Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross On Shutdown: 'Let Them Eat Loans'
We're entering the second month of a government shutdown because a very dumb president wanted WALL to "fix" a problem in his own racist mind. Federal employees unwillingly cast in Donald Trump's Oliver! revival are set to miss another paycheck on Friday. Instead of imaginary migrant caravans crashing at their lake houses, they're facing repo men coming to take their furniture and first born.
There's no end in sight for Trump's temper tantrum, and affected workers are desperate. They've turned to food banks and charitable donations to feed their families. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was asked about this sorry state of affairs on CNBC's "Squawk Box," and the former "King of Bankruptcy" was utterly flabbergasted over the struggling proles' unseemly beggary.
ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: There are reports that there are some federal workers who are going to homeless shelters to get food.
ROSS: Well, I know they are, and I don't really quite understand why.
Yeah, what a bunch of dummies! No wonder they're poor. Don't they know they can just take out a federally guaranteed loan! It's unclear though what assets they'd offer as security for the loan. Their 2009 Honda Accord?
ROSS: Now true, the people might have to pay a little bit of interest, but the idea that it's paycheck or zero is not a really valid idea.
Just a "little bit" of interest coupled with the "little bit" of pain Lara Trump mentioned earlier this week. This whole administration is full of clueless Mary Sunshines. Ross hasn't the foggiest idea what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck, as so many Americans do. This "little bit" of interest could ruin them even if they received back pay. Banks aren't offering "Trump Fucked Me Sideways" loans at just 2 percent.
Ross also dismissed as "hyperbole" the argument that Trump's shutdown is damaging "America's brand." It claims the whole unpleasantness shouldn't have any major impact on the gross domestic product. Because that's what federal employees want to hear when they've come home from selling their blood: At least the GDP is OK.
ROSS: Put it in perspective: You're talking about 800,000 workers and while I feel sorry for individuals who have hardship cases, 800,000 workers if they never got their pay ― which is not the case they will eventually get it ― but if they never got it, you're talking about a third of the percent on our GDP. So it's not like it's a gigantic number overall."
How do we put this politely? What the fuck kind of "commerce" secretary is he? The shutdown is a disaster on all scales of measurement, even if you don't count -- since you are a Trumper -- the moral one. White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett admitted that thanks to the shutdown, US economic growth in the first quarter of 2019 could be zero. That's the same number of human hearts Ross has. Paul Krugman of the New York Times pointed out the absurd hypocrisy of Ross's claim that 800,000 federal employees not getting paid is no big deal. Ross has been leading the US into a trade war on behalf of his beloved steel industry, which employs far fewer people.
The airline industry is also cratering. The shutdown is actively risking lives because TSA officers and air traffic controllers are working overtime and without pay. Many employees are calling out sick so they can wait tables or pick up some Uber shifts. Delta reported a loss of $25 million and not just because they suck. That's normally not a debilitating problem for them. No, fewer government employees and contractors are traveling. It really does seem like master negotiator Trump shutting down the government on a dare from Ann Coulter wasn't ideal for the economy's longterm health.
Ross is greatly disturbed by what's going on at the airlines. He's "disappointed" that the employees would call out sick in such large numbers like common Ferris Buellers.
We're not sociopaths like Lara Trump so we wouldn't suggest that the needless suffering human beings are experiencing right now serves any higher purpose. It's literally pointless and cruel. However, we are seeing a real time documentary of how pretty much everyone in the mad king's circle is hopelessly disconnected from the reality of working people, even those who work for the very same government they're currently running into the ground.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).