"Now, you could call your landlord, call your credit card company and try to work something out, but there hasn't been a federally mandated national economic holiday," the business analyst pointed out.
March 31, 2020

Stephanie Ruhle was on Morning Joe to talk with Willie Geist about the crisis ordinary people and small businesses are going through.

"We were just talking about tomorrow being April 1st. The day, of course, the rent is due. This is the first, the 1st of the month since this crisis escalated. What are the implications of that for small businesses, homeowners and all the people worried now about making those payments?" Willie Geist said.

"They're massive across the board. While people at home, individuals and small businesses might watch our programs and see headlines with members of Congress and the president touting how great the CARES Act is, $2 trillion, and it is, but of those $2 trillion, no checks have been cut," Ruhle said.

"Talk to any, anyone in New York State, right? People trying to file for unemployment right now, it's a two-step process. First, you've got to go online. These websites are crashing over and over. Then you've got to make a phone call and the lines are busy. Whether talking about New York, California, Connecticut, take your pick, these governors are saying, we are frantically trying to hire retired employees we used to have. Staffing up to solve for this but it's not solved yet and the small business loans people are so excited about? Those paycheck protection loans, which are essentially these short-term emergency loans for businesses to get them through this period, potentially having them completely forgiven, they're not even set up yet and you can only get one through your own bank.

"Those 1,800 banks working with the SBSA don't even know the details yet. A huge amount of lag time, and bills are due tomorrow. Now, you could call your landlord, call your credit card company and try to work something out, but there hasn't been a federally mandated national economic holiday. We have to pay our bills tomorrow, and that's just the way it is," she said.

"Thinking about all of those small businesses that anyone watching this show has been frequenting all their lives," Geist said.

"That little restaurant or the bagel place in Jersey or the dry cleaner, who's struggling now and looking for federal help and wondering what life is going to be like on the other side of this crisis. What is the best hope for that restaurant that's got a sign on its door that says 'We're closed for now but will be back soon, we hope.' There's a lot of heaviness in that 'we hope' part of the statement."

"Well, twofold," she said.

"I mean, these loan programs are expansive. They could be hugely helpful, but they're not there yet and people need to pay their bills immediately. If you remember when the president spoke Sunday, he said he spoke to Wolfgang Puck and Daniel Boulud. We'll bring things back to the way they used to be. People can deduct those, expense them. What the president is talking about, rules where you can entertain people, where companies can and do spend more than $100, well that would impact huge, fancy restaurants, but the mom and pop establishments that you're talking about, when you think about all of those people who are losing their retail jobs, these problems are real and they're not going to be solved overnight."

She also talked about Trump's signing statement refusing oversight of the $500 billion corporate slush fund.

"So while Congress does have some level of oversight, they don't have subpoena power and I can tell you behind the scenes, every CEO in this country is knocking on Steve Mnuchin's door saying, 'please, sir, may I have some more?' And right now, he's in a position to be a corporate kingmaker."

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