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Billionaire Mark Cuban believes that small businesses that were devastated economically by coronavirus-related shutdown orders are going to need “many more” taxpayer-funded stimulus packages from Congress if they’re to survive.
The “Shark Tank” co-host said in an interview with MSNBC’s Ari Melber Tuesday evening that despite the gargantuan effort this far by the federal government to support small businesses, “Nobody is giving them any help.”
Cuban, who owns the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and lives in Texas, blasted early efforts by some governors to restart the economy by allowing some businesses to reopen but at reduced capacity. The Texas native also criticized the Paycheck Protection Program established by the recently passed $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that was managed by the Small Business Administration because it quickly ran out of funding.
Melber asked Cuban what he thought of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to allow nearly all businesses to reopen in the state by May 1, but limiting them to just 25 percent capacity so they maintain social distancing (which, by the way, is in line with White House guidelines).
“It’s kind of showmanship,” Cuban said, obviously dismissing the effort. “The reality is a retail store trying to open up or any large venue trying to open, whether it’s a small theater, whatever it may be, when you to restrict it to 25 percent, it’s going to cost you more to open up than anything you’d actually bring in revenue.”
That may be the case for some businesses, but not all businesses. And the alternative — continuing to keep local and state economies locked down — flies in the face of new data being touted by researchers who say continuing to socially distance is preventing the development of herd immunity, which will protect us against future outbreaks of the virus.
“But like I said, it’s a marketing. It’s gamesmanship,” Cuban continued. “Maybe a couple of businesses open up. But Ari, what we’re really missing, because demand is going to be so much less than it was before, just trying to follow some of these guidelines, these small businesses are going to lose more money by opening up for retail.
“And nobody is giving them any help. Nobody is giving them any guidance. There should be support there. And again, nobody is standing up for employees. Who is — what are employees going to do if they feel the pressure to come to work, but they don’t feel it’s safe? Who do they turn to?”
Cuban may have a point that thanks to bureaucracy, federal funding intended to prop up small businesses and take care of their employees may not be reaching everyone who needs it. But is helicoptering more money to address the issue really the answer? At what point does America, as a country, say it’s spent enough — especially when nearly all of it is deficit spending?
Furthermore, what responsibilities do states have to their own residents? Recall that these shutdown orders were issued by governors, not the president and certainly not Congress; and not all states shut down, though governors who didn’t were lambasted by the mainstream media.
Maybe at this point Cuban should be talking not about how many trillions of dollars more the government should print and dump into the economy, but about governors utilizing the latest data to authorize the full reopening of the economy.
Businesses don’t need a loan, per se; they need to operate.
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