Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday that he doesn’t “understand” why federal workers who haven’t been paid in weeks are going to food banks during the ongoing shutdown.
Ross, who reportedly has a net worth of about $700 million, said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that he doesn’t see why thousands of unpaid federal workers have been relying on food banks when they could take out loans.
"I know they are and I don’t really quite understand why," he said. "So the 30 days of pay that some people will be out, there’s no real reason why they shouldn’t be able to get a loan against it, and we’ve seen a number of ads of financial institutions doing that."
He added, "These are basically government-guaranteed loans because the government has committed, these folks will get back pay once this whole thing gets settled down. So there is really not a good excuse why there really should be a liquidity crisis now.
"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," he continued.
Ross went on to say that the shutdown won’t have a large impact on America’s image or economy.
"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 GDP so it's not like it's a gigantic number overall.”
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