LAS VEGAS, NV — While the federal government sinks deeper into debt than any time since World War II, former White House “green jobs” adviser Anthony Van Jones said it was time to stop worrying about budget deficits and pressure Washington to take more money from American businesses to fund larger social and infrastructure projects.
“This is a rich country. We have plenty of money, and if you don’t believe me, ask Haliburton,” Jones told a group of progressive bloggers and activists at the Netroots Nation convention Friday. “There’s plenty of money out there; don’t fall into the trap of this whole deficit argument.”
“The only question is how to spend it,” he added.
American corporations currently face the second-highest corporate tax rate in the world, according to the Tax Foundation.
Jones, who rejoined the Center for American Progress after resigning from his White House post amid criticism for signing a petition calling for an investigation of the Bush administration’s prior knowledge of the September 11 terrorist attacks, also urged progressives to ease up on the criticism of President Obama.
“This is harder than it looks,” he said. “Having spent six months in the White House, it’s a totally different experience when you’re sitting there and the missiles are coming over the horizon at you.”
Only hours before, Democrats in the U.S. Senate announced they would not pass energy reform legislation before the November midterm elections, a cause Jones has championed throughout his career.
While Congress has passed major overhauls of the nation’s health care and financial systems since Obama took office, they have not successfully addressed a number of progressive issues, including federal immigration policy, union membership, and the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
Despite the setbacks, Jones urged progressives to get behind Obama and understand what he inherited when he took office.
“I can’t stand it,” Jones said of criticism of Obama from the Left. “President Obama volunteered to be the captain of the Titanic after it hit the iceberg.”