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. Omar

    We in the Middle East love President Obama. He has given us freedom, missles and guns to enforce the will of Allah. Death to Isreal and their allies. May Allah be with Obama. God is Great

    September 9, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • AllForAmerica

      Good try troll.

      September 9, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rich

    Seriously – for those of you who think Congress should just pass this plan. Would you expect ANY congress (even the last one) to agree to pass a piece of legislation that they've never seen, had no hand in crafting, and appears for all practical purposes to be more of what was being done for the last 4 years (including the last couple from Bush?) That would be as stupid and irresponsible as passing a 2,000+ page bill and claiming we "have to pass the bill to know what's in the bill." Who the heck would do that? Oh wait ...

    September 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      They will get it next week monday. Now will they do what is right for the country, weeelll they haven't so far. So no we don't expect them to help the middle class.

      September 9, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mark L.

    President Obama's Jobs Plan will NEVER pass a right-wing radicalized House vote. The Tea Party wants to turn the United States of America into the United States of Somalia !!!!

    September 9, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      Not being a partisan person, do you honestly think that the problem with the economy is the government is not spending enough money? The budget in 200 was about 1.7 trillian. That's about what the deficit is now. That seems like a lot of spending.

      September 9, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • KiddSS

      It's the same old same old, "Can I have another Half a Trillion dollars to play with..."

      September 9, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. michael

    more money to Obama friends the public unions and to fools who pretend green energy is good.

    September 9, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      I know you did not read it I did. So you spout conjecture.

      September 9, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. chris

    Sadly its true. Nothing Obama proposes will pass Congress because the Republicans are so power-hungry that they will throw this country under the bus trying to ensure they regain absolute control in 2012.

    Whatever damage they cause to the country by being rabidly obstructionist as a whole, they can shamelessly blame on democrats to fool the weak-minded masses into thinking they "were trying to create jobs but big bad Bubba Obama wouldn't let us!"

    Sad part is... People will buy that.

    September 9, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • KiddSS

      Just like they bought into the "Hopey Changey snake oil show".

      September 9, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. FranciscoD

    Motto for Obama '12: "No We Can't (So Our Hand Is Out To You For Help, Big Govt)".

    September 9, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Just like all the republicans with earthquakes, fires, tornatos, and they snapped up the 1st stimulus for their states and only 3 voted for it.hmmmmmm

      September 9, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. cliff benson

    This do-nothing congress will not pass anything. Held hostage by the Sand-box brats (Tea partiers) who only produce selfish political tantrums, we can only hope the voters will fire them.

    September 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eyes Open

      Really? Really???? I thought Jimmy Hoffa's son of a b i t ch es (bad grammar and all) was pretty much the epitome of selfish tantrums so common to the democrats and thin skinned Obama.

      September 9, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. AJ

    I think if people stood up and supported the President, the Tea Party, Congress, and all other naysayers would back down. Our country is rapidly getting worse, people are suffering. Something must be done. The Republicans can not continue to protect the rich. Enough is Enough.

    September 9, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • AllForAmerica

      I think the people will support him by voting republicans out of congress. I expect to see Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate next time around. It doesn't matter who is president then.

      September 9, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eyes Open

      I haven't seen any of my Republican friends taking 10 or more vacations including France, Africa, and Martha's Vineyard. Most of us are lucky to have jobs today. Obama is a fraud and just offering us the same old thing. Campaigning endlessly, abusing the joint sessions speech to promote himself.

      September 9, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rich

    Why do I get the feeling that you mean fire repulbicans when you say fire "them". First it was all Bush's fault. Now it's all the Tea Party folks (who "control" 1/4 of 1/2 of one house) who are to blame. Ever see the movie Brooster's Millions – the remake with Richard Prior. I think we should all vote for "None of the above"

    September 9, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. John Williams

    More spending and devaluing of the dollar is not the answer. We can't compete with the rest of the world and maintain our current standard of living. No other country is going to buy U.S. manufactured goods when they have to pay the price of our employees living in three bedroom, two bath houses.

    September 9, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bob

    the only way to create jobs is to 'manufacture' make things here in america again, not in china. why don't we do that?

    September 9, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eyes Open

      Too much government regulation, taxes on the businesses that create jobs, and the latest "innovation" : raid Gibson Guitars factory in Nashville, TN for importing wood that was not PRE-manufactured by workers in India. Strange "coincidence" that the owner of Gibson has donated to more Republicans than Democrats.

      September 9, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. George

    It's time that the American people tell Obama and all the left wing to get real and stop playing I am a leader and work with Congress to build business up not play games.

    September 9, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      He is serious and has exposed repubs for the hostage takers they are.

      September 9, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chris

    Why don't we manufacture here? That's simple. Because according to our would-be corporate overlords, American workers cost too much money to be profitable. (This of course stems from the fact that our cost-of-living is ridiculous, but that's a different argument).

    Therefore it's simply more profitable to move the jobs offshore to locations like India or China where the workers will slave for 12 hours for the equivalent of pennies a day and be happy to get those pennies.

    This allows the upper 1% to continue to pocket massive sums of wealth while contributing as little as possible to the market they've strip-mined in their mindless worship of their bank account.

    September 9, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. krehator

    Pot meet Kettle.......

    The GOP plan is nothing new either. Look how well that worked. If you remember, the economy tanked before Bush left office. He doubled the debt, and spent money like a drunkun sailor. Much of it cannot be accounted for at all. We got robbed and he just sat by and let it happen. His Big Brother Department of Homeland Security has wasted billions too.

    Look in the mirror GOP.

    September 9, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rich

    Get serious. The upper 1% continue to pocket massive sums of wealth – that's true. But make no mistake about it, if everything was manufactured here, everything we buy would greatly increase in cost. Implying anything different is just a bunch of bunk.

    Attacking companies seems like the most ridiculous thing around. If you increase the costs of a business (be it increased manufacturing costs, increased energy costs, or increased taxes), what do you think they're going to do? Nothing good, I can assure you of that. They'll A) raise prices, B) reduce employment, C) go out of business, or D) make less money which drops the stock price which (like it or not) affects almost everybody – everyone who has a 401K, IRA or other plan invested in the stock market.

    What we DO wrong in this country is bail companies out. The right to succeed is the same as the right to fail. If you reward bad risks by bailing companies out, they have no incentive to behave in a more responsible manner.

    I am SO tired of this wealth envy, it makes me sick. I hope one day to be one of those wealthy people. That used to be known as ambition – now it's known as greed. In principle, I believe that at some point you've made enough money, but I do NOT, repeat NOT, trust the government to decide what that number's going to be! If you can find somebody to pay boatloads of money to do something, great for you!

    September 9, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
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