Not Spending Money Is Mortgaging America’s Future, Obama Says

By Fred Lucas | April 28, 2011 | 3:51 PM EDT

President Barack Obama speaking with reporters about his birth certificate, April 27, 2011 (AP photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

( – Deficits are not the only thing that could mortgage America’s future, President Barack Obama told Democratic donors in New York on Thursday. He stressed that if government does not spend money in certain areas, it would be mortgaging the country’s future.

“There’s more than one way to mortgage America’s future,” Obama said at The Town Hall in New York. “We mortgage that future if we don’t get a handle on our deficit and debt, but we also mortgage it if we’re not investing in those things that will assure the promise of the American Dream for the next generation.”

Obama, in the speech, broadly defined the government expenditures needed to ensure prosperity for the next generation that should not be sacrificed for deficit and debt reduction.

“I’m not going to sacrifice investments in education. I’m not going to make scholarships harder to get and more expensive for young people,” Obama said to a cheering crowd. “I’m not going to sacrifice the safety of our highways or our airports. I’m not going to sacrifice clean air and clean water. I’m not going to sacrifice clean energy at a time when we need to free ourselves from dependence on foreign oil, and folks are getting killed at the pump.”

The assertion that government spending is tied to America’s success has been a reoccurring theme in various speeches by Obama since he announced he is running for reelection. Delivering an address about his fiscal plan on April 13, Obama said of Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, “We are a better country because of these commitments. I’ll go further – we would not be a great country without those commitments.”

Obama made a similar statement at a San Francisco fundraising event a week later.

Obama spoke at three separate Democratic National Committee fundraising events in New York Wednesday evening.

“What makes America great isn’t just our skyscrapers. It’s not our military might. It’s not the size of our GDP,” Obama said at The Town Hall DNC event. “All those things are things that we are rightly proud of. But at our core, what makes us great is our character. We are individualists. We believe in free markets. We are entrepreneurs. We believe that each of us is endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights and liberties. We don’t like folks telling us what to do. That’s part of what makes us American.

“But what also makes us American is the idea that we’re all in this together, that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper, and that when I look out for somebody else I’m not doing it out of charity,” Obama continued. “If I’m driving through Harlem and I see a well-constructed school and young people that I know are being taught what they need to learn, my life is better.”

In each address, he compared the House Republican budget proposal – which he believes makes too many cuts – with his fiscal plan. The Republican plan would reduce the deficit by $6 trillion over a decade through spending cuts and entitlement reform, while Obama’s plan would reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over 12 years through some spending cuts and tax hikes.

“It’s a vision of a small America, of a shrunken America, where those of us who are lucky do great and don’t have to give anything back, and we can pull up the ladder behind us,” Obama said of the GOP plan at an earlier DNC fundraiser that same day at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

Of his plan, he said, “We imagine a big America where we’re investing in the same kind of science that invented the Internet.”