What do you think of the government’s handling of the economic shutdown as it affects small business?
As of the writing of this post, the government has still not passed a stimulus bill to combat the complete halt of the US economy. To be fair to both sides of the partisan aisle, it appears to be an issue which needs to be addressed on both sides. The Republican side appears to have little to no protections in place to ensure proper and intended use of the potential funds, while the Democrats appear to have serious concerns about business misuse of funds and an interest in and inadequate worker protections.
My concerns with these issues are two-fold. The Republicans should put reasonable and adequate protections in place for proper use of the government’s money and provide congress with the proper oversight they should constitutionally have as the purse holder. Likewise, the Democrats should be careful not to vilify businesses, especially small businesses. The small businesses are purely victims in this circumstance, and government officials need to cut through the red tape realizing that small business owners who can present history, have likely been doing the proper procedures the entire time are unlikely to take the money and run. Let’s assume good intentions.
Officials need to realize the absolute need to prioritize speed into their process in order to maintain reasonable economic growth going forward, and not completely stall the economy for an almost indefinite period of a year or years. Most small businesses within the USA, the backbone of the American economy in my opinion, cannot survive even a month with a complete and unexpected loss of revenue. This is further exacerbated by the requirement by the federal government that employees receive two weeks of paid leave with almost no need for documented evidence of why they are unable to work or when the government reasonably anticipates being able to lift such bans on everyday life. This should be a federal government responsibility, not passed on to millions of already struggling small business owners. I could easily envision a system where the IRS calculates an average wage over a 1 to 3 year period and send these individuals a 2 week equivalent stimulus check.
While it may be an uncomfortable realization, now is not a time for bickering or even reasonable oversight, if it at all delays the process of answering these pressing economic concerns. Small businesses are severely handicapped by the lack of information and timelines. While understandable that our leaders may not have answers to these questions yet, they need to begin dispersing funds to the American people immediately. If they are concerned about small business, ask for a submission of workers compensation policies, calculate the industry average and provide employers the money to pay their staff for an extended period of time. A time period longer than a reasonable person would assume this crisis will continue. Build a margin of error into the plan.
If you prefer not to utilize the small business channel, allow firms to defer any pending payments such as insurance, fixed payments, taxes, etc. and allow people to be laid off and collect unemployment without impacting an employer’s rating. Will some employers get lucky and win due to coincidence and happenstance? Yes and it’s perfectly acceptable in this environment, again prioritizing speed. This is not a time to evaluate nuance or outliers. It is a time to act.