Legacy time. Who wants to be known as the savior of small business? Will it be Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- or both?
People are going to study this period. Young students will read about it. They will decide who was heroic, who reached across the aisle, who recognized that some things are bigger than politics.
You want to be on the right side of history.
That means if you are Pelosi and Mnuchin, you want to be able to take some spare funds that were taken from the Federal Reserve, add in some more, and craft at least an additional $908 billion to act as insurance for small businesses that are going to fail if they don't get help.The money's needed for unemployment insurance, too. There are just too many people about to lose their jobs -- and I think we will see that when we get the non-farm labor report on Friday. I am not saying that business is bad. I am saying that some businesses, the ones in the cross hairs of Covid, are desperate as are the people who work at them.
Earlier this year Secretary Mnuchin worked hard with a Democratic-controlled house to create the Paycheck Protection Plan. As someone who took the money with my partners for an inn and two restaurants, I can tell you it really worked. We stayed open for the restaurants as long as the authorities would allow us, and the inn's now doing well.
But the restaurants? They are major sources of Covid, and they can't be run safely, unless you rip out a lot of seats and get the air circulating correctly.
That's just way too difficult for most restaurants.
The Mnuchin-Pelosi pact kept this economy going along with the liquidity that the Fed provided
What a shame if we don't help these businesses just when the finish line is in sight, courtesy of Operation Warp Speed. I think there could be some real chaos when the vaccines are present, but that will be solved, too, because the Army is in control, and it is non-political in its orientation.
The Paycheck Protection Program saved a lot of jobs. But if you let the saved institutions go under now, you are talking about up to 40% of the enterprises going under, because there is no cash coming in. There is, however, plenty of cash coming out.
Lots of companies, like ours, got a rent break and decided to mothball until the vaccine is adopted in a widespread way. We are committed to losing money to be the last man or woman standing when we beat the pandemic. Why not, we can handle the losses.
But how about so many others? We see all of these ads for different credit card companies talking about buying small, about patronizing local, about helping out those who might otherwise be about to go under.
I have news for these banks: It isn't enough. It's time to offer insurance to anyone who is left to make sure that we get through to when it seems like there will be a combination of already infected and already vaccinated.
And the unemployed? Again we are almost at the finish line. Give them larger benefits, so they can put dinner on the table while they look for new work.
Only Mnuchin and Pelosi can get this done. I believe that the Republicans in the Senate will go for this, provided that the aid is relegated to those who are being crushed.
There is no more time to waste. The right side of history awaits. Sadly, the wrong side awaits, too