Your Take: Obama's job plan was 'more of the same' or 'light' of hope
President Obama told lawmakers that they should quickly pass his plan, the American Jobs Act.
September 9th, 2011
11:08 AM ET

Your Take: Obama's job plan was 'more of the same' or 'light' of hope

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.

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Filed under: Auto Industry • Barack Obama • Congress • Democratic Party • Economy • Finance • Jobs • Military • Politics • Republican Party • Taxes
soundoff (316 Responses)
  1. Scottish Mama

    The government spent much more on the bailout of banks. They need to invest in the people. I think the President must keep trying. We know the wealthy and well to do not pay their fair share. The tax breaks that were given to the wealthy did not trickle down again.(republicans it won't work) They withheld the money it is fact, they are waiting for republicans to get back in office.
    I would rather put the money in small busness' than large corporations. I think the middle class drives this country and renewable energy is a new must. It will also create jobs for the nuclear on the way out.
    Veterans,(thank you for your service)they need help, the hospital they go to are gross and need to be revamped.
    Teachers need to go back and the unions need to provide proof that new techniques and qualified teachers are teaching our children.
    everyone needs to get on board the Ameican express and start producing new products and buying Made in America by American companies. (although I have heard China is moving some companies here.(No tax breaks for YOU) only american companies.

    September 9, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • david

      Same ole, same ole. Perhaps his new slogan should be "NO WE CAN'T". He makes G. Bush look good.

      September 9, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      He cannot if he has no support. His health care bill has not even kicked in yet. Lets see what it soes cannot be any worse than the deregulation of Insuance companies.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Steve

    The true speech that Obama should have given last night was. "I have failed as President of the United States. My policies have been destructive to the economy and millions of American Citizens have been hurt by my decisions. Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow."

    September 9, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • 9corona

      Nay, Nay – better to stick with the devil we know than to have Biden as President....I have lost all hope with this administration and am O.K. waiting until Jan 2013 to ship them out.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • HistoryWins

      What does the jobs bill have to do with the delivery man being barrack obama or Perry or Bachman? Why doesnt everyone read about economics of running a country and then evaluate bills and proposals? I don't like to call anyone anything, but are most people stupid? What will change when the administration changes? Stop talking and take in scenery. This is not time for stupid.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Margarita

    Obama needs to realize that we are smarter than he thinks. We see all the words with no actions. I regret voting for him.

    September 9, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      You hear his words without support.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • HistoryWins

      Obama is a misfit. He is an ANOMALY in this political scene and the american people will correct that soon. The problem people of the 'most powerful nation in the world" is that they are not smart enough to analyze issues objectively. Margarita, if you were smart, Obama would have some company. He misses that 🙂

      September 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Yeah honesty is rare in politics.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ken

    WHAT OBAMA SHOULD HAVE SAID:  Several Republicans have stated that their #1 goal is to see that I am not reelected to a 2nd term and my #1 goal is to improve the American economy, so I am offering a deal to help us achieve both our goals:  If Congress approves all of my bills (jobs, medicare, etc.) I will not run for reelection in 2012."  Obama could then challenge future presidents and Congress to only serve one term so that all their time in office is spent serving Americans with no time spent on reelection and fundraising. 
     

    September 9, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  5. aaron

    14 trillion dollar debt,,,9.1% unemploymernt. hint...MORE OF THE SAME is stupid!! This president is as clueless as the one before him. We need a Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan who understands that complexity of issues.

    September 9, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Zonadoc

      Aaron, good comment. Obama's resignation would be a great first start. I have several liberal friends who are highly educated, but boy when it comes to politics, common sense just blows out their ears and stupid takes over. In reference to General Russel L. Honoré about being "Stuck on Stupid" Liberals are stuck on stupid and in today’s political morass, stupid is Obama.

      September 9, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Zonadoc

      BTW: No one seems to notice that the Senate sneeeked or added another 500 billion to the national debt yesterday. Debt limit now 15.2 trillion dollars. Now you know how Obama plans to pay for this fiasco of a bill.

      September 9, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. layminister herman

    If he does as he says we will be working looked like republicans was cheering also

    September 9, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Is this a friend by another name?

      September 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. UnionsAreBad

    Did anyone notice that this bill would benefit UNION jobs? Construction, road work, teachers....all UNIONS. So basically he wants to give another 450 billion dollars to the UNIONS. What about the rest of us?

    September 9, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      He said this is the beginning and we cannot stop there, in 14 months we need to keep at it. this is to get the economy moving. He sited some of the money will go to small businesses to hire and give them tax breaks. Also training in other jobs and if you hire the people out of work for more than6 months you get more tax breaks. Listen to the whole speech not just a select few sentences. I know it is hard to remember, I wrote down key things that will help America. The republicans agreed that the 1st stimulus was small and not enough. At least it is not going to banks.

      September 9, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. Quan

    President was right on with this speech. Congress needs to think beyond themselves to include the general population. I do understand that Medicare needs an overhauling and I trust the President will not allow cuts that will affect people like me. I'm planning on retiring within a year or two and do not agree with upping the age for retirement. I'm tired and have too many health issues to be forced to work any longer. I started working at 15 years old and at 65 I think I've earned my right to receive social security and medicare so don't want that taken away from me. But the conservative base of the Republican party needs to educate themselves and do what's right for this country. The progressive
    liberal base of the Democratic party also needs to stand up and do what's right for this country also and they need to be more trusting and supportive of the President.

    September 9, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Right on, both the parties need to get their heads out and support the American way and people. Country first.

      September 9, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. Bill

    It looks like you would like the USA to be more like China...We spend alot of money on schools and it has done nothing.We have no money and if you want to take more money for what?So that we can be more like China right!

    September 9, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Unions need to be revamped and teachers need to be really great teachers in every school.

      September 9, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  10. jkw

    Unfortunately, the macro-economics of the stimulus are too complicated for basic Americans to understand. Without the stimulus, the U.S. and Global economy would have gone through a catastrophic depression; the fact that we still went through a deep recession shows the magnitude of the 2008 collapse. The backlash towards Obama and the stimulus confirms the notion that preventative policies are rewarded far less than policies that provide immediate, short term benefits. Americans need to realize that this economic crisis exists on a GLOBAL LEVEL and cannot be fixed within the scope of 6-8 months.

    September 9, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  11. layminister herman

    Good morning moma heard from banasy

    September 9, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      No, I am on a crusade this morning to rally our nation. It does not matter who is in the white house we have to let them know, we are the boss. We givieth, and if you don't produce the middle class satisfaction, your outta there.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Have you?

      September 9, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Preston Holod

    President Obama has some very good ideas. But the Republican led Congress will be impossible to deal with once again. Unless there is a larger tax on the "rich", I see a dim future for the USA.

    September 9, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      We write we call, we tell them what we want. We want to work and make great products. People with ideas this is your chance.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. susan

    It is time the republicans and the tea partists give up the agenda of fighting Obama on every proposal he makes. The agenda for Washington should be to do what is best for the citizens of the US. Mr. Obama is trying to do that, but from the outset, the republican agenda has been to make him a one term president. The disregard they have for him is blatant and appalling.
    The President's jobs speech last night was strong, to the point and gives focus to what is wrong with this country and how to improve it. Helping small businesses with tax breaks will add jobs to the economy, focusing on infra structure will add jobs to the economy, renewable energy will add jobs, improving education will add jobs. All his proposals will add jobs.
    Help is needed for the veterans (we applaud you) when they return...they need jobs.
    Keeping businesses in America will add jobs.
    Tax breaks to the extremely wealthy does not work. The middle class can not keep paying for everything.
    Republicans and Tea Partists, cut the nonsense and political circus and work together with the democrats and the President. Stop thinking about how to get in the White House and think about what is best for us.

    September 9, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      If you do the will of the people you stay in, you let lobbyist guide you your out. Nice thoughts Susan, good morning.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Shagan

    More retoric. More spending, More borrowing. He's doing nothing more than doing a political dance. I have no faith or trust in this man and am deeply sorrowed that I voted for him. I believe a ditch digger could have done a far better job. I believe the next president should not be a Republican or Democrat. I think it's time for an independent, and we need to flush the garbage from Congress as well. There are far to many career politicians living there now. Fire them all and start fresh. A max of 40% of them can be lawyers, the rest should have business degrees and have had to work in the industry for at least 5 years. Term limits and a mandate to shrink government by 50% in the next 4 years. The feds need to be put back in their place. Let's start now!

    September 9, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Yes, you are right. But we also pay pensions and that would put us farther in the hole. Don't be depressed, get energized, Shaggy. smiley face

      September 9, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Larry

    To get the jobs back in the US is simple. Give tax breaks to all companies that have plants in the US and tax all companies that have plants outside this country. Also people need to put the Unions back in place. They are no different that big business anymore. They take money from the poor to fill there pockets. The unions need to go back to what they were made for to make sure we are nolonger in sweat shops and have fair and I mean not over priced but fair working conditions.

    September 9, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Revamp not take away rights.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
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