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. layminister herman

    Well tell you what you want to be pessimistic we wont get anywhere

    September 9, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Where is Our Lady?

      September 9, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Walrus Mustache

    Good to see Obama put his boxing gloves back on. The Republicans have really shown their true colors the last two years. Obstructionism and a very narrow agenda to defeat Obama in 2012 is the Republican mantra, even if it means destroying the middle class.

    September 9, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Patience is a virture?

      September 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dana

    The first stimulus did help a lot, but it ended too soon. The Republicans are hollering for "smaller government" to stimulate the economy, evidently forgetting that that philosophy resulted in the lack of regulations that allowed this fiasco to happen in the first place. Making companies treat people decently and not run roughshod over people, the environment, and morals in the process does not hamper job creation. Yes, I support this stimulus and I will be contacting my Republican representative frequently to tell him to vote for it. The Republicans' stated primary goal is to make Obama fail, evidently not expecting us to realize that we the people and the country have to fail to achieve that goal. So any objections they bring to this package are tainted with the knowledge that they don't have the good of the country in mind–they are out to deliberately sabotage us.

    September 9, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Thank you, you are a very eloquet writer. It will be a meager christmas, but will build character and be recession babies, instead of depression babies.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Me

    People need to stop blaming Obama for everything. He did not create this mess, the previous administration did. It will take years to correct this problem. Congress needs to put their egos and their hatred for Obama aside and do what they were elected to do. Obama cannot do anything without their concurrance to any of the bills that he has been presenting. If you are one of the americans fortunate to STILL have a job in this economy you are blessed, but there are those that are not that fortunate. If we do not come together and come together soon, it will get much worse. Congress should not be allowed to do anything else until they take care of business.

    September 9, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  5. John H

    Just more double talk as he has done before. Hope the american people are getting a little smarter now and not listening to it. Where does he think the average Joe is going to come up with the 450B he needs for this? It surely isn't going to come from his rich friends. I'm sure our reps aren't going to take a pay cut. They can't steal any more from SS because they have already got it in trouble. Please hurry 2012 so we can take our country back and clean house in DC

    September 9, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. Joaquin

    Americans are willing to make sacrifices and they need leaders who affirm their best qualities. Obama's speech touched that core decency that is in people. I do hope we as a nation can take up the challenge. We can't keep waiting for privileged (Republican) elected officials do do the right thing. They are on a one way ride to destroy what is best about our country in the rabid determination to have power.
    Its like the man who leaves his house every morning with plans do great things. There is a pile of dog excrement on his walkway which he steps on, curses it, then hurries off. The stench lingers with him and compromises his ability to do great things. Day after day he repeats the same scenario until finally he stops and shovels the pile of feces into a dumpster.
    Well- the moral is of course, its time to get rid of this pile of dog excrement that the Republican party has left on our path.

    September 9, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Dale Fellows

      Amen! Amen!

      September 9, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Liza

    As a middle class worker paying more taxes more than several corporations combined, I think Obama makes it clear in his speech he supports the middle class working American. It's time for the Republicans to get behind the working class and our president. If not, we will fail as a country. I am angry and frustrated with the GOP's behavior towards our president and the working class. The GOP has no plan other than taking care of the wealthy and themselves. Without the working middle class, what else does this country have to keep us going? We are the government. We pay for it. We work for you. Time to also work for us–the American people.

    September 9, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Walrus Mustache

      I agree 100%

      September 9, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. Blackman in America

    Once again my President is showing America he is fully engaged in DOING THE JOB he was elected to do. Once again, the repuks/KKKers/teabeaggers are showing America they are not interested in doing the JOB they were sent to Congress to do............how and why is that my Presidents fault? It's NOT, he still must do his JOB for all American's not just the ones who "like him". What should he do....................walk on water?

    September 9, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Lynn

      I'm glad you have faith in "Your" president maybe in 2012 the rest of us can get a president that will listen to to our concerns.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Walrus Mustache

    China is building high speed rail at an unheard of rate. What are we doing? Arguing and grandstanding! America should have the best transportation system in the world. It takes 3 days to get from SF to Chicago by train. Shameful.

    September 9, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dave

    Not surprisingly CNN left out the most-liked comment from that entire article: "Hire American workers. Manufacture in America. Only promote tax incentives for businesses who hire American workers and produce here. Time to start talking positively about this country and its people."

    Must have been too much truth for the media and conservatives to handle!

    September 9, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Walrus Mustache

      CNN is Fox News Light.....

      September 9, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Blackman in America

      Well stated and it is the truth. Sad America is not interested in the "truth" anymore..............busy working on more LIES to spread.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. layminister herman

    My my my what great ideas we have here to bad we cant put them in action

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

    More of the same...More of the same...More of the same...More of the same

    September 9, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. DH

    There is so many critical thoughts against our president. It's easy to cut him down, but what of the republican and Tea Party solutions? Where are they? Let us not forget how we got into this mess in the first place. Do we really want to go back to that mess? If you don't like the solutions offered up, how bout you get off your political duffs and do something about it? I don't care what party your with really, let's just do something! It may not have been a perfect plan, but it least it was a plan. Ask yourself this, are you one of the millionaires ore billionaires that don't pay their fair share of taxes, it's going to affect? I know I'm not! All this name pointing, or party wars have to stop! This is what is dragging our country down, it's own inability to act on anything. Meanwhile the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle class disappears.

    September 9, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. Walrus Mustache

    Yes it's too bad the tea baggers, religious right and uber rich are holding the country hostage unless they get their way.

    September 9, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jim

    The economy in the room is the 800 gorilla. Major idicators are, price of gas, and health care. Suggest president
    obama do to the giant oil companies, like Exon/mobil, what he did for GM. Take over, set the price of a gal of gas
    at less than $2 dollars til the oil comp learn how to manage profits to reasonable level. Put obama care on the
    shelf (rescind the law) until ecomony recovers, and while on the shelf work on problem areas like cost and
    legal concerns. Both would go a long ways toward reelection, and republicans problems would go away.
    Jim

    September 9, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
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