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. Ncrazy

    Carol your not wrong. Howard,howard. howard, It seem's to me that the rep: have you completly fooled. They have doing everything they can to put the preident down. All i've seen from the rep: is i'll get revenge if i do'nt get my way. These very childish way's are unreal. I feel like i'm back in school. If the president did not do the first stimuless, GM, CHRY, the bank, the stock market would have went down, and us with them. Thing's have stalled, only because the rep: keep playing there childish game's. Power stuggle, money. So my message is wake up poeple, before it;s too late. Get these rep: OUT.

    September 9, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      Nobody has done more to put Obama down, than Obama himself.

      Obama's lies, and horrible policies have destroyed his credibility.

      Even with an army of blindly loyal supporters, like you ...
      Even with the biased main stream media in the tank for him ...
      Even with the BILLION dollars reelection fund he brags about ...

      You can't fool all of the people all of the time ... only gullible fools like you.

      Obama is going down in 2012 ... and, when it happens, America will finally
      have a chance to recover from all the damage he has created.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • HistoryWins

      HOWARD, express your opinion about Bush. Just for fun. If Obama is a liar, let's hear you talk about Bush. BTW, I do hope you get your wish. Reps should come back and fix their own mess. 'Cept they won't – and unless you are a millionaire, you'll learn your lesson – and deserve it!

      September 9, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. economic loony

    I'm reading the three major points which are: Payroll tax cut, local govt aid, employer tax credits. The payroll tax cut in stimulus 1 is expiring this december, which makes this an extension. Local govt aid was in the first one and just held the status quo until the money ran out. The last one is new from obama but is that replacing current employer tax credits or additional? Even so most employers may be to afraid to hire for it to be affective. It was a great speech but there is too many questions on the exact details.

    September 9, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Recollections of the genuine "jobs" plan

    1.) First of all, that's YOUR take, not everyones. Most take what they are fed on TV news and mouth it here in these little postey boxes.[show me even one original thought (not counting a few like 'saywhat' and Ruffie. His thought's are...well, original. he he). posted here today...nothing but 'monkey see on tv–monkey post here'] 2.) Shortly after 9/11, Congress votes-in the largest increase if federal prison funding in the history of mankind. 2.) That same Congress increased education funding by less than 2%...not even enough to keep pace with pop. growth, let alone inflation. 3.) US students fall behind the rest of the developed world. 4.) US corporations begin exporting jobs overseas to well educated peoples. They might be greedy corporations, but they aren't stupid. 5.) Federal Reserve, a branch bank of the B.I.S headquarter bank in Basel, Switz. siezes the opportunity to swindle stupid people out of their homes. 6.) get a clue already.

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

      Um, since when is education an enumerated responsibility of the federal government? I thought that power fell to the individual states. Protection of the state IS an enumerated resposibility of the federal government. They exist to provide for the defense and protection of all of the states, and regulate commerce, etc.

      The federal govt. was CREATED to be in the business of federal prisons, NOT education. Asking that the federal gov't invest heavily in education is like asking a soldier to educate your kids when that's not his job.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Memo

    Um, since when is education an enumerated responsibility of the federal government? I thought that power fell to the individual states. Protection of the state IS an enumerated resposibility of the federal government. They exist to provide for the defense and protection of all of the states, and regulate commerce, etc.

    The federal govt. was CREATED to be in the business of federal prisons, NOT education. Asking that the federal gov't invest heavily in education is like asking a soldier to educate your kids when that's not his job.

    September 9, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ywgwie malmsteen

    God i cant wait for the next pres election so we can prove to you liberal blow hards that Obomba has been the worst thing to happen to this country! bye bye lard Ass!

    September 9, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • HistoryWins

      Like I keep saying – no time for STUPID. If you get your wish next year – and I hope you do because everyone needs to OPEN their eyes and seet ehproblems and STOP pretending these are problems that will go aways with Obama – and again, if you get your wish next year, how will the situation get better? What your rich friends will not tell you is, they want to stop spending so economy can go to hell and and after a horrible time comes and goes, the fittest – read richest – will have rode it out, and the rebuilding will start again. No time for stupid. Snap out of it!

      September 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. fernace

    Just a little humor on an otherwise contentious blog! When Obama quoted the pledge: "One nation under God...." My friend & I broke into song: "One nation under a groove, gettin' down just for the funk of it, One nation & we're on the move, Nothin' can stop us nowww...."! Go Obama 2012!! (ps. shout out to G. Clinton & P-Funk)! 🙂

    September 9, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Scottish Mama

    I guess the end of the world is in 2012.

    September 9, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jake

    I would like to hear some solutions from some reps. All I'm hearing are criticisms and cursings. Where is the intelligence? I'm hearing people say bulid your own roads, railroads and let businesses do whatever they want to do to the detriment of whoever. That's not America to me. We're much more intelligent than that.

    September 9, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bornintheusa

    these liberals need to stop blaming republicans for not giving in to obamas policies. theyre just trying to protect basic american capitalism from obamas socialist ways and to insure our debt doesnt reach the point of no return if it already hasnt. you cant spend what you dont have. by the time obamas trillion and a half dollar debt reduction is actually reduced he's already going to add a couple more trillion on the debt so its basically useless. cut government spending, cut regulations and let the free market work as it should

    September 9, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • HistoryWins

      Theories should not be spouted independent of economic scene in the country. We're in a dire place – and we got here by an irresponsible administrations launching irresponsible wars. A fake cowboy president was fine by you reps who ran the country down and made a joke of us in the world? Now someone is trying desperatly to plug the gazillion holes in the boat, and you want to nitpick about which hole should be plugged first?? Go look up how many trillions were spent in Bush's first term – and read about what the economy needs. NOT the time for stupid!

      September 9, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • to born yesterday

      That is the plan we have been under for 10 years. Stop beating the horse, Let's try something that works.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • bornintheusa

      irresponsible wars? afghanistan and iraq were harbouring and training people that want to kill us all and the way we live. there wasnt another attack on this country after 9/11 because bush did what he had to do to keep us safe. NATIONAL SECURITY IS #1. and to the economy the market swings up and down over the years. recessions happen every 25 years or so and it was due. instead of the democrats creating a panic and calls for "change" to get into office and open their socialist agendas, the government shouldve let the economy fix itself as were the case with all the recessions over the last 200+ years

      September 9, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • HistoryWins

      @bornintheusa – At least try to make sense. Wars waged with lies and our country's $$ did NOTHING to make America safe. This administration took bin laden out without any fuss. Clandestine operations are conducted to get rid of tyrants and bad guys. Been happening for centuries. But Bush had to wage a war and give speeches – wasn't the same without the pomp and show. And evidently there are fools that soaked it all up. NOW you want to talk money! I'd laugh, but it hurts when you look around see what it's done!

      September 9, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • bornintheusa

      @historywins did you get dropped on your head or something? obama did absolutely nothing to take out osama but say yes when the military intelligence and the navy seals did all the real work. the wars were and are necessary to keep us safe as a country. afghanistan and iraq were harbouring and funding these animals that want to kill of all of us and the way we live and bush did what was necessary to keep us safe. and yes a war was needed not an operation or whatever you were talking about. the terrorist groups are the cancer of the world and theyre just like any criminal organization..you can take out the top but someone else is going to be right there to fill in their place so they need to be wiped out completely to keep us safe your a traitor if you think anywise.

      September 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • HistoryWins

      You are beyond hope.
      If Obama did nothing personally to take Osama out – and the Military seals did all the work – more power to him for using what was at his disposal. Why did'nt BUSH? Can we compare what Bush's war cost to the operation that really took Bin laden out? PLEASE?? I am a traitor if I don't agree with you?? Yeah – you're a republican alright. I bet in your mind BUSH was out firing on the front of the war, right? The hero BUSH. So what if we are about to go under. Hail BUSH for waging a useless war!

      September 9, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Memo

    Hey, BUSH WAS THE PERSONIFICATION OF THE GOPName*, as a matter of fact, I did go to public school for a couple of years. On my younger years, I studied abroad, and later on I went to a private Univesity. But what does that have anything to do with anything? Are you that poor of a thinker that you have to resolve to some sort of thinly veiled ad-hominem , or is yours some kind of nom-sequitur attempt to illustrate a point you can't seem to make?

    September 9, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Leonard Romano

    I "was a Republican" for my first 62 years. But what do you expect from a kid who took a break from college, join the marines and volunteer for Viet Nam. It has taken me a long time to see the light and the light is President Obama. You can back folks in the pocket of corporations like GE who celebrate record profits by moving their factories to China, or Governors who cut school budgets when any sensible person understands the value of an educated population or you can come to you senses like me. It's not too late.

    Leonard Romano

    September 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. FranciscoD

    Following is the key statement defining the whole Obama class warfare ideology, and it should be getting a lot more attention. "The question is whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning." What is fairness? Freedom and equal opportunity to succeed? Or equal shares of the pie? The latter = socialism by the way. And security defining this nation since our beginning, what the heck is that? Was that the definition when the settlers got on the boat to come over here, more security? Was that the definition of the founding fathers? Sounds more like the definition of...Europe. Who is John Galt?

    September 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • yesterday

      Koch Bros cousin?

      September 9, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Teabigots are to blame

    It was a great speech and a great plan. PASS IT

    September 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Steve

    This charade that IS the republican party must be brought to a stop. They are master at taking advantage of frustrated American citizens whom for the most part are clueless as to what is going on. These members of Congress are supposed to be educated, smart people. All that I see them doing is trying to throw up road blocks in front of our President every chance they get. What a group of poor loosers. They had eight long years of watching George Bush and Dick Cheney drive our economy off a cliff and did nothing about it. I absolutely believe that this group of thugs will stop at nothing because our President is not a white cronie like most of them. Im sick of it, and spend every waking minute at try to educate the less educated and brainwashed otherwise and there are many. If we don't take care of our own, then who? Afghanis? Iraqis? Isralis? Give me a break. Do us all a favor and get out of the way. And teatards, your as clueless as they come so don't even start.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ray E. Georgia

    Some of you don't know how to seperate the wheet from the chaff. Obama has done everything bass akwards. All he is selling is more of the same. Raise the debt another half trillion. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. There was an election last year. He doesn't seem to catch on. He is doing everything but what is needed to cure the economy. All he has to do is Repeal Obama care and extend the Bush Tax Cuts for at least to more years. Then Small Business can plan for the future and start hiring again.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • HistoryWins

      Yes, Obama should have come BEFORE BUSH. He did that backwards too!

      September 9, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
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