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. Boomer in Mo

    Yawn. More of the same from a president who cannot lead, no matter what he wants to do. And, the GOP is bent on destroying the middle class and America itself just so it can win the 2012 elections. My cousins say New Zealand is a great place to live. Thinking of leaving the US of A and starting a dairy farm "down under."

    September 9, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Teabigots are to blame

    Big regulating government is the only thing stopping big greedy corporations from completely enslaving America. Teaparty anarchists are nothing more than corporate shills trying to take from the poor and give to the mega rich. Orwells' 1984 was NOT a warning about the government, it was about corporations.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • LAUGHING AT LIBERALS

      uh, Einstein, corporations are people.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. FranciscoD

    Incentives matter. The only other option, ultimately, is an all-powerful central planner. (Barrack wants that and has the hubris to believe he and his peeps can and should decide what's best and who wins versus loses.) Reduce corporate taxes to where companies will actually want to locate here. Eliminate all special interest deductions in the tax code, across the board. This will allow lower marginal rates across the board while still raising "revenue", and has everyone paying at least something so there aren't 50+% total freeloaders focused only on what they can get by mooching with their hand out and focused instead also on what these things cost. It also recognizes the republican flaw that revenue is a taboo - markets respond positively to certainy and clarity and simplicity. Make all workers, union or non-union, compete on the basis of their own talents and skills. That's what America was actually based on in "our beginning".

    September 9, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nickels

      "Reduce corporate taxes to where companies will actually want to locate here. Eliminate all special interest deductions in the tax code, across the board. This will allow lower marginal rates across the board while still raising "revenue", and has everyone paying at least something..." isnt this what he proposed in his plan?

      September 9, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. chris/walker

    Love it i feel good about all what he said

    September 9, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chris

    Its hilarious to hear people compare Obama's stimulus to "socialism".. Guess what? We already have socialism for the wealthy. Their losses are socialized ("too big to fail") versus the losses of the middle/low class are just "tough luck".

    If you're going to complain about a fictional red herring, make sure it's actually fictional.

    Next for the people that call Obama the "president of no job growth"... how many jobs/month were lost under W in 2008? You know, before Obama took office?

    Republican/tea party voters.. Open your eyes to the corporate panderin plainly evident in the Republican party's voting history! Let yourself finally realize that you have been brainwashed into voting against your own best interests!

    September 9, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nickels

      Word!!

      No parties hands are clean but until both sides admit they 'messed up' & decide to work for the best interest of AMERICA and not the individual/lobbiest/special interest/unrealistic ideals we wont get anywhere

      WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!

      September 9, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jake

    America did not become what it is today by doing nothing and saying, "It's a bad time for the American people". We did something! Whatever happens the folks who are having a hard time will have to ride it out anyway. The one's who are doing ok and don't care will probably be the same way about America when they are through it. Me, Myself, and I. That is not America to me.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. FranciscoD

    Eliminate "too big to fail" too. Just because one back-room political deal was wrong doesn't mean the answer should be even more back-room deals. Goverment decided these guys should do well, no government decides these guys should do well instead. It doesn't matter whether the beneficiary is some fat cat pansy a– banker or some whining mooching lazy a– union chief, they're all disgusting and wrong and make our country weaker and worse. If we think this is the right way to run an economy, Barrack should change his middle name to Barrack "Wesly Mooch" Obama.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Portia

    I am absolutely disgusted with the Republican Party. I hope the country now sees them for what they truly believe–that only the rich and the lobbyists count. I remember what the GI Bill did for this country and the people who benefitted from that kind of help paid back in work and taxes many, many times over what they were given. We must not make the division in society worse...we need to make it less an issue.. Obama's ideas will help this happen. Woe to the country if the Republican viewpoint wins over.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      You are an idiot. I don't hate Democrats because of their views. As a small business owner, who is hardly wealthy... simply adding to the deficit is not going to help. Cutting spending is the ONLY way. If you truly were in line with everything Obama is saying, go out and do something yourself. Spend to the limit on all your credit cards!!! Help your economy!

      Doesn't seem like such a good idea now does it?!

      September 9, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. chris

    An addendum to the socialism for the rich comment:

    The gains of the rich are capitalism ("don't redistribute my wealth!")

    The losses of the rich are socialized ("too big to fail")

    The gains of the middle/poor class are socialized ("corporate subsidies help the 'job creators'! Nevermind that billion-dollar quarterly profit big oil posted this year...they need your money!")

    The losses of the middle/poor are the problem of the middle/poor classes and nobody else.

    Redistribution of wealth – aka socialism as you call it – already happens. Money is stripped from the middle/poor classes and redistributed to the already-wealthy 'job creators' so they can continue running the global economy into the ground while profiting from it, and doing so ON YOUR DIME!

    September 9, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. The Truth Hurts

    Another Obama campaign speech. Results Dow down over 300 points. USA can't take much more of his leaderlessship. Hope monkeyman goes on vacation again, hopefully to Libya, the terrorist he created love him there. Lets hope for a one way trip.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • HistoryWins

      The DOW would look up if more people woke up and smelled the stink form the last administration's mess. The economy has been in freefall, and the reps want to see Obama fail??? WHO GAVE THEM THE RIGHT TO PUT MY COUNTRY ON THE LINE??? Man up and join hands with the current administration to fix the mess – you're shaming the nation – Republicans!

      September 9, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • He lied to US

      Well said, the only thing he can do right is go on vacation at our expense.

      September 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. FranciscoD

    Question for the Obamanomics supporters: Is it more important that the "middle class" be better off or that everyone is worse off but at least more similar and socialized. In other words, is it better that the avg "middle class" guy has 10 and the avg "rich" has 1000 or whatever, or that the middle class guy has 5 and the rich guy has 500? Which is better? Why must there always be class warfare?

    September 9, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nickels

      the middle class is the LARGEST demographic in our country. Historically when we have a health middle class our economy thrives. The super rich are super rich because they dont spend money on a consistant bases, they repeat a cycle of splurge then save. The middle class are constant consumers. How does it make sense that almost 40% of our countries wealth is controlled by 1% of the population? And i can almost guarantee that neither you nor I are in that class but we either have friends or family who have to decide between food or gas or day care or lights...

      September 9, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Not a "sheeple"

    More of the same. Spend more money Nobama...and preach to all the sheeple that believe everything that comes out of your mouth. Sad sad world we live in when people can't think for themselves and believe everything someone says because they have a silver tongue.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Justan American

    The phrase'"preaching to the choir" comes to mind every time I see this person open his mouth.

    Mr.President it is time for YOU to,"man up" and admit to the American public you and yours have absolutely no idea what you are doing.

    But that will never happen.

    September 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. FranciscoD

    Hi Chris, can you elaborate on this please? "Money is stripped from the middle/poor classes and redistributed to the already-wealthy 'job creators' so they can continue running the global economy into the ground." What money is re-distributed from people paying lower rates of tax or, in 50+% of cases, none at all? And how do job creators run an economy into the ground? Thanks. FranciscoD

    September 9, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Nickels

    Look...the solution is going to have to take sacrifices from both sides. Until our government, GOP & Dems stop focusing on what the other group is not doing instead of internally looking at what they should be doing we will continue the same cycle.

    Obama (or any Prez for that matter) has to get EVERYONE to do their fair share. Warren Buffet paying less in income (percentage-wise) than my $75,000 household is ridiculous and that goes for companies that purposefully export jobs & use off-shore banking that result in increase profits but fewer american work forces. Not all corps take advantage of the tax loop hole that are available but at the same time GREED has messed up our great country. There's not reason companies should be able to record record profits & we still have droves of unemployeed citizens.

    For the other side of the coin, yes there are people who take advantage of welfare & unemployment so we need in address those issues as well but not everyone that uses social assistance is lazy & doesnt want to work.

    Both parties need to get off there high horses and make scarifices that count. Th

    September 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
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