Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who’s worth about $700 million by Forbes’ estimate, has a suggestion for furloughed federal workers who can’t afford housing or food: Get a loan.
Appearing on CNBC on Thursday, Ross expressed perplexity at the fact that federal workers who are either furloughed or being forced to work are seeking help from homeless shelters and food banks — after more than a month without a paycheck, thanks to the record-long government shutdown.
“Well, I know they are, and I don't understand why,” Ross said.
Ross, who — again — is a multi-millionaire investor (though he has tried to pass himself off as a billionaire), said this problem could be easily solved by getting a loan from a bank. He also said that workers calling in sick needed to just suck it up, because they will eventually get paid.
“Banks and credit unions should be making credit available to them,” Ross said. “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.”
Ross went on to dismiss the government shutdown affecting 800,000 workers as “about a third of a percent of our GDP.”
“You're talking about 800,000 workers. And while I feel sorry for the individuals that 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 a percent on our GDP,” he said.
Many people were quick to note that Ross has enough money that he'll probably never have to worry about financial hardship.
Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to Ross’s remarks, comparing them to Marie Antoinette’s infamous statement about letting the poor eat cake.