Hooray! The Paycheck Protection Program Starts Friday.

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I’ve been whining for a while about the stimulus checks in the coronavirus bill getting outsized attention even though the expanded unemployment benefits are far bigger and more important. So it’s only fair that I hand the microphone over to a fellow whiner who wants everyone to know that the coronavirus rescue bill also authorizes a huge money hose aimed at small businesses as long as the money is . . .

. . . used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll)

The program starts on April 3. Here is William Winecoff of the University of Indiana:

I can’t believe everyone is missing the news of the day: The US just went full-Denmark on payroll support. Except better (assuming quick expansion to large corporations). I haven’t smiled in weeks. I’m beaming. If we keep recapitalizing this as needed we could actually avoid a Depression.

It’s a loan program. But loans are fully forgiven if 75% or more of them go towards payrolls. Including benefits. And (rapid) rehires. So it should function like a grant program. The reason why it is structured as a loan program is because it can be administered through FDIC banks, credit unions, etc.

If this works well, you can walk into your local bank and get cash fast. Maybe on the spot? But the banks can’t profit; no fees allowed. Also no collateral, no personal guarantees required….Payroll support is for 8 weeks, which buys us a good amount of time. Also creates infrastructure if it needs to be expanded further.

So, as I read it, and if it works, it’s full payroll support, for free, without having to go through the SBA directly, and also support for business rent/mortgage/utilities payments. That’s huge! And because it’s a Treasury program it can be easily backstopped by the Fed, which allows for quick expansion if needed (it will be needed). Unless I’m missing something this is a very big deal. It needs to be expanded to ALL workers, not just small businesses, and it will need more funding support (and/or something creative like a Fannie/Freddie for SMEs). But I never thought this admin would do something this decent.

They’ve released the application form. Very simple.

Yep. This is all correct. So here’s a summary of the assistance that the coronavirus rescue bill provides for ordinary people:

  1. A $1,200 check for just about everyone with a middle-class income or less. That’s almost $3,000 for a family of three.
  2. A program that encourages small businesses to keep workers employed by funding their payroll costs.
  3. For those workers who are laid off anyway, an expanded unemployment insurance program that replaces 100 percent or more of your normal income up to $50-60,000 (depending on what state you live in).

This adds up to about a trillion dollars, and virtually all of it is for non-rich people. Is everyone starting to get an idea of why I’ve been so enthusiastic about the way this bill ended up? It’s pretty damn good.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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