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Trump Economic Adviser Reduces Workers to ‘Human Capital Stock’

Peter Wade

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While discussing whether the U.S. economy might recover this fall after the coronavirus downturn, a Trump economic adviser referred to the American worker as “human capital stock.”

Senior White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett made the wildly insensitive remark, first flagged by Aaron Rupar on Twitter, on Sunday after CNN’s Dana Bash asked whether unemployment numbers would remain in double digits come November.

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“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.


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.

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.

Hassett was also asked about increasing funding for food stamps and said he hadn’t raised the topic with Trump, saying, “I have not discussed with the president.”

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,” Hassert said. “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.”

A thoughtful and commonsense debate can be had about whether or not the funding requests from states are “absurd.” But calling human beings “stock” — especially as essential workers are putting their lives and bodies on the line right now — is undeniably absurd and heartless.

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