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. ImJustSaying

    Accounting 101. Don't spend money that you don't have. Where is this additional $450B going to come from? More borrowing? Who in their right mind runs their household or business that way? That is not the way the Gov't should run either. Washington needs to do the same thing we do at home when money is tight....stop spending.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • HistoryWins

      Please don't prove that Americans are Stupid. The president doesnt run a household. Running a country is slightly different would you agree? It's the day of internet! Request to all those who post comments on partisan basis – READ UP about what kicks off and economy as ours has become. Read about what options the government has. We are rolling towards a depression. We should all be trying to apply brakes. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR IGNORANCE.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Country Above Parties

      Try applying your accounting 101 to your mortgage for your house, starting a small businesses. You have to borrow to get to a next level. We are talking about "responsible" borrowing balanced with common-sense tax increase and spending cuts.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • ImJustSaying

      OK. I agree with the point about borrowing to start a business. But, tell me this...when you borrow to start your business, or to grow an existing business, dont you also put in place a timeline and method of repayment? And no, I dont see running the Gov't to be all that different. You dont spend money that you dont have, and dont intend on repaying. What is the adminstrations plan to pay it back the $350B that it spends? Its got to come from somewhere; Increased taxes, perhaps decreased future spending??? Oh, I know. Have Bernake print some more....

      September 9, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JR

    I am trying to be fair here. But he says that it must be done "right now". Then why did this plan have to wait for him to go on vacation. There is nothing in it that is new. He is politically posturing as much as anyone else . Also this business of passing things now and then I will tell you the details of how it will be paid for later has got to stop.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      No he gave this to them in Jan or before they refued to view it or vote on it. He cannot do this alone and small businesses are getting tax breaks whith hiring.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • jo an

      Such sour words...of course he needed a vacation....I had one....

      September 9, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Congress was on theirs, probably a good time to go on one.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BP101

    Basically, $140B to union construction jobs and $35B to teachers / government workers – so 39% of his plan is to benefit unions. When is the President going to start representing all Americans, not just unions.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Walrus Mustache

      When are the wealthiest of Americans going to pay more in taxes to support social programs that benifit all Americans?

      September 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Walrus Mustache

    I want that $2.00/gallon gas that Bachmann promised. My Hummer really burns the fuel!

    September 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. joy52

    Cutting payroll taxes will increase income, so at taxtime, you get to pay more income taxes, which is the goal of the Democrats.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Walrus Mustache

    Michele Bachmann needs to go eat another corn dog. She also needs to get one to go for her crazy,closeted,gay hater husband.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Trina

    I dare say that any of the folks who hold the office could even attempt to survive on unemployment benefits! They should try it sometime...maybe the shoe being on the other foot would make a difference. Until they get to experience what real working people experience, nothing will change. And as far as cutting the medicare for our elderly, they better think twice! We're talking about the generation that paid their taxes which in turn paid these elected politicians salaries for years upon years upon years! Need a reality check and stop living "high on the hog" with taxpayer money!

    September 9, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      He said we need sacrifices, wealthiest should be on the block 1st, fair share. When a wealthy person pays less than a secretary in taxes, we start with the wealthy.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Teri Paulus

    Drill for oil while we are developing alternative energy. Lots of potential jobs in that.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Walrus Mustache

    Stop sending rich people to Congress.

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

      The middle class cannot afford a seat.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. harold fishman

    Speeches do not make policy- The devil is in the details and for now while Obama is promising relief to certain categories of people/industries (teachers, construction, etc), we don't know how the added hundreds of billions will be paid for. Remember with Obama's history, his past stimulus packages have not been successful (remember how with stimulus #1 the money was going to go to shovel ready jobs? well it turns out there weren't such jobs ready. Also the states used the money to keep public employees afloat for a year and then when the money ran out they had to lay off people). Its always doom and gloom will occur if Obama's "ideas" aren't enacted. Rheteric will not solve our problems

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

      It kept us out of a depression, it was not large enough. At least he is investing in the small business'.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Walrus Mustache

    Stop sending attorneys to Washington

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

    There were a couple of good ideas, but for the most part this speech basically said "Let's keep doing the same things we've tried before that didn't work and hope real hard this it will turn out differently this time.". The White House estimates this will cost 480 Billion dollars. The infrastructure bank is good in theory, but I doubt it will get anyone that didn't already want to invest to do so. A tax credit for veteran's is a good idea to address the the problem of veteran unemployment, but it won't stimulate anyone to hire someone if they weren't already planning to. A payroll tax cut for individuals does nothing – it only affects people who already have jobs. It was a great speech – but a lousy package of programs.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. James

    How about we switch from a republic to a true democracy. We are technologically ready for it. And if we rid ourselves of the dead weight we call CONgress and the House of Reprehensibiles, their lifetime pensions and benefits, and all of their staffs, that would really save a bundle AND solve all of our bipartisan problems.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dk

    Sadly, the party of NO will continue to oppose anything the current administration will try to do to improve the economy just to insure that he will be defeated in the coming election. The republican party does not care about the poor and middle class, they never have. If that wasn't made crystal clear during the debt debate I don't know what was. The previous administration gave tax cuts for the rich and the current republicans fought tooth and nail to save them from expiring. The republicans got us into this mess and they are going to continue to sabotage any attempt at improving the economy just so they can re-gain control of the White House. It is such childish behavior.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      If they make us suffer, dem or repub, in 14 months they will be gone.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • tm

      I AGREE 100% Obama was VOTED into the Presidency by the American PEOPLE.... and the Tea Party/Republicans are JUST fighting to FIGHT ANYTHING he might TRY to do to FIX the MESS the Republicans PUT US IN!! THAT is why WE voted HIM into office....... LET HIM DO WHAT HE WANTS and IF you don't like it ........ THEN vote him out in 2012... BUT our country is going downhill FAST while you arrogant politicians play your stupid childish games at OUR EXPENSE!! I must admit...it is some Americans fault for voting those game players into Congress (thinking that would make a "balance"...) YET ... SEE what it has done??? Instead of "balanced" ideas....we get STALEMATE games!!! I'm soooo tired of this CONGRESS' political GAMES... I need a job! I need a job that will pay enough to LIVE ON! My kids need jobs! IF Congress doesn't pass this ... I will -along with MILLIONS of others- end up on WELFARE for the first time in our lives....... I DON'T WANT THAT...... I WANT TO WORK...and I want to work to be able to PAY my BILLS to survive!! I am contacting EVERYONE of my Congressional reps to DEMAND they pass this bill ASAP... AND let them know, if they want something DIFFERENT....wait until the NEXT election and show it THERE......... NOT NOW!!!!!! EVERYONE NEEDS to do the same!!! Don't sit back and let them PLAY with our lives ANYMORE!!

      September 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. patriot1942

    Nice "pep rally" in the capitol building last night! Now let's see some actions and results!!!

    September 9, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
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