We’re All “Human Capital Stock”

The Trump administration hasn’t been subtle about its motivations to re-open the country. It’s always been about profit over people. The president (and many in his orbit) don’t care if Americans die. White House adviser Kevin Hassett made that perfectly clear on Monday.

Hassett referred to American workers as “human capital stock.” It’s a phrase designed to strip people of their humanity and treat them like cogs in a system instead of actual human beings. It’s likely how extremely wealthy powerful people already refer to the working stiffs who build their power and wealth. But as per usual with the Trump administration, the mask is fully off.

“Human capital stock” might sound ridiculously callous, but it’s really the perfect term to describe how the Trump administration and many Republicans view the American people. Workers aren’t human beings with names or families—they’re numbers on a board, capitalistic cannon fodder, bodies to throw into the breach so the markets stabilize and executive bonuses can be doled out. The same attitude that produces “human capital stock” leads to real, actual journalism about investment bankers are “fed up” with coronavirus lockdown and how rich people are trying to avoid the “germ-ridden masses” on the way to their luxury yachts.

During the very same interview, Hassett wrote off states requesting more federal funding as “absurd” and offered no comment about the administration’s effort to cut food stamps during the pandemic. He also didn’t address Senate Republicans’ desire to pull COVID-19 unemployment benefits or their unwillingness to pass another stimulus package for the people who need it most.

Those are policies that might actually help people, but fortunately for Hassett and the rest of the Trump administration, Americans aren’t really people anymore.

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