White House economic advisor Kevin Hassett Monday came under fire for a comment where he referred to American workers as “human capital stock.”
Hassett, an economist and a senior economic advisor to the president on the coronavirus response, made the remark on Sunday after CNN’s Dana Bash asked whether unemployment numbers would remain in double digits come November.
“Our capital stock hasn’t been destroyed, our human capital stock is ready to get back to work, and so there are lots of reasons to believe that we can get going way faster than we have in previous crises,” Hassett said.
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 25, 2020
“Calling people ‘stock’ is next level apathetic, and the way Hassett used the term so casually lines up with the lack of empathy shown to the victims of the coronavirus by Trump’s administration and Republicans since the crisis began months ago,” writes Rolling Stone’s Peter Wade. “Trump has moved ahead with attempts to cut food stamps during the crisis while Republicans in Congress have balked at passing a second stimulus package and are looking to phase out coronavirus-related unemployment benefits.”
Former Director of the Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub was among those condemning Hasset’s remarks.
“The phrase ‘human capital stock’ is repugnant. They’re more than happy to lose as many ‘units’ of our existing stocks as it takes to win an election,” he tweeted. “‘Sure, you may lose some units you care about. But, remember, we have plenty more where they came from. So, no biggie.'”
When asked what the administration was doing to increase funding for food stamps, Hasset said he hadn’t raised the topic with Trump.
Hassert also called the requests for additional funding coming from states “absurd” and “radical.”
“There’s already a lot of money for state and local governments… I think that a lot of the requests for state and local bailouts that you’re seeing out there up on the Hill are, like, radically, radically more money than the expected shortfall for the year… And the requests are kind of absurd,” Hassert said.