FROM OUR OBSESSION
Global Economic Disruptions
Globalization, automation, and inequality.
The US’s emergency program to keep small businesses afloat during the pandemic was far from perfect, and the data produced about the half a trillion dollars inloans is a total mess. But the former head of the Small Business Administration argues that those criticisms, while valid, miss the bigger point.
“People have gotten into this story about the bad actors, and the flawed data and the rest of it, all of which is factually correct,” Karen Mills, a senior fellow at Harvard Business School, said of the government’s Paycheck Protection Program. “But is it the story of PPP? I think the net effect we will find is that it helped literally millions of small businesses survive.”
Congress created a $350 billion fund in March, run by the Small Business Administration (SBA), to keep small businesses solvent and workers on payrolls, amid widespread commercial shutdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic. The money ran out a few weeks later, and there are signs that banks’ bigger clients soaked up a lot of the cash. Officials in Washington then dished out a second, $310 billion round of funding, more of which appears to have gotten to smaller enterprises.