The need to mitigate the economic risk of the Coronavirus is finally generating conversation. It is becoming unavoidable that we need to fight the war against Coronavirus and recession. As unemployment soars and small businesses across the United States begin to fail the conversation is getting louder and the ideas to restart the economy are gaining traction. It is becoming increasingly harder to tell who is suffering more, those fighting COVID-19 or those fighting devastating economic losses.
No Relief or Small Business as we fight the War against Coronavirus and Recession
Small businesses have yet to see any meaningful relief and employees are being furloughed. Many of these people small business owners and employees alike are losing or cancelling their health coverage. Filing for unemployment which is taking an increasingly longer time. Major corporations are reporting huge losses. Marriott Hotels has furloughed two thirds of its Bethesda. Maryland corporate staff of 4,000 plus numerous other positions throughout its 7,349 properties worldwide. While Walt Disney has furloughed 43,000 workers and firms such as Macys & Gap have laid off almost 200,000 people. Small businesses throughout the country are either shuttered or operating at levels setting record lows for revenue generations as forecasts are continually adjusted to add a level of bleakness likely not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Small Business Flounders, Washington Argues.
The Federal government seems unable, if not simply unwilling, to address the exponentially growing small business crisis gripping our country. The political body needs to realize we are fighting a war against Coronavirus and recession. As small business essentially beg for immediate relief from a now month long stop-work order. Democrats & Republicans alike cannot put together a package to properly fund the only glimmer of hope to come out of the Coronavirus focused Washington thus far, the Payroll Protection Program (PPP). This stalemate and ineptitude demonstrated by policymakers continues to reassure Main Street Americans that Washington DC simply has no idea how the majority of Americans live.
The Disconnect between Washington and Main Street
Yuka Hayashi of the Wall Street Journal has summed this up best in the Article titled, “Small-Business Loans Face Delays Even as Coronavirus Program Expands.” Within the article she states, “Even as the program expands, the first applicants are still waiting for funding, fueling anxiety among business owners whose revenue has tanked and whose bills are piling up.” This sentiment is driving the economy deeper and deeper towards depression as average Americans find no continuity within Washington and no relief in sight.
President Trump has called repeatedly on small business owners and entrepreneurs to keep people employed, mandated we pay people exorbitant amounts of money in terms of paid leave, but has not been able to deliver any clarification, stimulus, or a plan to allow firms to go back to work. Bureaucrats simply seem content to watch small businesses suffer extreme hardship or bankruptcy.
Leaders Who Understand the War Against Coronavirus and Recession
There does seem to be a few people who understand the needs of small business or the importance of supporting the economy while also fighting the public health crisis. People who understand we are fighting a war against Coronavirus and recession. As mentioned in yesterday’s post, Representative Pramila Jayapal (Democrat, Washington State) has publicly asked pointed questions of insurance providers regarding the use of business interruption insurance policies. In a letter, Rep. Jayapal asked the CEOs to
“provide by April 21 the language of any provision used to deny claims filed for “business income” and related coverages. She also seeks the number of acceptances and denials, and profit figures, from such coverages.”
Likewise, President Trump was quoted in the same article,
“restaurateurs told me they paid for business-interruption coverage for decades and they’ve never needed it. All of a sudden they need it and their insurers “don’t want to pay up.”
Another individual who has become more vocal about the conditions associated with a prolonged economic shutdown is White House Trade Advisor, Peter Navarro. In a NY Times article published today Mr. Navarro is quoted speaking about medical professionals and pundits who he believes are improperly only focusing and calling attention to the medical threat of the Coronavirus and ignoring the health and safety risks that little to no economic activity will produce.
“Instead, they piously preen on their soap boxes speaking only half of the medical truth without reference or regard for the other half of the equation,” he said, “which is the very real mortal dangers associated with the closure of the economy for an extended period.”
This commentary rings true with many small business owners and entrepreneurs who not only rely on their business ventures to feed, shelter and cloth themselves and their families, but also for themselves and their team members who’s health insurance is often linked directly to the firm with which they are employed. With extended economic woes on the horizon, many small firms may cease to exist. Health Insurance will disappear. Again, we need to force the issue. Its a war against Coronavirus and recession.
The Case for Economic Relief
In addition to this obvious concern, as larger firms also tighten their belts, often the first areas to see cuts are research and development. Innovation is the lifeblood of the American economy. It is how we produce new products and intellectual property of tremendous value across the world. It is also how we fund new drugs, vaccines, GMOs, and other breakthroughs that help humanity throughout the globe.
The threat of economic contraction, whether it be a deep recession, or a depression not seen in over a generation, the economic implications of this virus deserve equal and adequate attention from everyone involved. Medical professionals and politicians cannot simply ignore commerce and the need of citizens to be able to generate revenue, make an income, and provide for themselves like this will not produce a catastrophe of a similar scale and scope. As stated many times, this fight needs to be two-fold and our best efforts applied equally to both. The war is against Coronavirus and recession.