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. Aseyeseeit

    Obamanomics – It’s daja vu, all over again!

    Throw $ at it, That will fix it. Just like the education system, and Post Office, etc... the more $ we throw at it the worse it gets. Find the inherent problems and fix them(tax structure and Fed regulations).

    September 9, 2011 at 12:45 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 familiar ???
      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 destroy America beyond repair ... if they haven't already.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      He said it was the beginning, and he would keep working and bringing it to the people.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • HistoryWins

      HOWARD, wake up and at least read up on WIKI about the measures the government should take when the economy of the country is so far gone. Need to spend. TIME TO NOT SPEND WAS WHEN BUSH WAS IN POWER. The number one thing any government can do when the economy tanks like ours is stimulate it by spending. Unfortunately we have been sucked dry already and don't have the money. But we still need to spend. The man in charge – any man – would make the same decision. Would you prefer a depression? Don't worry, you'll get it soon enough.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. shawn

    I am now running to go buy my magic wand .. deliver it to the white house and have the president undo all the damage that was done for 8 frigging years before him and he has been stuck trying to fix now for 4 years . SO ON that note sulky lil babes.. simmer your panties down.. that magic wand will be making all this disappear soon and hopefully you all will be democrats by Noon Saturday .. lov lovelove to you TO*

    September 9, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      I cannot help it. Something or someone has got to want to help the middle class. Will you?

      September 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. LordVlad

    I must ask the question nobody has asked...

    How does cutting taxes of working people and extending unemployment benefits create jobs?

    September 9, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Closetpan

      Cutting taxes on working people creates jobs because people can buy more products. A strong economy is based around a strong middle class that can spend. Making sure that people have a certain amount of income instead of none again helps ensure that money is spent. Really don't think this is hard to figure out tho.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • LordVlad

      Ah then, this is trickle down economics but we've been told that doesn't work.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Closetpan

      Trickle down is based off of 1% of the population. There demands does not drive an economy, its more about saving money at that point to remain inside the 1 percent.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. layminister herman

    Bravo bravo

    September 9, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dan Da Man

    the demo-tard obama didn't have the first clue how to run anything,let alone the country! he's the baby boy of the union thugs.what a RETARD.he needs to go back to the most corrupt state ill and sign more phoney acorn voters.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • HistoryWins

      What did you think of Bush and how many times did you sound of during the 8 years he was running the country down? Let me simplify – if you have 2 children that you love equally and one of them makes a big mess on the living room floor and then retires to take a nap while the other starts to clean up this mess, do you beat up on the cleaning kid for not doing it fast enough? Now multiply that mess a million times over – and try to find it yourself to be objective about issues. The country's been so run down. Things are not going to change overnight.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Or buy them with Koch bros money?

      September 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Would you use that word in the presents of Sarah Palins and her child?

      September 9, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • VET1928

      Who is the retard? Read your comment. Where were u when Bush let this country go down to the depths.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. USA#1

    Those who keep saying that this isn't gonna work are most likely not suffering from our national crisis...the long-term unemployed, vets, laid-off teachers and construction workers are am sure glad the President is still coming up with ways to help...if one doesn't work , dust off and try another...The GOP's resolution that was passed by this Presidant doesn't even begin to put a dent on the deficit so unless there are other ideas, it should be given a chance.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. michaelfury

    http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/fool-me-twice/

    September 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John

    Few things he offered I agree but the devil is always in the details. Politicians make grand speeches and promise the stars above. I seem to recall that if we pass a certain stimulus unemployment would not get above 8% that proved to be very much a false statement. President Obama talks of stopping the political games well he may want to practice what he preaches because when it has come to political gamesmanship he has been as big of a player as anyone. He has used the blame game but the only ones buying that is his loyal sheep no one else.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cindy

    At this point it's all about increasing aggregate demand. With out demand for products and services companies will not begin to hire regardless of how much cash they have on hand. Tax cuts just don't work in this kind of crisis. They are a nice gesture, but they are not the solution for something this extreme. That's why there is an emphasis on investment in infrastructure – you need people to work, so they can consume, so employers will hire.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Memo

      The government, as big as it is, is very tiny compare to the private sector. Investment infrastructure will only make a small dent on overall aggregate demand. Too little, too late. Aggregate demand is more dramatically increased by investment from the private sector. When businesses have more capital available, they tend to invest more in expansion, and that puts more money into the economy than infrastructure ever could. The economy began contracting most radically when private businesses began to batten down the hatches and divest, trim their workforces, etc. Tax cuts on those that are in a position to invest, will have a more positive impact than any infrastructure project ever could.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Robin

    I think Obama did very well last night in laying out a good plan to re-energize the economy. He also stressed the fact that the parties need to work together NOW. I especially liked the part when he emphasized we are "one nation under God". That should speak volumes. He is on the right track so clear the way Congress and let's get this American Jobs Act implemented ASAP!!! Let's make American products and let's buy American products. It can be restored and uplifted. God Bless Our Nation.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. econlali

    The first stimulus package was not a single variable as people seem to want to believe. It contained tax cuts, support for the states, and spending, all in about equal measures. Then each of these basic components had several different features in them. Enough time has passed to evaluate, at least to a degree, what worked, what did not, and the extent thereof. But no ones seems to want to put politics aside, crunch the numbers, and apply what can be learned.

    September 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. fernace

    When my family moved to the Unites States 40 years ago, the middle class was strong, prosperous, with steady employment, income & benefits! I have sadly watched the slide, which was excellerated on Bush's watch, to the point that many former middle class citizens are now poor! I've been staunchly bi-partisan, understanding how the 2 parties balace eachother out! No more! I see now how the repub-teabags are in it for themselves & their super rich benefactors & the devil take the rest of us! History shows that the party touting less spending & less government, is the "spendingest" & most intrusive of all! Hypocritical is a word that comes to mind! Those of you calling for Obamas resignation, who will you put in his place!? Biden is vice-pres, will that be better? Or Bohner & his tantrum throwing teabags? Obama is doing the best he can with a near impossible situation, & repubs who refuse to work with him! I like this program & hope the GOP doesn't rip it to shreds! America needs this shot in the arm!!

    September 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. zippy

    Can somebody explain to me how this can be considered "paid for"?

    September 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Peggy

    I fell asleep during HIS newest Tax speech. How did it end? Did he actually say anything (gnu) new?

    September 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jake

    Rich people getting richer is not helping our economy or America if the rich are not willing to at least reinvest in America. I believe if folks become rich from America's capitalistic system they should at least reinvest or contribute to that same America. President Obama is giving the rich corporations, businesses and individuals an opportunity to show their true patriotism for America by supporting it's people with some jobs. Our economy will definitely improve with that type of spirit. Planting good seeds in America;I It's good, fertile ground.

    September 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Memo

      Then who invests in America. The poor? With what?

      September 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
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