Saturday, January 26, 2019

Wilbur Ross Says Stop Making Excuses!!

Some people believe that everyone is responsible for themselves and if you can't keep up with the pack, screw you. Now obviously not every rich person or conservative believes that. 

You could make a good argument that one of the reasons we have a President Trump is because of conservatives and other voters who specifically rejected a "free market" every man for himself and God against us all devil take the hindmost approach in favor of a more nationalist take care of our own approach - albeit one where "our own" implicitly and occasionally explicitly excludes people of the "wrong" race/religion/ethnic group. That may well be. But even so the primary concern of many economic elites wasn't even racism or sexism or any other ism. It was making more money and keeping more money at all costs. When you have millions of dollars and the aforementioned worldview, it's easy to forget that most Americans live paycheck to paycheck and are not millionaires. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recently did this when he expressed surprise that federal workers were living paycheck to paycheck and having to go to food banks.

On Thursday morning, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross — a man whose extraordinarily shady financial history doesn’t get the attention it deserves — appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” to talk about the government shutdown. He expressed bafflement at the idea of unpaid federal workers suffering financial hardship, wondering why they don’t just take out loans.

“There really is not a good excuse why there really should be a liquidity crisis,” he said. “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.” Told that some workers have been relying on food banks, he said, “I know they are, and I don’t really quite understand why.”  LINK

Ross is allegedly worth north of $700 million. His art collection alone is worth $150 million.
So for him, paychecks really aren't too important. But he ought to have the good sense to know that not everyone can afford to miss too many paychecks. Not everyone has millions of dollars in assets they could sell or millions of dollars in cash lying around in case of emergency. It might be too much to expect Ross to care about the plight of the cash poor plebes who work for the Federal government. But for political reasons if nothing else, Ross should have realized that tone deaf musings on a "liquidity crisis" didn't help his boss advance his agenda during the shutdown. Much the opposite. 

You have a "liquidity crisis" when you learn that your bank values your car and art collection about 3% less than you do so if you want to purchase that port in Rotterdam, you'll need to find another partner in the next six months. When the utility company is turning off service and you have to choose between filling your gas tank or eating, that's not a "liquidity crisis", that's being broke.
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