Ross: ‘I don’t quite understand’ why federal workers need food banks during shutdown

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday that he was confused why thousands of federal workers, who’ve already missed one paycheck, are relying on food banks during the partial government shutdown.

Ross said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that he didn’t understand why some of the roughly 800,000 unpaid federal workers have flocked to food banks for meals instead of taking out loans against back pay guaranteed by a bill President Trump signed last week.

“I know they are and I don’t really quite understand why,” said Ross, who’s reportedly worth roughly $700 million.

One thought on “Ross: ‘I don’t quite understand’ why federal workers need food banks during shutdown”

  1. I don’t understand why the “average” government worker has so much trouble living on what they earn. Supposedly everyone in this country lives paycheck to paycheck, but surely thay have X dollars in savings, or a credit card they can use to tide them over.

    Once the partial shutdown is over, every government employee will get fully paidup back pay. PayPal is offering interest free loans, for those is need.

    These people can always apply for unemployment compensation (which would need to be paid back when they get paid eventually), and many have enjoyed their “vacation time” off in the meantime. It’s beyond my comprehension that these folkers are so destitute that they must rush to a food bank or hit the pawn shops to survive.

    The Cato Institute recently released a report summarizing the wages of federal workers and how well they are doing compared to their private sector counterparts. In 2014, the average federal employee salary was $84,153, approximately 50% more than the average private sector worker earned. This discrepancy increases to 78% when benefits are included. The average federal worker costs the government (aka taxpayers) $119,934.

    The Cato study showed that federal government work had the fourth highest compensation as of 2014, eclipsed only by company management functions at $143,809, utilities at $135,055, and mining at $135,003. Federal government employees fare better than information management employees ($118,678), finance/insurance ($118,007), and those in the professional/scientific disciplines ($106,020). The average government worker salary is more than twice that of the average educational worker ($56,201) and over three times that of retail workers ($36,650).


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