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. MCFx

    Myth 1: Obama hasn't been able to get anything done because of Congress.
    Truth: In 2008, Obama got control of the House & a Supermajority in the Senate. There were no roadblocks to getting jobs created.

    Myth 2: The Tea Party has opposed everything Obama has stood for.
    Truth: The Tea Party didn't exist in 2008. The movement began in 2010...about 1 yr ago...and the small percentage of Tea Partiers in the House should be able to be outmaneuvered by the Whiite House and a Democratic controlled senate.

    Myth 3: It's time to put aside bipartisanship and pass some legislation to get this economy rolling.
    Truth: In 2010, the Democrats fought amongst themselves as to what should be in the Healthcare bill. They fought the entire year!!! The passing of that bill (thru shady 'reconciliation") caused even MORE uncertainty in the market causing the economy to faulter even more. Where would our economy be if the Tea Party hadn't put a stop to MORE spending, more regulation, and higher taxes. Thank God for the "Do Nothing" Congress. Things could be worse!!!

    Myth 4: Americans have recently been discussed with Congress.
    Truth: The fact of the matter is that history will show that the Democratic held Congress beginning in 2006 started the housing market bubble that ruined our economy. Democrats have been in charge of the Senate THAT long folks. And their disapproval rating was in the TEENS back then as well but the liberal media wouldn't post it until Republicans regained control of the House (the least powerful part of Congress) in 2010. Democrats have no one to blame since they've been in charge all along!

    September 9, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert Schwamm

      MCFx: yours is the most intelligent posting on here thus far.

      September 9, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • obo

      Myths 1and 2...President Bush, candidates McCain and Obama stood together in the cry for bailout...the teaparty started taking roots....Rethugs took em over by 2010!
      Myth 3 Democrats fought between their selves because President Obama was caving in, bending over for the party of no...can you spell filibuster? Economics 101 teaches that the Only way to grow the economy is by advancing technology, or by spending...either by consumer or government. Government MUST get revenues....and that comes mostly from the workers. (some can afford accountants and lawyers to minimize their tax)
      Myth 4...Every recession or depression has happened under the Republican watch...and brought out by the Democrats. You guy's handed down a hell of a mess, blocked (filibuster and birther and "he's gonna take our guns" lies about this president...and then try to pin the blame on him. You are either stupid, crazy, or both! As you try to claim that God is on your side...look up Commandment #9. Ya just don't get it...it's like arguing with a rattle snake.

      September 9, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • MCFx

      obo,

      Filibuster??? A supermajority is FILIBUSTER PROOF! Can you spell "period". Dem's could've done what they wanted fromj 2008-2010.

      I'm a Conservative Democrat and a Hispanic Male...so the "you guys" comment doesn't apply. The recessions always follow Republicans because of a Boom economy under a republican administration. check the stock market under Bush even after 9/11.

      September 9, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bigwilliestyles

    Last three republican presidents and their administrations: Nixon, Halderman, Mitchell, Dean; all criminals. Reagan, Bush Sr. Ollie North and his ilk; criminals. Bush Jr, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Libby, etc; all criminals. H W Bush was not listed because he was not criminal enough, which is why he was allowed only one term before losing right wing support; that, and that Quayle thing.

    September 9, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • JB

      So you think because 'they'were pathetic, it's OK to continue that process now ? ? ? No improvement necessary (as promised)? What a downward spiral in mentality – – just juvenile playground blame and finger-pointing.

      September 9, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. PubliusNtx

    OK let's get real. Bush's spending binge did not work and the Obama Stimulus and Obama Care has not either–well they both have left us with $14.7 TRILLION in debt. Now Obama wants another $.5 TRILLION. This cannot be considered progress.

    September 9, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert Schwamm

      Don't forget that in a mere 2.5 years into his presidency, Obama has added $4 Trillion of debt, compared to the 8 years Bush had.

      September 9, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • obo

      Where in hell do you get your facts? Oh yeah, Beck's blackboard thing.

      September 9, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. obo

    Iran thanks you nut jobs too...for getting rid of the "evil dictator" that kept them in check. They put a big IOU into the Social Security funds and now don't want to pay it back. Make the middle class worker pick up that tab! Ya know, We have to pay for our vacations, yachts, Beemers, and Winabagos. What was it P.T. Barnum said?

    September 9, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Robert Schwamm

    I think that after hearing Obama's speech, the main takeaway from all of this is that the only job he wants to create is his own in 2012.

    September 9, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • obo

      You want smaller government by reducing it to the politicos...and fire anyone that actually works for their country...really?

      September 9, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jason

    I think as a country we showed the world we were not prejudice and voted in BO.........his "change" has not been what I expected. Too much pointing the finger and no leadership on his part. Time to show the world that we are not stupid and vote him out.

    September 9, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • obo

      Watch what you wish for....look at the alternatives....Damn!

      September 9, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kitty Carlyle

      The international community loves him. They don't like republicans.

      September 9, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Charles of Oregon

    It was an excellent speech masterfully delivered– Obama presented many ideas that both sides have agreed on in the past. His plan does seem balanced and his emphasis on fair taxation is much applauded, sea-to-shiny-sea!
    The current crop of GOPers in the Senate and the House of Representatives better wise up, there's much need for ACTION now! Our country cannot afford to wait 14 months until the next election, then begin to act on new legislation– keep in mind that Obama's plan has the support of both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO [& other unions & businesses]. We'll see if the Tea Party-GOPers are more pro-American than anti-Obama.

    September 9, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • JB

      NUTS – – just a speech to blame and arrange more gov't spending – – no plan involved – – just more travel & talk (his onnly expertise)

      September 9, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • siojan

      I agree wholeheartedly. Thank you for your post.

      September 9, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Heather

    I think Obama's plan is mostly to reward his union friends. Does anyone think for a moment that his infrastructure spending will not be for union only contracts? Obama has already signed an executive order to "encourage" all federal
    agencies to consider union only labor when awarding contracts!

    His plan also includes money to put teachers back to work. Any remember the teacher union? How more pro Democrat can they get? They are often the foot soldiers of the Democrats election campaigns.

    But I guess wee're supposed to think a $450 billion dollar spending plan, with a focus on union labor isn't political. Throwing billions of dollars to the unions, just in time for them to donate back to Obama and the Democrats!

    Let Obama and the democrats show us this is not true! Remove any "union labor only" wording from any of the spending plans and rescind the executive order encouraging union labor only!

    But I am guessing they will never do that! This plan is all about spending money and making sure it goes to friends of the Democrat party.

    September 9, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • obo

      Duh, okay Mr Coake...If not for the unions, we would all be working for peanuts or replace by cheaper foreign labor. It is not union labor that hurts us...all though, some of the union leaders could be reined in along with the almighty politicians on both parties.

      September 9, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • siojan

      Without unions there would be no 5 day work week, 8 hour days, vacation pay, lunch hours, regular breaks during the day etc. etc. – all benefits and conditions you no doubt enjoy at your job. Unions = a voice and protection for workers. I for one am grateful.

      September 9, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ron

    The fool Obama is de facto head of the biggest business in the world, and has never run a business. Plus, he's surrounded himself with monkeys and minions who themselves have never run a business.

    I ask you...IS THIS ANY WAY TO RUN A BUSINESS???!!!

    SHOW US THE NATIONAL CHECK BOOK???...HE CAN'T and WON"T!!!

    September 9, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tim

    Just more of the same ol' same ol'. Nothing new to see here.

    September 9, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bud l.

    Maybe some one has an answer. Is there any country in the world run by a black leader that is democratic and successful and not dependent on other countries to support them. It is not a racist question. Just wondering.

    September 9, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Matt

    I don't think anyone can pass judgement on the "plan" until we see the full picture. Until Obama outlines how he plans to pay for this plan it is really just a list of ideas. I see some good ideas on that list and some that don't encourage me. What both parties always agree on is small businesses are the backbone of our economy. As a small business owner what would help me add several jobs immediately is making it easier for small businesses to borrow. Why not take that $450 billion dollars and lend it to small businesses? Some may default but the vast majority would repay the loan with interest. Now we have created jobs and earned income for our nation. Short term tax cuts aren't going to motivate any business owner to hire unless they are already on the verge of hiring anyway and just need a little extra incentive. It's time to try a different approach.

    September 9, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angel

      Matt he said this was the beginning of recovery, we need to take it as it comes and see what we need, whats working what is not and fix it. We can fix it, we need to tweek it.

      September 9, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Angel

    $49 billion unemployment insur.
    $30 billion school
    $50 billion transpotation
    $240 billion Tax relief, payroll taxes and emplayer taxes
    mortgage financing help and low interest rates.

    September 9, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bigwilliestyles

    @ bud1: a racist question cleverly asked is still racist, as is the questioner.

    September 9, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bigwilliestyles

    Just sayin

    September 9, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
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