obama's weak spots? Obama was speaking like a democrat, McCain aimed for the indies.Why have the polls not shown his results? Two reasons. First, polls have crunched hard on indies, because about ONE-THIRD of them have still not made up their mind (from internals at Gallup, CBS, and Fox polls), and so they are down-weighted, as little as 10% of the voters in some cases. And two, most of them are still making up their minds, and the debate laid seeds. It's not an overnight thing.I tell you plainly, McCain is winning right now, when you take the polls, use their internals to back-step the weighting and re-weight with historical norms.We.Are.Winning.Ever wonder why Obama is nastier than ever? Why did they try such an obvious dirty trick with getting Ifil as the moderator for the VP debate? He's losing and he knows it.All Obama can do is bluff, but we have to be careful and not buy the hype.
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