The Paycheck Protection Program was launched to rescue the little guy, the millions of small businesses without the deep pockets needed to survive the COVID-19 shock. But among the restaurants, dentists and mom-and-pops was Vibra Healthcare, a chain of hospitals and therapy centers spread across 19 states with over 9,000 employees. The biggest PPP loan was supposed to be $10 million, but Vibra found a way to land as much as $97 million. ProPublica’s findings bring into sharper focus how companies with thousands of employees were able to get assistance, just as some small businesses were reluctant to even apply. So far, the PPP has paid out more than $517 billion to 4.9 million companies — loans that can be forgiven if used to cover payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities. It was among the most generous of programs for businesses in the CARES Act. Loan programs for medium and large businesses spelled out in the bill generally were not forgivable. Appraisals of the PPP by economists and policymakers have been mixed:
Finanace and the Economy
All Great Recessions with an initial deep economic contraction, are typically followed by brief shallow recoveries, cut short by subsequent double dips or quarters of no growth stagnation. That was true of the Great Recession of 2008-09, which didn’t really end in June 2009 but bounced along the bottom economically for several more years. A similar trajectory will almost certainly follow today’s 2020 Great Recession 2.0 now concluding its Phase One initial deep collapse. The Phase One deep collapse is now giving way to its Phase Two and what will prove a brief and quite modest ‘rebound’. But that’s not a recovery. Further economic relapses are inevitable after ‘short, shallow rebounds’ that characterize all Great Recessions. That trajectory—i.e. short, shallow rebounds followed by relapses also brief and moderate can go on for years. What it means is there will be no V-shape and true recovery in the US economy in the second half of 2020. What there will be is an extended ‘W-shape’ period, the next two years 2020-2022 at minimum.
It is often said that the initial months of the 2008-09 crash set the US economy on a trajectory of collapse eerily similar to that of 1929-30. Job losses were occurring at a rate of 1 million a month on average from October 2008 through March 2009. One might therefore think that mainstream economists would look closely at the two time periods—i.e. 1929-30 and 2008-09—to determine with patterns or similar causes were occurring. Or to a deep analysis of the periods immediately preceding 1929 and 2008 to see what similarities prevailed. But they haven’t.
By Mari Marcel Thekaekara for New Internationalist Blog. While most of India was busy celebrating its 70th Independence Day, many people were trying to comprehend and make sense of a sudden Dalit uprising in Gujarat. Gujarati Dalits had begun a huge march for dignity and respect culminating in a rally on 15 August, Indian Independence day. They were demanding justice for four young Dalit men who had been stripped, tied to a car and viciously thrashed for hours in public on 11 July, by cow vigilantes, known locally as gau rakshaks, for skinning a dead cow. Every single day I receive a report of collated Dalit stories. With sickening, mind boggling regularity I read about Dalits who have been raped, flogged, humiliated and murdered, every single day, in some part of the country. Yet this particular incident, the flogging of four young lads from the leather tanning community, for doing a job their forefathers have done ever since anyone can remember, that is, skinning two dead cows, created an uproar not just in Gujarat but in Dalit circles all over India.
By Michael Snyder for The Economic Collapse - We have seen this story before, and it never ends well. From mid-March until early May 2008, a vigorous stock market rally convinced many investors that the market turmoil of late 2007 and early 2008 was over and that happy days were ahead for the U.S. economy. But of course we all know what happened. It turned out that the market downturns of late 2007 and early 2008 were just “foreshocks” of a much greater crash in late 2008.
By Martin Kirk and Alnoor Ladha for Truthout - Saying "everything is connected" is pretty popular these days. "Systems thinking" is the discipline du jour. Everyone, it seems, is becoming aware that the challenges we face do not stand alone. Climate change, for example, is not just about carbon emissions, but also about economics, race relations, patriarchy and power. There is no line of disconnect, except where we draw it with our minds. Simply saying that everything is connected doesn't get you very far, though. The real challenge is to understand how.
By Tyler Durden for Zero Hedge. The reckless herd has been in control for the last few years, but their recklessness is going to get them slaughtered. Corporate profits are plunging. Labor participation continues to fall. A global recession is in progress. The strong U.S. dollar is crushing exports and profits of international corporations. Real household income remains stagnant, while healthcare, rent, home prices, education, and a myriad of other daily living expenses relentlessly rises. The world is a powder keg, with tensions rising ever higher in the Middle East, Ukraine, Europe, and China. The lessons of history scream for caution at this moment in time, not recklessness. 2016 will be a year of reckoning for the reckless herd.
By David DeGraw for ExitMedia. We demand a publicly transparent commission to audit and recoup wealth that has been extracted from the US economy through corrupt practices. Preliminary estimates lead us to believe that at least $25 trillion has been extracted. To give some context, $1 trillion is $1000 billion. With $25 trillion, we can dramatically rebuild and evolve society for the benefit of all. “Lawmakers” and "regulators" who have received any compensation from companies they regulated or wrote laws for, before or after holding government office, will be barred from further government activity and be fined in an amount at least equivalent to past compensation for such activities. All offshore wealth will be confiscated and individuals will be fined twice the amount they hid, and they will be prosecuted based on theft laws.
By Sam Thielman and Phillip Inman in The Guardian - WikiLeaks on Wednesday released 17 different documents related to the Trade in Services Agreement (Tisa), a controversial pact currently being hashed out between the US and 23 other countries – most of them in Europe and South America. The document dump comes at a tense moment in the negotiations over a series of trade deals. President Barack Obama has clashed with his own party over the deals as critics have worried about the impact on jobs and civil liberties. On Tuesday, WikiLeaks put a $100,000 bounty on documents relating to the alphabet soup of trade treaties currently being negotiated between the US and the rest of the world, particularly the controversial Trans-Pacific trade agreement (TPP). The offer, announced yesterday, has already raised more than $33,000. Wednesday’s leak is the third time that WikLeaks has published sections from secret trade agreements.