Reopening the Small Business Economy

Easter is upon us. Do your best to enjoy this day and spend it with family and friends. Regardless of your religious views, enjoy the slowdown (if it can get any slower) and reflect on the positive aspects of your life. If you can’t solely do only that read this post, reopening the small business economy.

Reading the New York Times this morning, I saw an update of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s thoughts on fighting the virus and reopening the economy. Within the article the Governor stated, 

“Reopening is both an economic question and a public health question, I’m unwilling to divorce the two. You can’t ask the people of this state or this country to choose between lives lost and dollars gained.” 

This statement is essentially the battle I have discussed in my most recent posts.  How do we balance this dilemma? How are we reopening the small business economy? Both appear equally dangerous. Different slants, but equally dangerous. Both will cost lives. In examining them, only one seems to have a viable, sustainable solution, and that is the healthcare crisis.  The economic model, while certainly not flawless, is the most effective model humans have been able to build thus far. I can envision a future where the model is adjusted to do better, but this will take time. Currently time is not something we have a lot of in regards to public safety or economic security. The healthcare portion of our crisis presents more opportunity. 

A Rolling Return to Normalcy

As Doctor Anthony Fauci, our nation’s leading infectious disease expert, stated in a CNN interview that was published in the New York Times today, stated a rolling return to normalcy is possible. However, a lot of this decision making ultimately falls to the state level. Governor’s of individual states will make these decisions at their discretion and the opinions of their advisers. As Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey stated in the same article referenced above, his response will continue to be cautious. 

“I fear, if we open up too early, and we have not sufficiently made that health recovery and cracked the back of this virus, that we could be pouring gasoline on the fire, even inadvertently.”  

This understandable strategy is what makes the entrepreneur and small business owner within me very nervous. It begs the question how and when do we reopen the small business economy? My concern is that the balance is going to do tremendous economic damage to reopening the small business economy across the country if we don’t devise a plan to combat this predicament.  

Hope on the Horizon for Reopening the Small Business Economy

Fortunately, there does appear to be hope on the horizon. As discussed, the current programs instituted via Washington have proven almost unattainable. The Small Business Administration (SBA) and the intended use of intermediaries such as small business employers and traditional banks prove unable or unwilling to deliver as expected. The good news is it appears someone has been listening. 

While not completely developed the Wall Street Journal has reported that Representative Pramila Jayapal (D., Washington) and Senator Josh Hawley (R., Missouri) each have proposed different versions of a bill that would keep employees on payroll for the length of the pandemic, potentially up to a salary of $100,000 annually per employee.  This will not necessarily allow reopening the small business economy, however it may buy enough time to figure it out. This stimulus would not be without stipulation, and would require small business owners and entrepreneurs to demonstrate losses as a result of the virus, but ultimately it seems to be more in line with the growing understanding of the amount of time required to adequately fight this contagion. Representative Pramila Jayapal said it correctly in the article, “We need a proposal that is going to match the scale of the crisis.”

Reopening the Small Business Economy and Realization of the Impact

It has taken some time to fully grasp the overarching potentiality of the negative effects to our entire society, however as everyone begins to understand the concern, I am hopeful that we may find a reasonable and viable solution that will allow our country to care for our sick without creating unmanageable economic despair. Dealing with the issue of reopening the small business economy is not easy. Government subsidy is not my favorite version of a solution, however I have yet to develop another idea that would be as inclusive of both issues. The concern is how do we properly and responsibly deal with the tremendous national debt without passing the burden on to future generations? As we develop a plan to deal with the short term implications of this disruption, we simultaneously need to begin to form a plan for resolving the long term concerns.

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