President Barack Obama urged Congress “to pass a budget that reflects our need to invest in our young people” on Friday, needling Republicans for an "obsession" with cutting domestic spending "for the sake of cutting."
“If you think education’s expensive, wait til you see how much ignorance costs,” he said during remarks at a Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Obama’s call for education spending came as lawmakers are poised to begin long-term budget negotiations before a mid-December deadline.
“This obsession with cutting just for the sake of cutting hasn’t helped our economy grow, it’s held us back,” he said.
Obama touted the school’s program to offer students an associate degree that helps them transition to a job in information technology.
“This is a ticket into the middle class, and it’s available to everybody who’s willing to work for it,” Obama said. “And that’s what it should be. That’s what public education is supposed to do.”
Obama said that past generations could find solid employment – often in the same field as their parents – and keep the same job for decades regardless of the quality of their education.
“If you were willing to work hard, you didn’t necessarily need a great education,” he said of the past, adding “those days are over, and those days are not coming back.”
He will attend two fundraisers while in New York.