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. carol

    obama's plans wouldn't be failing if the republican congress would stop blocking every thing obama has tried to get passed. are the american people really so blind that they cannot see, republicans have been determined from day 1 to ensure that democrats do not take the white house in 2012, they have been totally unwilling to consider the american public and still only want to represent their private interests. please people wake up... if the republicans get theie way, we can all count on becoming "lower income earners'.....the middle class will be destroyed by the republican party

    September 9, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • PJS

      The CEO's of most of the richest companies in the world are Dems so what are they doing to create jobs?

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

      14 months dem or repub.get with the program or else.
      republicans own just as many, I have only heard of dems wanting to let go of their loot.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      OH PLEASE !!!

      FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU ...
      FOOL ME TWICE, SHAME ON ME !!!

      Carol ... you're not only a fool ... you're the kind of fool
      who can be fooled over, and over, and over again !!!

      September 9, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve

      carol stop drinking the kool-aid...who had control of both houses for over 40 years and still we are in this mess...u dem's voted for all these plans and look where we are today...u worthless party has ruined america..u people need to wake up we dont want to be socialist we want to be FREE

      September 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      @Howard-So you are going to vote republican again? So at least you can say what your leader could not.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Busness in Texas

      I'm a small business owner, Carol. Thanks for your post. Ignore the naysayers. They will Always say 'nay'. They actually WANT Obama to fail, so they can say, "See I told you so." I love American and I support the American Jobs Act. My business employs over 50 full timers now and I'll be hiring more soon.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Busness in Texas

      @Scottish Mama – don't waste your breath on those who didn't listen to a word the president said last night. I suspect they are the same old trolls that infest message boards to spew hate and misinformation.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leslie

      Everyone needs to go back and listen to the speech again. No one is saying spend more money for this jobs bill. The bill is estimated to cost $450 billion dollars. The bill just signed into law in July cuts spending by 1 Trillion. They are tasked with cutting another 1.5 Trillion by December. To pay for this Jobs Bill, Pres. Obama is asking congress to find cuts for another $450 billion. You'll find this information in the speech at the point where Pres. Obama says, "Here is how we will pay for the Jobs Bill." In addition, everyone knows you can't get something for nothing. Cutting wasteful spending does help to reduce the national debt, which Pres. Obama acnowledged. However, it does nothing for helping the unemployed to get jobs or honest hard working Americans who are struggling to pay their bills, make ends meet. If you don't help everyday people improve there financial position, they won't be able to poor back into the economy and we will continue on this downward spiral. Only keep tax breaks for big and small business if they create jobs or increase the pay of those already employeed. Tax breaks should be a reward not a right. These are all very common sense ideas. What stops republicans from supporting this is not that they believe it won't work. Part of the reason is their belief that what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine. But the even greater barrier to Republicans working together to get this bill passed is PRIDE!!! The kind of pride that says even if you are right, we still won't support it because it wasn't us who thought of it.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Fed61

    Same old story – print yet more money and give it away to friends so they can "help the economy". For every dollar spent the general public will be lucky to see 10 cents of it. The remainder goes to the friends of Obama.
    Why do we want to put social security more in the hole further if there is a problem now – it makes no sense whatsoever. Why do we want to extend unemployment insurance – believe it or not there are more than anecdotal statistics out there to prove that people find a job soon after running out of benefits. This is insanity. I hope the Republicans give this the same amount of courtesy that Obama extended them in cramming his health care plan down our throats – not invited to the party.
    I did vote for him – I learned a lesson. NEVER again.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      PASS MY HALF A TRILLION DOLLAR JOBS PLAN NOW !!!
      AND NEXT WEEK I'LL TELL YOU HOW WE'RE GOING TO PAY FOR IT ...
      And, if you pass it, you can find out what's in it ... sound faniliar ???
      After all ... you suckers fell for it last time.

      AND, if you don't pass it now, you're against America ... last year, if you
      diagreed with me, you would have been Racist ... but this year, if you disagree
      with me, you're against America !!!

      It's time to kick this lying snake, and all his corrupt henchmen out of the White House,
      before they destroys America beyond repair ... if they haven't already.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      No printing, cutting and taxing, the old fashion way. The first stimulus worked just was not big enough and not tailored to the american middle class. It was given to the states governments and not to businesses. And th erepublicans refused it for their states.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liza

      That was funny.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      @howard- I thought it was $350 billion, then it was $450 billion, and now you say a half a trillion. They do not have anything in the bill yet. Inflation?

      September 9, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Send my neighbors taxes to me

    Ok. So he wants to give americans money taxed from americans. ON a personal level it is even more like my neighbors taxes going to me. Sounds good to me, not to my neighbor. My dad always told me, governments don't have money they didn't take through taxes. His mother said ( was a legal immigrant too) Don't spend what you don't have. Imjustsaying got it right. Accounting 101. When will Americans wake up and take responsibility for the freedom our solders fought for and not expect the other guy to take care of them.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • justathought

      So the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is all about our freedom, eh? Had no business in either of those except for Bush's vendetta (sp?) and that is quite the shame as nobody talks how much money has gone down the toilet on that ...more morally distasteful is the fact that so many innocent fellow Americans lost their lives behind one person's arrogance and bias.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. PJS

    How does giving small business a 4k tax break create a job that there is no demand for and how would a 4k tax break create a job that cost the business 50k? This is just a phony tax break that will just be collected at years end. Why was Jeff Immelt at the speech? He just signed a deal with China to create jobs there so what words of wisdom is he giving the president. Both sides of the aisle right now are completely out of touch with how things should be run. We need to start running the gov't like a business to get us out of this mess.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. 2012 GOP

    The GOP are cunning and devious. They obstruct everything intentionally causing huge Congressional disapproval ratings and then campaign on an anti government platform. Diabolically brilliant.

    The GOP and their rich donors and corporations are going to destroy all jobs when they get in the White House. Your taxes will go up and so will inflation. Then they will invade Iran. Just you wait and see. You will be the ones crying then.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve

      and who runs the largest co's...democrats...so how are u creating any jobs while the rep congress in stonewalling obama? u guys had control of both houses for over 40 years and u still didnt get anything done...i hope they raise your taxes even higher oh wait u are probably one of the umemployed that i pay for...get a life

      September 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      And then they will blame Obama

      September 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jonathan

    Any plan has to integrate revenues, expenditures, and initiatives that create and maintain jobs. President Obama mentioned all three last night. Any discourse has to address those three points. It's pointless to say "he's spending money he doesn't have". Its better to say "we have to reform the tax code to pay for these things". Or even offer a different idea on the revenue side. Folks have to discuss this issue with a great deal more intelligence. One major issue in our political system today...discourse panders to the lowest common denominator. Of course, our politicians pander to the lowest common denominator. We have to be a bit smarter. If my kids talked to me about issues the way I see us American's discussing them, I would give them a stern lecture about solving the problem and taking the effort to think, not just regurgitating stuff. When someone says "cut government", that person should also say "here is explicitly how a cut in government creates a job". When someone says "raise taxes", that person should provide specifics. When someone says "this wont work" give me a real reason why....don't recycle one-liners that have been used by the talking heads.

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

      OK, then, let's discuss the issue: The issue is simple: Keynesian economics tell us that in a recession, fiscal and monetary policies should be loosened. Monetary policy, which is handled by the Federal Reserve, has indeed been loosened in the form of a very low federal funds rate. But, without business-building incentives, the low-interest money available will not be put to any good use. Traditionally, lowering taxes for those that are in the position to build business has been an effective incentive, and private businesses build jobs if the incentive is there, and the interests are low.
      Conversely, there are times when the money supply needs to be tightened, and when raising taxes is appropiate, but this isn't one of those times. Bush understood this, Kennedy understood this, and Bill Clinton understood this. They all pushed for smaller taxes for that segment of our society upon seeing the signs of economic slowdown. What helps the economy is no mystery. It is very well-studied science and can be found in any decent book of economics, and it's not exclusive to any political party. Obama is refusing to take the stuided, proven road because it runs counter to some of the principles that got him elected. Smarter presidents like Clinton knew better, but Obama is just stuck full of himself. The issue is not intelligence. The issue is that we have a president who only seems to think politically and is not business-minded at all. But, since you are so smart and we are "the lowest common denominator", please enlighten us: How is a plan that does not explain how it will fund itself does, in any way, "integrate revenues"?

      September 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Washington2012

    "Pass this bill now" – don't read it, don't worry about how to pay for it, don't worry about the cost to us or to future generations...another half trillion dollars for companies like Solyndra.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Memo

    Funny that so many people here are blaming those EEEVIL REPUBLICANS for Obama's failures. Really, is he that good of a snake oil salesman that so many people think he can do no wrong? Did we forget the democrats owned both congress and the white house for the first two years of Obama's presidency? He could do whatever he wanted, and despite of it the economy just got worse during that time. He had more freedom and political capital than most other presidents ever did during his first two years in office, yet he squandered that quickly in his pet projects rather than focusing on what he was elected to do. There is a reason Republicans in congress are in the position that they are now: Obama failed the nation right when he could do the most for it. If he had done his job, democrats would still own two out of the three branches of government.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. greg

    same ol talk no action. hes had 3 yrs to do something even when his buds the libs control congress and has done nothing! TIME TO GET OUT OBAMA!

    September 9, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. RJ

    I like reading everyone's opinion – when they share an actual opinion. The one comment in this that was upsetting was the statement that Trickle Down economics did not work - the United States economy saw growth like nothing , except the industrial revolution and after WW2 during the REagan administration and beyond where his tax breaks and business incentives spurred inventive thinking, entrepreneurship and straight up advancement.
    Important to see all sides,a nd look at bigger picture – which we should be hoping our politicians of today can do...

    afterall we share more similarities in ideas and goals than what may separate us.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Steve

    More of the same tripe from Obama.... Economy is still broken, so let's spend more money and go deeper in debt. A few months from now, he'll be asking for another debt ceiling hike. Funny, when he's running for office again, I'm sure he'll find a way to blame all of this on the Republicans. Nothing is ever his fault.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. 2012 GOP

    The Dems only had 4 months of control in the Senate because of Kennedy and Bryd illnesses.
    No president GOP or otherwise could have fixed this recession. It was too huge. It would be bad no matter who was president.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. CA

    Wondering why this is his major concern instead of the new threats in NY on 9/11/11 or the 150,000 acres burned and over 1,500 homes lost with low water supply or resources for firemen to have enough power to prevent more burning in Texas. How about he grant the natural disaster declaration that Texas asked for and is still waiting for Obama's response while they work tirelessly with what little we have?

    September 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      I do not believe Perry asked did he?

      September 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mario

    I wish President Obama would cease and desist from sharing his recovery plans with the general public. Every time he does, the stock market goes into a tailspin!

    September 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      The wealthy pulling their money to pay taxes?

      September 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      Mario..do you know who loses when the stock market drops? The little people.

      Someone is making a TON of money off these drops.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Eric Cantor gets it everytime we fail. Washington at its richest. we are their meal tickets.(and yacht and mansion and tans and vacations)

      September 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tom

    Obama's plans are the least we can do to bolster the economy. However, what they are, are things the GOP has voted for and supported in the past and when the current GOP has done little but block appointees and legislation for the past 3 years, here's hoping they'll stand by their past convictions and support all of these proposals.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
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