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. chris

    The money being redistributed is your tax dollars. Instead of being used for public works or programs that benefit taxpayers (or provide a safety net for the oft-inevitable layoff waves nowadays) is more often being funneled into the coffers of big business in the forms of subsidies, tax breaks and bailouts.

    And 'job creators' run the economy into the ground by not actually creating jobs (protip: calling them job creators is literally doublespeak. They don't create jobs because more jobs equals less profit) and instead merely pocketing every dime they can in the form of massive bonuses, golden-parachute severence/retirement packages, and company-funded parties that make 'the hangover' look like a 4 year old's trip to mcdonald's.

    September 9, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      I totally agree with you Chris, that's what these big company CEO's are doing, sending the jobs to third world countries who would work with pennies per day. The government here is embarrassing and a shame. Those politicians in DC, they don't care about the future of America, they don't care to work together as one to bring this country back to where it used to be. They just want power, money and fame. Then they can retire with the pockets full of money. Kingdoms and nations repeat themselves throughout history. They all get to the top and the crash and vanish by their own success. That's what will happen to America.

      September 9, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      If you are broke right now and don't have a job, THIS IS YOUR OWN DAMN FAULT!!! You should have trained for jobs that are hiring, and you should have saved for a rainy day. This notion that Obama needs to make everything "fair" and that we "deserve" the American dream (whatever that is) is completely ridiculous. Life is not fair, and it is not the job of other people's wallets to make it fair. We are slowly losing our freedom and liberty by this Thief-In-Chief who believes stealing my tax dollars to give to the lazy, non-productive leeches of society, or his buddies at GE, is the "fair" thing to do.

      September 9, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Howard

    THE ONLY JOB OBAMA IS TRYING TO SAVE IS HIS OWN.

    September 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • RUTH

      AND YOURS !!

      September 9, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. FranciscoD

    Hi History, if one believes the policies are wrong (and maybe not just wrong, but hurtful because we are already drowning in debt), why is it good for America to "man up and join hands with the current administration"? The real stink is the extremism on both sides, especially when there are decent answers to be found in the middle. They are found when the focus is on making the whole economy better off, rather than having central planners pick winners and losers or seeking "fairness" as a moniker for socialism or doing back-room deals favoring special interest groups regardless whether they are fat cats or union moochers. If you can shift your focus from trying to place blame on one group or another and look at this objectively, what evidence or track record are you going on saying that Obama has the slightest clue on what he's doing with our economy?

    September 9, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • HistoryWins

      YOu are not wrong. I don't particularly agree with liberals in all aspects of what the role of the govt should be. But seriously, is this business as usual? Can they not see where we are economically? Do you know who knows better than the President? No, right? So Join hands in fixing theproblem. Who knows if they will get it right even if they join hands and agree on most things. Being in charge at this time sucks – does not matter who it is that's in charge. Repubs need to step up and do the responsible thing. The country needs a bailout. Partisanship can go to hell!

      September 9, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • HistoryWins

      From what we know of previous economic disasters, do tell h ow you think the economy should be jumpstarted without spending. Not sure what the solution is for people who say don't spend – then what?!

      September 9, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. FranciscoD

    Hi Chris, so government is the answer right? You would prefer government to have more power and more directly decide what gets done and who will be selected to be better off or worse off (because there will still only be so much to go around)? They should still take the money but then they should decide where that money goes and they should hire and employ the unemployed workers? Did I get that right? What happens when you play that out Chris?

    September 9, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nickels

      what ever happen to profits going to the workers of the company. The right anwser is big business needs to look at its self in the mirror. If the 'job creators' that use the incentives & tax breaks but dont create jobs, who is suppose to hold them accountable?

      Right now, the HAVES have but dont share & the HAVENOTS are struggling but when the HAVES stuggled the same gov't that shouldnt be there as a crutch bailed them out (wasnt AIG before Obama?). You can't have it both ways but rules/policies need to be put in place that FORCE both companies & gov't to do what they say & not take advantage of the system.

      September 9, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      Nickels – The "Haves" as you call them, worked hard and EARNED their money. That is what America is all about, personal liberty and responsibility. This notion that everything needs to be "fair" is crazy. Didn't your parents ever tell you "Life is not fair"? The government does not do things fairly, it is run by politicians who manipulate the system to steal our money and buy votes and money from poor people, unions and big time CEOs. Government was never meant to be mucking around in the economy this much in the first place. You need to grow up and take some responsibility for your own position in life, and stop blaming the "Haves" for your current "Have Not" status

      September 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Fred

    All I hear about is that the Republicans won't compromise. To compromise it takes both parties to agree on something. All you hear from the Democrats is raise taxes, don't touch Medicare, Social Security etc. Lets both give a bit to gain a lot!

    September 9, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      Democrats have been willing to reform medicare and social security for months. Republicans won't budge.

      September 9, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. 2cents4free

    Wow a dual choice question? Was it:
    a) More of the same
    b) 'light' of hope
    Are you implying these are the only two reactions 300 million Americans are going to have? All is lost!

    September 9, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. chris

    Government isn't 'the' answer, but can be part of the answer. How big of a part depends entirely on how many of the right politicians lobbyists have in their pockets.

    September 9, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kyle

    If you are broke right now and don't have a job, THIS IS YOUR OWN DAMN FAULT!!! You should have trained for jobs that are hiring, and you should have saved for a rainy day. This notion that Obama needs to make everything "fair" and that we "deserve" the American dream (whatever that is) is completely ridiculous. Life is not fair, and it is not the job of other people's wallets to make it fair. We are slowly losing our freedom and liberty by this Thief-In-Chief who believes stealing my tax dollars to give to the lazy, non-productive leeches of society, or his buddies at GE, is the "fair" thing to do.

    September 9, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Wayne

    The first stimulus worked..FOR BIG BUSINESS. Think, before the big stimulus banks were going broke, GM was going bankrupt etc, middle class were losing jobs and homes going into foreclosure. AFTER the first stimulus GM is now profitable, banks are doing fine, corp profits are up 40% over 2 years yet the middle class are still losing jobs, homes are still underwater. All it means is the 800B spent went straight to the top with the belief that if companies had money they would hire. Companies have money and they are not hiring. Demand is elsewhere not in America because the middle have no expendable income. This jobs act is what the government should do. Someone needs to be mad at unpatriotic business hiring outside of the US.

    September 9, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rich

    It drives me nuts when politicians speak – period.

    They complain about the circus, but forget they're in the circus.
    They complain about partisan bickering and then turn around and blame the other party as if they're blameless.
    They complain about gridlock being all the other party's fault, but they controlled all three houses not long ago.
    They complain about the problem being their predecessor's fault, but they ran in the first place on fixing those problems.
    They complain about high taxes but then oppose some tax cuts.
    They complain about the deficit, but then propose more spending.
    They complain about tax loop holes which are really just legal tax deductions they don't like.
    They try to pit one set of americans against the other (the middle class versus the wealthy, business is bad, etc.)
    They claim it's all THIS administrations fault when the last administration wasn't any better.
    They complain about the political posturing and lack of civility, but then call their opponents "un-American", "Economic Terrorists", "Socialists", "Teabaggers".
    They stand firm on their own principles (good for them) but then claim their opponents are playing politics, or holding folks hostage when they stand firm on theirs.
    They take money from one special interest group and expect us to believe that will not impact how they will vote but then turn around and claim their opponents are voting for/against something only because of the special interest groups that support them.
    Their "Principles" such as they have them, magically change when their party takes over the presidency. Increasing the debt ceiling is just fine when their president is in power but when it's the other side, it's irresponsible to keep spending more money. The wars are terrible/guitmo needs to close until your president is in power and then it's silently ignored.

    This speech was no different from any other speech and I don't see why it would have swayed anybody one way or the other. If you were for Obama and his goals, you still are and continue to blame the Republicans for all of the country's problems. If you were against Obama and his goals, you still are and think he's to blame for all of the country's problems.

    September 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. chris

    Actually most of the 'haves' these days got there by way of rampant greed, corporate thievery and outsourcing.

    If by "working hard" you mean "working hard to avoid employing American workers or paying American taxes", you're right.

    The rest are old money billionaires whose families made money by being the crack dealers or Enron execs of their day.

    September 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      Chris – Actually, more than half of the millionaires and billionaires in this country are self-made. You clearly feel you deserve some standard of living without having to work for it, and your envy for those who have been successful is pathetic. Grow up

      September 9, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. chris

    By the way, personal responsibility only works if its applied to everyone equally.

    When a middle income family lives beyond its means and it catches up to them, there's nobody to bail them out.

    When AiG plus Fannie & Freddie lived beyond their means and it caught up to them, they went to Congress with.$700B ransom note and had their losses covered at taxpayer expense.

    That is quite literally the opposite of personal responsibility.

    September 9, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      I totally agree, I was against any bailout for any companies whatsoever. But the blame does not stop with Fannie, Freddie and AIG. Regular Americans got in over their head with mortgages they could not afford, or second homes that they bought to become real estate speculators. This is precisely the result of government intervention to spur homeownership (i.e. Barney Frank programs) by guaranteeing loans make by Fannie and Freddie. This is what you get when government mucks around in the private sector.

      Flat tax with no loopholes, reform Medicare and SS, and balanced budget amendment. These are long-term solutions, not more unemployment benefits and wasteful government spending

      September 9, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Masih Ad-Dajjal

    I am so sick an tired of this bi-partisan BS and dissent! Quit the freaking bickering and put the people before the pork-fat and special interests! Just get down to business, and for once in your political lives DO THE RIGHT THING!!!!

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

    More of the same. Obama is a very reactionary president, this is the sign of an inexperienced leader. His solution is to throw more money at the problem and try and pick some old concepts that people dont seem to hate.

    Good campaigner, good public speaker, poor president.

    But dont look at me, I voted for the moderate statesmen fighter pilot with decades of experience.

    September 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike

    Obama's job plan won't pass because Republicans are betting that allowing a slide toward economic disaster will help them in the 2012 elections. If it does, Americans will have only themselves to blame for the mess we'll be in. It'll make 2011 look like the good old days.

    September 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
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