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. Ralph Miller

    Obama's speech was all generalities. Nothing specific! He did not present a plan at all. Except for cheerleading, it was all a waste of time. He still left it up to the Congress. He might as well have said, "Congress, you go come up with a plan." He did not say how it would be paid for, just that it would be. Just spend another half trillion dollars and do some good fast. Let the kids and grand kids repay it and the interest on it. Keep interest rates low so nobody earns anything on their money!

    September 9, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • obama's mama

      I dont care about rich or poor. I wish obama would not chit on people with money or businesses. I need people and or companies with money to hire me and other people that need a job. Please try to use your vote to put a person in office that understands what it means to work.

      September 28, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Age

    I'm amazed at how many people cannot take a look at the reality of what has occurred and recognize that in order for the economy to get rolling again, funds need to be circulated and goods purchased. So how is this accomplished? We must keep the middle class strong. It is what made us strong in the first place. The poor are taken care of via social programs which I am an advocate for reform on particularly when there are able individuals that successfully make a life out of taking advantage of these "support" programs.

    Take a look at the middle class whether upper, middle, or lower middle class and one theme holds true and that is that the majority spend most of their checks which means more money circulating. How do tax breaks for the rich help when the money does not circulate? The rich benefit from the middle class purchases because they generally hold a stake in the companies of which the middle class purchases from. Therefore, they will see the benefit however on the back end and not in the form of taxes. The rich do not lose.

    Granted, I do not know anyone that wants less money so I can't be mad at the efforts of people who have benefited from the tax cuts to fight for that continuation. Bottom line is that a weak middle class puts us significantly closer to a third world country. A strong middle class means a strong economy.

    September 9, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Darwin

    Before I begin, I would just like to clarify that I’m NOT an Obama supporter, however I was impressed with him for the first time last night. That also doesn’t mean he’s earned my vote yet either. He can’t just do nothing his whole term and hope to get re-elected with a big finish. My job plan was for Government to tell big companies that if they want to run a business in the US a certain % of their employees must be Americans. Obama basically did that (without making it mandatory) by giving companies more of an incentive (in the form of tax breaks) to hire Americans. Those Americans in turn pay taxes and buy goods which grows our economy. So basically it gets people working again without hurting the job creators in this country. This plan should work (if it gets passed at all) if these big companies are willing to play ball. If not, that's not Obama’s fault, it rests in the hands of the job creators now.

    September 9, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bernard Brennan

    Great speech Mr. President. It should now be very clear who supports the middle and working class of this country and who are paid off by big corporations and lower taxes for the wealthy. Bring on the election. You will win because you care.

    September 9, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Saved1

    I really think both parties are out of touch with the cross section of America. The interests of the common people have been lost or trivialized in the face of avarice and Social Darwinism. The rich folk control most of the wealth and also the means of production, including the psychological operations represented by continuous media induced inculcations of Limbaugh, Hannity and O'Reily.

    With all of that brainwashing going on, is it any wonder that so many middle and lower classed Americans continue to vote against their own interests? Still, even those who vote correctly have, to some degree, been betrayed. Top Democrats have shown little resistance to the outrageous demands fostered by the Republicans. That included Obama!

    But just what can Obama do to create jobs? I say he must find ways to put money into the hands of Americans who will spend it. I don't mean a few measly stimulus dollars, I am talking about real money like that a job would provide. What will cause small businesses to start hiring again? There is only one answer: DEMAND!

    September 10, 2011 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. Saved1

    President Obama spoke of tax cuts and tax based incentives to encourage small businesses to hire. Has he not learned
    anything about economics? Businesses survive by the presence of paying customers and no amount of tax incentives are going to encourage hiring when no revenue is coming in. I wanted the President to say that! I wanted him to tell it like it is/
    Put the blame where it belongs: On the Republicans and the moderate Democrats that support them.

    September 10, 2011 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
  7. Gary Moxley

    Congressional Reform Act of 2011

    1. No Tenure / No Pension.
    A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay
    when they are out of office.
    2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
    All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social
    Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social
    Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.
    It may not be used for any other purpose.

    3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
    4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional
    pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

    5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in
    the same health care system as the American people.

    6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

    7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12.
    The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen.
    Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in
    Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned
    citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home
    and back to work.

    If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people, it will only take
    three days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive the message. Maybe
    it is time.

    THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!!

    September 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Pert ner Suppertime

    First thing that needs to be done. Gather information on what wage earners spend the most money. Target those people through an economic stimulus through the banks drastically lowering their Mortgage payments. Puting more money into the pockets of those that spend the most money should help things improve.

    September 10, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Fred washington

    Fred
    Let's get rid of the trillons and the billons and look at this thing realistically. Now our President has presented a proposal to the Senators and Representatives of the American people of give the American people five dollars to creat jobs, prevent lay-off, rebuild our schools and bridges, educate our children, stay in our homes,take care of our mothers and fathers in their time of need so they will not be a burden to society or us when they are not able to work when they paid into a system for forty or more years and it will not cost you a dime and people are talking about a one hundred and fifty dollar debt. As a Congressman or Congresswoman I would not let the ink dry on this legistration before I sign it.I personally don't see it but if this President accomplish anything with five dollars that helps the American people, He truly,truly is the Greatest American of all times.
    Really, $150.00 debt. That's like the $10.00 to $1.00 deal. Now who is really insane!

    September 10, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Nativegrl77

    It's the Republicans Stupid ...facts cannot be hidden .. Republicans ran their 2010 on JOBs JObs jobs and almost a year later no JOBs bills have been introduced in the Republican led House of Representatives ...they don't care about jobs or the Middle Class. It is obvious that any positive legislation for job creation would give major points even a possible 2nd Term to President Obama. So, Teapublicans filibuster,block,attach nasty amendments no one could vote for or force a scale down ... Teapublicans are willing to go that far... is that what our Democracy is about now?

    September 10, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. WOT

    Wal-Mart has killed all of main street business, wake up people! As for jobs, when large companies send work to 3rd world countries, that we need here in the USA; what does that make us other than FOOLS! Keep sending jobs to other countries, soon we will be a 4th world country ourselves!

    September 10, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bill

    A lot of substantial, good ideas but the stonewalling Teavangelicals who want us all back in hardscrabble Little House on the Prairie lifestyle will likely dismiss all of what the President put forth out of pure dislike for him. Hate to say it but in the rural areas herebouts' one still hears the "N" word bantered about when the President is under discussion and I suspect that this incredible, senseless, blind opposition to ANYTHING the President does or says may be part of that. At the recent GOP "debate" one of the participants started to approach the truth when he called for all of them to keep in mind that job # 1 should be to get Obama out of office....a very telling comment.

    September 11, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • beelzebubba

      I agree with your feelins about Teavangelicals. The two worst presidents of the past 100 years: Carter and Dubbya were elected because they claimed that 'go was their co-pilot'. The last thing we need is another right-wing Texass for president like Dubbya, whose supporters give him a free pass for all his decisions because he is a doofus with a 'good heart'. However, I DO want to see Obama kicked out of office. He is as incompetent as Dubbya was. Unfortunately, no candidates look very good. We'll have to elect the 'least worst' candidate once again.

      September 12, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. Orchidlover

    To be fair obama inherited this mess from more than 1 ex administration ! Secondly hes told what 2 do (for the ppl by the ppl) alot of ppl need fired from jobs they have held 2 long and are 2 dam old 2 be allowed 2 keep ... Think rich and powerful
    Now add 2 + 2
    Wow.

    September 11, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. beelzebubba

    Goofy summed up what Obama's most loyal supporters believe is the chief role of government when he sang: "Oh, the world owes me a living..."

    September 12, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  15. Gregory Briones jr.

    Obama the faster we get him out of office the better we will be here we are 3 plus years later and now that jurk is now talking about jobs his he for real if the American people are smart they will get him out of office ........

    October 4, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
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