February 25th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Nation's most and least important priorities?


What are the nation's priorities? (PHOTO CREDIT: CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In his address to Congress last night, President Obama laid out what would be an ambitious agenda even in good times - never mind that we're in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Yet the president struck an optimistic tone, saying, "We will rebuild and we will recover." His speech focused on 3 top priorities - energy, health care and education. But there was also much more, including, but not limited to: tax reform, beginning a debate on overhauling Social Security, retooling the auto industry, reforming the regulatory system, getting rid of fraud and waste in Medicare, seeking a cure for cancer "in our time", expanding mass transit, encouraging parental responsibility, and on and on. Plus, don't forget there's still a war on terror and two real wars going on.

But our President seems remarkably unruffled by all of this, serene in an inner confidence that he has what it takes to lead this country back into the sunlight. That's not to say some of this stuff may need to be delayed. Mr. Obama acknowledged as much, saying, "Everyone in this chamber... will have to sacrifice some worthy priorities for which there are no dollars. And that includes me. But that does not mean we can afford to ignore our long-term challenges."

Here’s my question to you: What are the most important priorities for the nation at this time, and which can wait?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Maureen writes:
Reforming public education: PRIORITY. The next generation MUST be able to compete with the rest of the world or the U.S. will become a third world country.

Laura from Baytown, Texas writes:
Jack, Taking care of the environment can't wait. Obama needs to make green initiatives his #1 priority, because the next generation may not be able to clean up the damage we've caused to the Earth.

Alex from Weatherford, Texas writes:
The energy and environmental crisis need to take a back a seat while we stabilize the economy and war effort. We're not going to fix these future problems if we don't deal with more immediate ones first.

Steve from Cedar Park, Texas writes:
I would say the financial system and the housing problem should be addressed right away. The health care system, well...maybe wait, but who am I? Just another guy without health insurance.

Dennis from Sacramento, California writes:
Bringing the jobs back that we lost to other nations in the last 10 years would be a good start. Then have a NAFTA Tea Party and throw it away.

Julie from Orlando, Florida writes:
We dug long and deep (nearly to China) to get in this mess. Everything is a priority. Solving the key issues: jobs, education, health care, green energy, returning our servicemen and women home, etc. are all necessary to dig us out of this hole. Time to wake up the Sleeping Giant, or is he sleeping in? We'll see.

Filed under: US Economy
soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. Terry in Hanover County

    Most important: jobs. Least important: giving any more money to Wall Street and the greedy bankers.

    February 25, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  2. Jose in Dallas, Tx


    Obviously, the economy, healthcare, jobs, and infrastructure are the priority. However, Governor Jindal looked like a total moron when he sighted "Volcano Monitoring" as wasteful spending. To many citizens in our West Coast states or military personnel near a volcano like the Philippines, Volcano Monitoring might mean the difference between life and death.

    This proves that the GOP has no clue what they are talking about and that Obama's intelligence is more trustworthy. Maybe the Republican Party might want to priortize education, because if Governor Jindal is the best the Republicans can do, God help the United States!

    If Palin and Jindal are the ticket after Obama's second term, Hillary Clinton in 2016, 2020, and the next Democrat in 2024!


    Dallas, Tx

    February 25, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  3. AndyZ Fairfax, VA

    Most important: Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. Least Important: Everything else.

    February 25, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  4. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    Universal Healthcare can wait. Social Security and Medicare are the biggest burdens on our budget, why add another major burden when we're already in such a major deficit? We're obviously getting by without it. Our biggest priority should be making sure the withdrawl from Iraq goes as planned. That will free up billions of dollars that we can give to bankers so they can go on vacation.

    February 25, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  5. samir from florida

    I think the war on terror is exagerrated and can take a back seat. With billions of dollars spent fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, spent in useless and annoying airport security, the war on terror has cost our economy to collapse. Kind of makes me think if the "terrorists", whoever they are, actually won.

    February 25, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  6. Paul Austin,Texas

    Most important is the ECONOMY which has many issues within it thus being most important. What can wait or should be put on hold or even canceled Marine One and the other over run government contracts. The contractors and the goverment just can not seem to understand fixed rate contracts with no clauses you bid the fixed contract then it should be just that you do the work for the fixed price.

    February 25, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  7. ingrid, new york

    while no one would argue that the economy is the most important priority, one cannot forget that all the things that will be needed to improve the economy also necessitate confidence and hope. We will think and work harder if there is hope and if we have confidence in the government and in the financial institutions and industries involved. i am glad that we now have a president who can walk and chew gum at the same time, a president who is able to multi-task because that is what is needed now.

    February 25, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  8. Robbie

    Create jobs and many of them. When the National Guard come home after Iraq where in the hell are they going to find a job at? I just hope that the jobs go to legal Americans and not illegal aliens. Leave Social Security alone for awhile.

    February 25, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  9. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    Unfortunately, the environment can wait , but not for long. Bank and car company bailout are completely unnecessary. They will at worst go into receivership where the fools get sent home and are replaced by smarter people. The workers keep their jobs. Relief for the poor overworked slobs who pulled the wagon for the last 8 years is the highest priority.

    February 25, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  10. Charles, Lansing, MI

    Tlhe most important priority is to get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan. That would open the door to more national priorities.

    February 25, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  11. Mike S., New Orleans

    The economy is obviously the highest priority. The lowest priorities belong now to the minority party: outlawing abortion; forcing prayer in school; reducing taxes for the wealthy; outlawing gay rights; wiretapping Americans; inspecting library check out records; and waving a bible to get votes.

    February 25, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  12. Chuck in Maryland

    The most important priority is the welfare of the average, honest, working person who has been squeezed every which way imaginable by the previous administration and Corporate America. Squeezed with changes in their mortgage, utility bills, at the grocery store, rising college tuition costs, at the gas pump...at least that got better and at the end of all that losing their jobs. If I hear John McCain talk about earmark spending one more time, I will go to the Capitol and throw up on him myself. Stop the foolishness and posturing. The time for that stuff is over. We are getting to the point where common people are losing faith in the system all together. Politicians could possibly lose their platform if things get any worse.

    February 25, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  13. Troy

    Most important-the economy
    Least-anything involving gay people or the bible.

    February 25, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  14. Chad Jarman--Los Angeles

    Most-creating jobs and getting company's to hire again!!!

    Least-giving money to a woman living on foodstamps, who just birthed 8 welfare children!

    February 25, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  15. Don (Ottawa)

    Jack, everything is a priority and nothing can wait. The country has been damaged so badly under Bush that whatever you leave for later will be the thing that brings us down. It's like a car that has been wrecked in a crash. You can fix it so the motor runs, but unless you fix or replace all the damaged parts you may never get from point A to B.

    February 25, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  16. Jack

    I think the President outlined them perfectly in the speech last night and in the right order

    February 25, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  17. Rick Medina,OH


    Our number 1 priority is to develop a national 'soul.' We need a sense of solidarity that transcends 'politics as usual.' About once each generation, our country needs to pull together in ways that are uncomfortable. Now is such a time. I'm thrilled that our President reaches out ... I'm very uncomfortable with the fact that few Republicans will respond in kind. If there was ever a time for 'unity' thinking, it is now.

    Rick, OH

    February 25, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  18. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    Getting out of Iraq will allow us to focus attention and resources on Climate Change. Addressing Climate Change will create millions of downstream jobs throughout the world as well as save the planet.

    February 25, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  19. mitchell, arkansas

    There are enough people working in and for the Government. We spend Billions on their salaries and 'expenses'. If they are going to get any thing done ,they will have to learn to multi-task, like President Barack. Do it all! If they can't, then let's create some more jobs and hire enough people to , 'GIT 'ER DONE'.

    February 25, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  20. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Energy independence, the economy, illegal immigration top the list. Curtailing the right to bear arms, universal health care, and bailing out car makers are in the basement.

    February 25, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  21. Earl in Des Moines

    Most important: Saving us from economic ruin-are you Republicans even listening? Least important: Everything else-but only for now.

    February 25, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  22. Tony in Michigan

    The most important things in my opinion are-
    1) Education
    2) Health care
    3) Taking care of our Veterans
    4) Leading the Energy Revolution
    but not necessarily in that order.

    February 25, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  23. Joan B

    Most important priority is "how do we get rid of 90% of Corp Ceo's and Politicians to save American Jack"?
    Joan B

    February 25, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  24. Kevin in Webster, MA

    Stabalizing the dollar, getting the banks back to lending, which will save or create jobs, infrastructure spending, also making jobs. The millions being spent for non essential items is what is causing the discontent. Some of these border on insaine and add the porky earmarks of appropriations bill one has to ask if Washington has a clue or if they really care.

    February 25, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  25. John in Santa Barbara, CA

    The most important priorities are to get our troops out of Iraq and Afganistan. The least important is sending money to Louisiana.

    February 25, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  26. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack; The economy is the most important--the condom program can be put on hold.

    February 25, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  27. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    Getting the economy rolling is most important. Getting out of Iraq and even Afghanistan should save us, how many billions per month? Things that can wait, Wall Street/banking institutions.

    February 25, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  28. S, Michigan

    1. Economy 2. Economy 3. Economy 4. Healthcare 5. Infrastructure 6. Energy 7. Everything else

    February 25, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  29. Russ in PA

    1. End all bail outs and stimulus plans.
    2. Audit, then abolish the Fed, per the Constitution.
    3. Go back to a true monetary system backed by gold and silver, as required by the Constitution.
    4. Require a yearly balanced budget, with politicians loosing a percentage of their pay if not adhered to.
    5. Set Congressional term limits.

    Just for a start...

    February 25, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  30. Roland (St George, UT)

    Priority #1: More Jack Cafferty!

    February 25, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  31. circy in New Mexico

    Afghanistan can wait! We shouldn't be there to start with. When will we ever learn from history? Didn't the experiences of the Russians and others teach us anything?

    February 25, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  32. Jackie in Dallas

    Golly, with all the crises we are facing, I’m not sure how I would prioritize them!

    Must haves NOW: solution to the foreclosure problem, extended unemployment benefits, a rebuilding of the job market, rewritten and enforced regulations for banking and financial systems, and infrastructure improvements for schools, roads, bridges, dams, and levees.

    Need SOON: extended health care benefits, security for our Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security programs, and a general upgrade for our VA system. It is criminal that we expect people to enlist, fight, and possibly be injured or die, and have so little in the way of programs for them!

    Need, but can wait a little: revamping of the IRS for a more sane tax system, a cleanup and enforcement of ethics rules in both houses of Congress and the Executive Branch, and a rescinding of the Patriot Act, which blatantly violates our Fourth Amendment rights.

    February 25, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  33. Joe in VA

    Top 5 : Economy, energy, infrastructure, health care, education

    Can Wait: abortion, gun control, investigating last administration, ethics reform ( will not work anyway – too many crooks)

    Chatham, VA

    February 25, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  34. George, Dunedin, Florida

    After 8 years of George Bush, and his Henchmen, there is a lot to try to clean up. Just another chapter in history where Republicans have screwed things up royally, but American are up to the task, and we will clean up their mess, as we clean out the Republicans slowly, but the next Congressional election is less than 2 years away, and the Republican will be null, and void of any power to harm the U.S. again.Of course the economy comes first, because as always it is the people of lessor means that catch the brunt of the downturn, first, and the last to recover. There is nothing to stop us from coming home from Iraq, and stimulus package should upgrade of infrastructure, our schools, and our road systems, and the alternative fuel, and other energy questions will all be address at the same time, so there isn't any need not to work on all simultaneously.

    February 25, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  35. frankie

    The most important priority is putting America back on the right track, a mammoth job which involves fixing a tangled bunch of weak links in our system at the same time. A second priority that would help with the first priority. is a supportive and functional Congress that works together, but, if we have to wait on that one, so be it.

    February 25, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  36. bob z.

    the most important is to stop immigration and all work visas till the econamy is back on track and deal with illegal immigration because all the jobs go to illegals.

    February 25, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  37. Jim


    The most important priorities are to fix the economy and protect the nation from terrorists. The least important are building the Bush library and sending any stimulus money to Louisiana.

    Jim McGill
    Reno, Nevada

    February 25, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  38. Kim K, Midland MI

    HEALTHCARE, HEALTHCARE, HEALTHCARE. And not because people are suffering.

    The biggest threats to national security and our way of life aren't terrorists on the other side of the world. The biggest threats by far are the smallest ones. People don't get that we are constantly under attack from bacteria and viruses. Sickness knows no ideology, no international boundaries, no class distinctions. The number of people who have died in the past from infectious attacks is staggering and could never come close to anything man can do to himself – when you consider that it is man's activities that are probably creating the next super bug.

    Here's a fact – 1 of 2 people who EVER lived on this planet died from Malaria.

    February 25, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  39. Dr. Ron Anthem AZ

    The most inportant thing that needs to be done is to get people back to work. It is rather obvious that if you are working, your making money. Money that you can buy thing with, which will in turn stimulate the economy. This will in itself create more jobs and allow more people to get back to work. Who will in turn buy things and stimulate the economy even more.

    February 25, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  40. Sue from Redwood City

    The most important priority is job creation, especially through green technology. The least important is money for the arts, that's pure fluff and should not have even been on the list.

    February 25, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  41. Dakota Don from Akra

    Leading by 20 lengths down the stretch is energy self sufficiency. The worldwide economic collapse has only temporarily alleviated collapsing production from the worlds 800 largest oil fields, currently declining at 6% annually. Simple arithmetic says it's either pedal to the metal to get off oil or it's going to get really, really, really ugly out there.

    February 25, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  42. James R -Jonesboro,Ga.

    The items that I would like to see first is jobs and health care,foreclosures
    and bailouts and all the rest are important,but everything can't be fixed at the same time.

    February 25, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  43. David

    Most Important. Preserve and create jobs for Americans.
    Eliminate the visa program used to bring in foreign workers, Mandate all materials used for government projects be US made, Legalize and tax Marijuana, give tax breaks to companies bringing jobs back to the US, Penalize severely employers who hire illegals.

    Least important. Homeland security as we currently know it. We are wasting millions harassing air travelers, which have proven to be infective. Meanwhile our borders and ports are wide open. Redeploy the resourcesl to something potentially effective..

    February 25, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  44. Susan Haught

    Health Care and the ecomomy. I pay $400. a month for health insurance on a min. wage 40 hrs. a wk. job. How much do you have left? Not much. How would you like to work 40 hrs. and bring home almost nothing? If I had that extra money I would sure do something else with it. Like maybe pay my property taxes. And maybe some new clothes or a pair of shoes.. I have health care but I don't go to the doctor because I can't afford it. My deductibles are too high. And so are my co pays. I just pay thousands dollars a year for health care just in case of an emergency.. This is a big problem for this country and finally we have Pres. Obama who atleast is willing to do something. I don't care what it costs this country. I care what is happening to the citizens of this country who are work hard every day just to have a fair chance. It's time for the middle class to get something for all these years. If the rich tax cuts worked so well why are we in this mess.Greed from the Rich and the GOP.

    February 25, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  45. lynnej from lattimore, nc

    Most important priorities are healthcare, jobs, housing, education for all, including adults, and getting out of the Middle East.

    People need to be healthy in order to work and go to school. They can't do that if they're sick. They need jobs that pay a decent wage that pays for decent housing and affordable schools all across the board to further one's chances or enhance their skills.

    We must learn to respect the views and way of life in the Middle East. We may not agree with it, but we must respect the various countries and whom they choose as leaders. The first way to do that is to leave the area and to their own devices.

    I hate to be selfish but it is about us now, not the rest of the world.

    February 25, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  46. KarenB, centralFlorida

    Economic survival of the country and the citizens of this country is
    the most important priority. Probably for every person you poll, you'll get a different answer - and a different approach to the solution.

    February 25, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  47. Dee in Florida


    1. the economy. We need jobs, period!

    2. Get OUT of Iraq. Maybe even just get out of the war business altogether. It is such a waste.

    3. Regulation. Start with the banks and financial institutions, then regulate imports more strictly. But for Pete's sake USE COMMON SENSE.

    4. Get energy independent.

    5. More money for scientific research, less for war. We need to know if the problems we think we are facing globally are real, and start trying to fix them. Otherwise, what's the point of steps 1 thru 4?

    February 25, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  48. Paulet, Connecticut

    Just as the President said and quite well, Health Care, Energy and Education. The Health Care takes care of a lot of obstacles facing small and large business as well as individuals, Energy takes care of new and emerging business objectives and Education just falls right in with it all whether it be our crumbling schools or retraining workers or new technologies for highschool graduates.
    It appears that we have financed this at least 3 or 4 times over in Iraq with no complaints from the GOP including that shameful atrocity called an embassy in Bagdad and it's about time we finance for our own well being.
    I remember having to refinance my house in the early 90's and taking a little extra money to enclose my breezeway and not even with solid walls just storms and screens for a seasonal room. That room gave me great pleasure, especially when I had to write out a check monthly for a larger amount of money.

    February 25, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  49. Betty, San Diego, Ca.

    The most important priorities for the nation are the economy, energy, health-care, education, infrastructure, Iraq, and Afghanistan. We have waited more than two hundred years for some of these priorities. We can not wait any longer. We have to do them all at once.

    February 25, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  50. Jeff in Glen Carbon IL

    He is right about Energy, He is right about Healthcare. Education not so much. Nearly none of the local school budgets are funded by the federal government and probably would be better if none were. Now, if we were to be so bold as to have free college, like several European countries, that would be a whole 'nother story!

    February 25, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  51. Scott

    The most important is jobs, economy..healthcare and what can wait is nothing, anything president obama says does need to be done thats why he is my president, he knows what needs to be done

    February 25, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  52. Karen Salvatore

    There is a reason we have two ears and one mouth. Let's adapt an unwritten rule for newly elected Presidents: Negative comments allowed after day 100. Until then, shut up and listen!

    February 25, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  53. r.c

    End the war on drugs,stop the lies and legalize, marijuana as medicine or industrial product would create jobs and taxes would be in the trillions.I live in Oregon Iam a marijuana patient,I am not a criminal!!!!

    February 25, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  54. Donna Pearce

    A ROOF OVER OUR HEADS!, a chicken in every pot, health and education for all our citizens and love and support of our elderly and veterans. Jobs!, Jobs!, Jobs! world peace and News Reporting That Will Tell The True Story Of The Plight Of The Public without rose colored glasses. Donna Pearce Inwood,N.Y. Thanks Jack your the man!

    February 25, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  55. Stephanie from Montreal

    One priority that cannot wait is EDUCATION. If there is any hope for the future, it will come from the innovation, intellect and resourcefulness of our future leaders. At present, schools boards are eliminating courses and overcrowding classes, just to keep above water. Shame on any government that fails to nurture young minds, or fails to honor those dedicated to inspiring them.

    February 25, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  56. Missy M

    The most important priority is fighting the war on the southern US border and sadly, there was no mention of this in the president's speech, so clearly he is not concerned with fighting the overflow of drug cartel wars in Mexico, stopping dangerous drug smugglers and tackling kidnappings in Phoenix (Phoenix, by the way is the kidnap capital of the world behind Mexico City – more people get kidnapped in Phoenix than in Iraq or Somalia, yet this gets not even a mere mention from the president).

    Missy M. Phoenix, Arizona, where it is sunny and 85 degrees

    February 25, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  57. Tom Ft Lauderdale


    Politically it's find Bin Laden. If Obama tracks this camel jockey down Obama will take his place in history.

    February 25, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  58. Chuck Dorr Appleton,Me.

    The most important thing is to get out of Iraq! That cost is what has dragged us down. We need health care reform and real fisical responsibility in our budget.

    February 25, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  59. Don Windsor, Missouri

    I consider the defeat of E-VERIFY as one of the most damaging things to affect the US economy, something that has never been addressed by this NEW administration.Am I just imagining this or is it REAL?

    February 25, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  60. James from Ohio

    Healthcare, because everything else is effected and affected by the adequacy or inequities in our Healthcare system.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  61. Tim in Texas

    Obama nailed them. That's why I voted for him and it is why I will continue to vote for him even if he cannot achieve every goal he sets. At a minimum, he has goals, he understands that these goals are connected to eachother, and he thinks about the long-term stability and standing of the country.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  62. John, Fort Collins, CO

    Energy, health care, and education are a necessity for today and for the future. All the others he mentioned: Medicare reform, Social Security reform, tax reform, and reforming the pay and benefit excesses of Detroit, are "priorities" that are going to foot the bill. If you are a beneficiary in any of these categories be prepared to serve your country. I am, and I understand we who can have a moral obligation to look beyond the free lunch and help.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  63. carolyn of louisiana

    healthcare and jobs should be the top two and are related. the cost and inefficiency of the healthcare system are straining our pocketbooks and contributing to some of the job loss.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  64. Glen

    Energy should be the top priority. Next should be education, followed by Health Care.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  65. Maureen Diner

    Reforming public education! PRIORITY. The next generation MUST be able to compete with the rest of the world or the USA will become a Third World Country.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  66. Julie in Orlando FL

    We dug long and deep (nearly to China) to get in this mess. Everything is a priority. Solving the key issues: jobs, education, health care, green energy, returning our service men and women home, etc. etc. are all necessary to dig us out of this hole. Time to wake up the Sleeping Giant, or is he sleeping in? We'll see.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  67. Larry

    Good healthcare, Sick can't work. Sick and can't afford healthcare. Can't work. Good healthcare with no "boot to throat" by corporation or employer trumps Jobs.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  68. Jim Green, Seguin, TX www.Inclusivism.org

    Jack, this is easy--Don't fix unemployment-and all other successes in the economic stuimulus program will be for naught-I have the solution....see my web page....

    February 25, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  69. Gigi

    1. Get rid of the corruption in Washington
    2. Get rid of the banking corruption
    3. Get rid of the IRS and reform the tax structure

    These can wait bailing out corrupt business. They line their pockets first.
    1 .Banking
    2. home finance
    3. Auto

    February 25, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  70. Frost/Tennessee

    you have to eat today to have strength to plant a crop for tomorrow..

    it all ties in to a great future..

    I'm sick of the republican rebuttal... Spending our children's future , If we don't survive today.. there is no future for our children..

    We need it all.. and there is a balance to it...

    February 25, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  71. Don Mars in Maryland

    It's a no brainer..NO MORE WALL STREET WELFARE!

    February 25, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  72. Graham

    Get a life, Jack. Obama is "born" to this – speaking to Congress? being president? Gimme a break. He's a dadgum Democrat. How would you expect he would be received (in a Democrat controlled Congress? Does that make him "special" in your mind?

    February 25, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  73. Jean-Michel

    The most important thing for this country is to restore confidence between the political world, wall and main street. All the rest can wait.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  74. Pam, West Virginia

    The most important is a no-brainer – the economy and jobs. We have got to get our country moving in the right direction again. The greedy bastards on Wall Street have just about done us all in and it is past time that they get their comeuppance.

    Least important? Gay rights and fighting about religion.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  75. KB in Portland, OR

    Eight years of total neglect of our country by the Republicans has now made EVERYTHING a priority!!!

    February 25, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  76. theemurman1

    I must have walked out of the room. But I didn't hear anything about our illegal alien probelm. Then a hour later Im watching a homeland security show on T.V. Lets handle that if you want to save some money. There sucking us DRY.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  77. Tom C Pasadena, CA

    1. Jobs
    2. Getting the banks to lend money
    3. Saving mortgages of responsible homeowners

    ...and fixing the damn post office! Ok, it's a "feel good" thing but damnit,
    why do they keep losing money and sponsoring a NASCAR team? If the government can't fix the post office how can they hope to fix the banks?

    February 25, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  78. John F. Vienna VA

    The Bush and Cheney Libraries should top the list of items taken out of the budget (I know that they aren't really paid for by the taxpayers). I think that we should offer to let the two share the space in the soon to be vacated Gitmo facility. Complete with hot and cold running water for water boarding. With their intellects we don't need to worry about holding much inventory.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  79. sharon Boyce, RN

    Race relations need to be addressed weekly because we still have racial inequality and prejudices that are trying to hinder President Obama's agenda to help the America people and America. But as President Obama stated at his inarguration, these people are on the wrong side of the solution and they are on shaky grounds. He (President Obama) is already receiving true supernatural help from God. The God that Americans(some) only give lip service to. Watch the God that we truely serve come through not many days hence with his servant that he has put in place to lead us. Togetherness is the key. However, some devious people in the senate and the world only care about their own. How sad!
    Sharon Boyce

    February 25, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  80. Terri Livatino , Buenos Aires , Argentina

    Jack–it's EDUCATION,EDUCATION, EDUCATION.........my 26 year old son, who lost his dream job in November, went to a job fair yesterday. His focus is on Latin American business. He asked the representative of a particular company if it had branches in Latin America, in particular, Brazil.........after much thought, she said , "YES !! We have a branch in New Mexico !! And, by the way, did you learn to speak Spanish in Brazil ?"

    We need help...................

    Terri Livatino
    Buenos Aires, Argentina

    February 25, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  81. Gary H. Boyd, Scottsdale, Arizona

    The most important thing America should do right now is recognize reality and declare itself bankrupt. By all standards on the subject, we are but just won't admit it.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  82. chuck in bishop ca.

    jack, for my wife and I it would be health care, and not the kind that is run by an insurance company. Heath care should be looked at just like having good law enforcement, fire dept. or the military for that matter, we all benefit from it and we should all pay for it. We will all need health care at some point in our lives and insurance companies are not the way to go forward. My relatives in Europe are very happy with their system, maybe we could learn something.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  83. Jason, Galion OH

    This president never fails to move me with his efforts and demeanor. Left to his own power I believe he could accomplish everything he said in his latest speach.
    The boneheads in congress are his only real stumbling block. They lack imagination, vision, common sense, and any degree of maturity.
    If Pres. Obama fails to do any of the important things on his to-do list, it will because of them. I agree with you Jack, we need a revolution to clear out the nit-wits from Washington. I am not saying Obama is perfect, but compared to the rest of our so-called " leadership", he shines like a star.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  84. Tom from vero beach

    One priority I would like to see met is in response to all those critics of benchmarks added to the stimulus and other congressional bills - give the President the line item veto.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  85. Bob in Taiwan

    Getting out of wars in Iraq & Afghanistan which are only generating more enemies by the day, then use the money saved to help stimulate a usable transit system, lessening our dependence on oil.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  86. Delia

    The economy (including the banks and jobs) is the top priority! It's amazing how much President Obama has on his plate! He's actually made it a platter now! I think Mr. Bush might have used a demi-cup saucer for what he completed in 2 terms!

    February 25, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  87. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    Bringing our troops home, closing down Gitmo, jobs, investigating the past administration and prosecuting when necessary and everything else. Nothing can wait.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  88. Dave from NH

    Jobs has to be the most important issue. But there will not be any jobs created if all we hear is doom and gloom at every turn. Lighten up with all the negative rhetoric and maybe the employers will dare to hire back some of the unfortunate who have been laid off. Keeping a positive outlook will help a lot. It ain't that bad!

    February 25, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  89. Steve Shade

    The first priority should be creating jobs for people. That will take time, so the President's idea of extending unemployment benefits is a step in the right direction.
    I live in an area just west of Dayton, Ohio, which until recently, was a General Motors city. They've closed up shop and I've never seen unemployment as bad in my lifetime as it is in this area. Everyday people are getting the brunt of this recession and need help.
    Restoring faith in our banking system that's been lost should go right with job creation.
    Thankfully, I bank at a Credit Union that is sound, honest and healthy!

    February 25, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  90. Judy

    Reworking energy policy is a prime priority to get us off oil, reduce global warming and to get the U.S. to the forefront in developing new technology that we can sell to the rest of the world (if we are first). Reforming the education system (including charter schools and rewarding performance) rather than just putting more money to the broken system is a priority. The health care system needs fixing and President Obama has a plan that will be less expensive in the end and yet care for more people. He will have to compromise with Republicans on all three issues. The fourth priority and yet a very important one is that we have an exit strategy for getting out of the Afghanistan/Pakistan conflicts.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  91. James in Atlanta


    We need to fix so many problems ignored over the past eight years and to pick one over the other would be hard. We need to get clean made in the USA energy, we need education and health care for US and the people who will be taking our place in the near future. We need jobs!

    We need to limit our police actions abroad!

    The financial industry needs a whole new paradime.

    Most of all we need to ignore the GOP and their policies that got us into this mess.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  92. Tom in Missouri

    The most important priority should be to return the executive branch to the rule of law that governs everyone else. Solving our national problems will be much easier if we truly achieve the transparency and credibility that can only be obtained by a thorough examination of the people and policiies that created our problems. We need to know we're a nation of laws not lawbreakers.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  93. Leslie Williams from New Jersey

    Shouldn't our priorities follow mankind's basic needs of food, clothing and shelter? Address the rising unemployment rate and the housing market crisis first. All other issues, though important are extensions of these areas. First things first, it's the Law of Consequential Order.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  94. Andrew, Frederick MD

    I think the president is doing a fine job making this question known jack. First and for most is to fix the economy. Second its these wars we are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. I tie health care and education into the economy. All things Obama is tackling as we speak.

    I don't think anything can wait jack! Anything that needs to be fixed needs to be done. I don't think auto industry can wait or medicare. We need to get more all electric vehicles out there. The Tesla all electric car can go 250 miles before a recharge. That's farther then most Americans drive to and from work and on a daily use. If your a speed and power car lover. It can go 0-60 in 3.9 sec. Of course we will still need gas powered cars. But in the long run we need to cut back on oil consumption. We are asking for a major problem if we are going to rely on the unstable middle east to run are transportation.

    On mass transit several countries have these improved bullet trains that travel several hundreds of miles per hour. There is no reason we shouldn't take advantage of better technology.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  95. Karen Ferriday

    How about showing some real respect for eductaion and teachers? The President wants everyone to have a high school diploma and, preferably, a college diploma. What highly educated teachers will want to stay in this field with the current salaries being paid? Just as the president mentioned the importance of education in his speech last night my twenty-something daughter, who graduated at the top of her class with an MA in education and is a dedicated teacher at a large, low income high school in New Mexico, was calling to say her pay would go down next year – not only no increase, but more $$ bing taken for medical insurance and retirement. In addition she must fight every day for supplies for her students in her art classroom ir pay for those out of her own pocket! She can't pay her bills now at a take home salary of $24,000 a year! Someone has to start putting some money where their mouths are if we're to attract & keep good, highly educated teachers and raise the level of education in this country!

    February 25, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  96. Carol - Tennessee

    I think the President has identified the biggest drain on our economy, since it affects jobs, which affect everything else. That one thing is our terrible health care system. I don't care what you call it, the U.S. is the only industrialized nation in the world that doesn't have Universal Health Care. And for all those Republicans who start screeching about socialism, let us remind them that THEY have Universal Health Care paid for by the citizens of this country. If it is good enough for them, it should be good enough for the rest of the country.

    I think that one of the things that could be left on the cutting room floor is endowments to the arts. I'm not against the individualism that creates artists, etc. However, I think that people dying because their insurance company won't cover their treatment should be a higher priority – the arts can wait a while. Raise the cost of admission to the theater, the museums, etc. It doesn't seem to be a problem with sports. The ball clubs of the country charge what the market will bear and I don't see any of them getting subsidies from the government.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  97. Andrew in Tuscaloosa, AL

    Increased funding for education, incentives for recruiting new teachers, and stricter evaluations (with reward programs) for teachers we have are the most important issues. I was fortunate enough to go to a very good public high school and was very well prepared for college because of it, but even at my school there were some bad teachers. A great percentage of American youth are being taught by schools filled with bad teachers and are being set up to fail. The biggest problem is teacher pay. Many of the best minds go into the private sector instead of teaching because the income potential is apples to oranges. Reforming Medicare, and helping the auto industry can wait.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  98. Mark, OKC, OK

    Health care is the most important, along with Homeland Security. There are a LOT of people out there in the world who want to kill us. Saving the Auto Industry can wait. Let them sink or swim on their own.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  99. Bruce, Georgia

    Unification, partisanship can wait.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  100. carson

    the most important thing all we do is to unite all of us to confront what ever is neccessary altogether.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  101. carol graham

    The time for the most important economic stimulus (in $$$) may have passed by, but public confidence in the USA to be the greatest leader still has time. I thought Obama's speech was very inspiring. This country needs inspiration!

    I have been worried about our capacity as a country to still lead. Our youth is lazy and they don't understand the consequences of their lack of action. They don't understand their place as a potential leader.

    We have in the past been on the cutting edge of many technologies that have launched the world into comfortable and efficient places/conveniences. We have lost sight of our position as a humanitarian leader and innovator. Last night, I felt hope! I hope other parents and their children watched, and felt the same.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  102. Anna

    A priority should be getting facts straight. Obama talked about retooling the automotive industry in the country that invented the automobile. Is he planning on retooling Germany's auto industry, or was he mistaken in believing that the automobile was invented in the U.S? A common misconception in this country, but quite a faux pas all the same! That aside, a great performance and if anyone can fix the biggest priority, an economy in free fall, he can. This includes spending to create jobs, building a green economy, and improving education and healthcare (which costs more than any other country per person while leaving many without basic healthcare – shameful!).

    February 25, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  103. Randy from Salt Lake City

    Most important would be ending both illegal wars and closing the 731 military installations throughout the world and cutting taxes for the middle class significantly. If this administration did just those things, we'd solf the budget crisis.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  104. John in Simi Valley, CA


    The President's top three are corrrect but I think the order is wrong, i think the order should be:

    1. Healthcare
    2. Education
    3. Energy

    I think that a lot can wait but it seems that President Obama thinks that the country can't. When is the last time you saw a new President actually take on all that he talked about in his campain. You have to commend him for keeping his word even in these toubled times.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  105. Torry in Atlanta, GA

    We need to continue to invest in out economy first... If companies are not profitable and people are not working then we will have a deficit much worse than the small investment of getting our country back going. Second it is extremely important to eradicate the Islam extremist. Third is to make healthcare universal, we are the only western civilization without it, and no one complains of our socialized police department, Social Security, fire departments, and Military!. Although flawed, they work well and we would not have it any other way.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  106. John Montana

    Oh, I almost forgot. We could save still billions more, if we stop crop dusting innocent farmers in Latin America (and elsewhere). C'mon, they're just farmers Jack. They are providing a product Americans want. Then Americans come in and destroy their livelihood. It might help with foreign relations as well.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  107. Bill Powers

    Thanks Jack, for asking for my comment:

    The United States of America should be funding Stem Cell Research " NOW !" This Stem Cell Funding
    will create good paying jobs, save lives, and eventually lower the cost of Health Care for all Americans.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  108. James V.

    Which are the most important priorities that need immediate attention? That's easy Jack, tax policies that favor more than just tax cuts for the high income set, job increases and universal health care. In fact, lets make Health care #1 because no matter how much money a person has, nobody has yet figured out how to take it with you , not even Bernie Madoff. But , I'll bet he's trying about now, Jack.

    James V

    February 25, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  109. Libbie Lee

    Everything is a priority – because whatever happens or fails to happen affect us all. So, I guess if I must choose, it will be that there be a priority to locate "peace of mind," "hope," a belief that in our lifetime we will wake up and realize that this was just a bad dream.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  110. Steve - Mich

    oh yeah, forgot to include energy in that list.
    Start building huge windfarms solar farms, and geothermal plants.
    As well instigate massive solar and wind production on commercial rooftops.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  111. Karl from SF, CA

    Without jobs, the rest don’t matter. Education and health care are part of the jobsrecovery package so they are important too. Banks have gotten enough and will survive, if they live through those wild parties they throw for themselves. Balancing the budget can be on the back burner until there is a stable economy to support the balancing act.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  112. Anthony Maccaroni

    At the top of the list is Health Care. Let's finally make significant improvements/changes in the system. Health care should be so affordable that the premiums are an afterthought. Closing the gap between the rich and poor is a top priority. Making education more affordable is 3rd with renewable energy investment close behind.

    What can wait is tax cuts for the rich (or for anyone for that matter). Defense spending can wait.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  113. Loretta

    I voted for President Obama because he was against the Iraq War. Now I am waiting for him to get our troops out of the Middle East where we do not belong. We are not the liberators, we are the interlopers and the invaders. How would we like it if the shoe was on the other foot and we had Middle Eastern soldiers occupying our towns and cities. So far, he seems to have given his attention to everything but the return of our sons and daughters from wars that should never have been fought. This should be his most immediate priority.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  114. Gary Vavra

    Instead of giving so much money to the banks, how about lending it to our new college graduates who owe student loans to these same banks at 7-8 and 9%. Lets loan it to our children at 2% and let them spend the money that they save on lower student loan payments on our economy. Right now, their student loans are 50% of their income. Then they have to pay rent and pay for living expenses leaving them nothing to add to the ecomomy. What do you think?

    February 25, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  115. kay king

    jobs – economy – affordable and available health care – illegal immigrants

    What I dislike – rescuing rich bankers, allowing credit companies to have an 18 month window to prey on the public before new laws take effect, pouring money into failed auto makers....and always pork and more pork from both sides of the aisle.

    I'm sick of the racial posturing on networks and by politicians – it's time people got over themselves (on both sides), stopped whining and seeing every stupid comment as "racist", and started working together to save this country. If this economy fails, we all fail.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  116. Russ Porter, Richmond VA

    The first priority should be to require politicians to read the law before they open their mouth.

    Take for example a governor who would refuse rescue money to supplement unemployment benefits. The premise is that it would force the state to increase taxes on businesses down the road when the extra money runs out.

    Does Louisiana Law prohibit legislation with sunset provisions? Nope. But if that doesn’t suit him, then put the extra money in a trust and write a law that stipulates when the trust is empty the extra benefits end.

    This looks to me like political grandstanding at the expense of the unemployed. How low can we go?

    February 25, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  117. Steve (Ft Lauderdale Fl )

    First of all impeachment to all those not doing there best to get america working again, Second, lower the cost of housing so someone can really pay for it.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  118. Nicole

    Our number one priority should be health care reformation because a healthier America is a productive America. You can't stay healthy if you can't afford to go to the doctor or pay for your necessary medications. Next, we should focus on education because it is sorely lacking. The children truly are our future and we have to ensure that they are prepared to run this country efficiently and effectively. Finally, energy because that is where we will have job creation.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  119. carol graham

    I agree we are in the Middle East and we do not belong. But we are there, and we (Dem. Rep. other) chose to be there, so now we get out with least damage to the world.

    The world does rely on our economy and leadership. It's time we became innovators and leaders again.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  120. Rita Grace Williams, Southfield MI

    We have to get the economy back on track which includes a stable banking system, increasing jobs and reducing home foreclosures. Some of this is underway. I think the President does have the right priorities. I believe new jobs can be created via energy programs and the creation of mass transit. I am convinced we can begin Health Care Reform by “getting rid of fraud and waste in Medicare”. If we review and eliminate wasteful spending and earmarks, we will have all the money we need to improve education, healthcare and build alternate energy sources. With that, we will be well on our way to full economic recovery.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  121. Olivia from VA


    HEALTHCARE is the priority! Small businesses like mine can afford to hire people if we are not strangled to death by Insurance companies! It would be the biggest economic boom this country has ever seen if we can free up small business to do what it does best: create jobs!

    February 25, 2009 at 6:48 pm |