You probably heard already that the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan budget is drained, locking the House and the Senate in a death match for more money.
Trump and Mnuchin promised all American small businesses that this money would be available immediately.
Do you know who got the loans? How were they able to get applications in and processed so quickly? Was there preferential treatment?
My adventure into trying to acquire a loan for Crooks and Liars was and still is quite the nightmare.
This is what happens when you you have an anti-government administration make a move this massive and then throw it against the wall and let the bankers figure out how to implement it.
Trump and Mnuchin were bragging that any financial institution would offer the loans whether you had an account or not. This, of course, was false.
I was told on March 30th that the banks were working diligently on how to set up the applications, but the date for them to be unveiled was supposed to be on Friday, April 3. I called my Wells Fargo banker starting the following Monday after the stimulus was passed, and all week long the preferred banker was clueless as to what was happening minute to minute. I was told he would schedule an appointment with me as soon as he had word.
April 3 came and went and the banks were clueless as to when loan documents would be ready. I was told by a bank manager that it would take at least a few more days to finish up the online document.
However, with no warning, Wells Fargo released an application online on Saturday, April 4th --without notifying any of us who had been asking.
The following Monday, I immediately submitted C&L's basic information like name, email and company name and they told me they would get back to me. There was no loan document available but I had to wait for an email from Wells Fargo. They told me not to call their customer service lines, since this was an online-process only.
It took them 10 days to get back to me and on the day they said I could file an application, the news broke that there was no more money for the program.
This is what happens when the president hates his own federal government and refuses to fill most job vacancies while hiring loyalist stooges who collect paychecks while getting nothing done.
If Trump wanted to truly stimulate the economy properly, he would have had the government handle these loans and cut out the banks entirely.
One of Trump's traits as the president, outside of whittling down the federal government into a basic skeleton crew, is to always make sure he has a scapegoat and a fall guy.
ProPublica writes how impossible it is for Americans to receive their personal stimulus checks:
But Intuit is not just acting as a conduit: It is also misleading unwitting Americans by steering them to paid services that they could otherwise get for free.
Other countries were able to send out stimulus packages in record time, but not in the US, led by the Trump administration.
I'm not an online novice and I was left in the dark. What about the small business owners and individuals who aren't as internet savvy?
I got my information to them as quick as I could and yet couldn't score even an application, much less a loan.
Mnuchin and Trump said every other institution that could make the loans would be able to help all small business, but that was a lie also because unless you had a account with them (Chase, US Bank, etc.) before February 15, 2020, we could not apply to them. Bank of America customers had an even worse time of it, because BofA expected them not only to have a business account, but also a business credit card with them.
Where's the outrage on Fox News? Nary a peep out of them about the process at all. Can you imagine if a Democratic president had been in charge? They'd be howling.
Restaurants are among the hardest-hit businesses during the coronavirus shutdown. The National Restaurant Assn. estimates that 3 million restaurant employees lost their jobs in March, a month in which restaurants lost about $45 billion in revenue. The industry is bleeding out.
But while the airlines enjoy a $25-billion bailout, the CARES Act — a federal stimulus package for businesses and individuals affected by the coronavirus pandemic — and its centerpiece, the Paycheck Protection Program, is the equivalent of a Band-Aid — one of the small ones that goes around your finger.
After the signing of the stimulus package on Friday March 27, Trump on Friday and his treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin took a victory lap claiming they are trying to save small businesses. Depending upon what institution you bank with you either found an application online or you didn’t or you just submitted your name your company name your email and your phone number.
That’s left independent business owners bewildered, disappointed and angry.
Andy Ricker, the owner and chef of Thai restaurant chain Pok Pok, wrote that his loan application was on hold and that he and other small business owners had been “snookered by publicly traded companies who received millions and left independent small business in the gutter as the well ran dry.”
I spoke to Jill James, owner of small business consultancy Sif Industries, and asked her if the PPP was providing relief for small businesses in need.
“No,” she said, “this has not been an effective program to put money in the hands of small businesses.”
James, through webinars and online offerings, says she’s worked with hundreds of small businesses over the last three weeks, including bars and restaurants. “None of them have gotten money.”
But you can bet that the wealthiest "small business" were funded first. Like, for example, the publicly traded Ruth Chris Steakhouse restaurant chain, who scored $20 million from the PPP while our local restaurants remain shuttered and may never open their doors again.
In fact, it appears that Wells Fargo in particular shuffled around their business clients to put the biggest at the front of the line.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of small business owners on Sunday alleges that Wells Fargo unfairly prioritized businesses seeking large loan amounts, while the government's small business agency has said that PPP loan applications would be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
The move by Wells Fargo meant that the bank would receive millions more dollars in processing fees, according to the lawsuit.
"Making matters worse, Wells Fargo concealed from the public that it was reshuffling the PPP applications it received and prioritizing the applications that would make the bank the most money," the lawsuit filed in California alleged.
I guess that's my answer to why they never had an answer for me.
There's a negotiation for more money for this program happening now. Will we be shut out again while McDonald's gets a loan?
This administration won't do anything right. Not when the banks are standing by to make millions while the rest of us hang on for dear life.
UPDATE: Public shaming may have worked with Shake Shack: