In the face of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the government launched the Paycheck Protection Program, a trillion-dollar effort to incentivize employers to retain their employees during the quarantine and maintain most of their compensation. The program was administered by the Small Business Association (SBA) and provided forgivable loans to eligible employers who keep their people on payroll. The idea was a good one, but the execution was terrible. There are millions of employees, self-employed people, independent contractors and small businesses who were excluded. Most of the money did not get to where it was intended.
A lot of companies are not open for business, and if the goal was for the money to get to workers, then the government should have avoided all the middlemen and funded the money directly to the employees. The entire economic relief package related to COVID-19 will end up costing about $6 Trillion. The government could have paid every worker in America $4000/mo for six months for only $2.4 Trillion. Think about it. PPP was not a total failure, but it has been too bureaucratic and way too many people who are important to our economy were left out.
Over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to speak at the T3 Conference in Florida…I surprised the audience when I explained how the issue of diversity has been framed incorrectly, and has for the most part alienated the business community.
Elon Musk dropped by the Real Time with Bill Maher show recently for an interview with the host. Maher, who considers himself a liberal is an obvious fan of the CEO of Tesla and Space X. The centerpiece of their conversation was their discussion regarding what Musk called the “woke mind virus” or what I prefer to call “cancel culture”.
People sometimes get me wrong. They think that because I talk a lot about giving back and living modestly, I must not care about money. On the contrary, I care a lot about money because I understand how our system works.