Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) is concerned about the welfare of people suffering under the government shutdown. Furloughed workers are suddenly without a paycheck to count on and as the government remains closed, the uncertainty of when the next one will come is growing. Luckily Rep. Pearce has a solution: Just take out a private loan.
On his Facebook page Friday, the Congressman sent out this message of advice to people who may be in trouble:
"If you are a furloughed government employee, we encourage you to reach out to your financial institution as soon as you worry you may miss a paycheck. Financial Institutions often offer short-term loans and other resources. Don't wait until you are behind on a bill; call now and explore your options"
Yes, nothing helps the economic insecurity of being furloughed like adding interest rates to your mounting debt.
The post was quickly taken down and now Rep. Pearce’s spokesman is claiming that it was not the Congressman himself that even wrote it:
Pearce spokesman Eric Layer said a staffer, not the congressman, posted the comment. He acknowledged it wasn’t the most tactful message, since it’s the fault of Congress, not the workers, that the government shut down and paychecks have stopped.
“Yes that post was in error and placed by staff. It was removed because it was wrong,” Layer told The Huffington Post. “What the badly worded post should have conveyed is that many financial institutions have said they will not penalize people who have payment issues due to the federal furlough. But the important part is not to wait, but contact your financial institutions now, so they can adjust things.”[source]
It does, however, remind us of just how out of touch members of Congress can be when it comes to the plight of the average American. It doesn’t help that Rep. Pearce is ranked as the 46th richest member of Congress by Roll Call, which “reviews the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress”. His fortune is estimated to be around $8 million.
Adding insult to injury, New Mexico was ranked the 8th poorest state in the country in 2012, and in the last 12 months has seen a 3.6% decline in jobs. It might be easy for a millionaire to get a short term loan, but his constituents will find no easy solutions. ProgressNow New Mexico’s Patrick Davis, who has been covering this story from the beginning, had this to say:
“His constituents are among the poorest in the country, so going to the bank to take out a quick signature loan is not an option,” Davis said in a statement. “We urge New Mexicans to call Pearce and ask for a loan from him. He’s one of the richest millionaires in Congress. If he thinks private loans are the answer, he should be the first to offer them.”
Something tells me he won’t be as generous with his money as he is with his bad advice.