Questionable Loans From the Government

We all know that there is an endless list of addictive substances that present a real danger to people. Alcohol, cocaine and heroin just to name a few. But a powerful addictive substance provided by our own government is public money. Few things can get individuals and institutions more hooked than that.

Although we’ve known for a long time that government largess often comes with negative consequences, what recently brought this to mind was a series of stories revealing which businesses and non-profit organizations received public funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). These reports question whether the program — intended to preserve jobs by helping small businesses get through the pandemic — has served its intended purpose.

For example, the Small Business Administration released information which shows that private equity-backed chains and some companies owned by members of Congress received money from the Paycheck Protection Program along with almost 90,000 employers that would not commit to retaining their employees. Just in the Sacramento area, more than 800 companies borrowed money from the federal government including powerful lobbying organizations and law firms.

Although initially resistant to releasing data on PPP disbursements, the federal government relented when faced with possible litigation. While the exact amounts of the loans to specific recipients were not disclosed, the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration made available a list of the thousands of businesses, nonprofits and others that received at least $150,000.

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