TV host Trevor Noah took time Tuesday (April 28) on "The Daily Show" to shed some light on exactly why wealthy companies received coronavirus stimulus funding while small business owners still have empty pockets.
He said the Treasury Department left it up to the banks to decide which companies would receive a share of the $349 billion coronavirus small business forgivable loans. In less than two weeks, the program ran out of money.
“The banks did what banks do, which is screw over the little guys,” he said.
The late night show comedian gave an example to drive his point home.
When you put down a bowl of food for a small dog, you have to get the big dog out the room, Noah explained.
Lawmakers and the President failed to regulate how banks would distribute the money by leaving the decison up to them to decide who would get a piece of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), intended for mom-and-pop size businesses slammed by the coronavirus lockdown.
After a firestorm of criticism, some large companies decided to return the money. Shake Shack, the first company to do so, gave back a $10 million loan. The Los Angeles Lakers, one of the wealthiest sports franchises in the world, planned to return the $4.6 million they originally accepted.
Noah said the big companies did nothing illegal. “They saw a chance, a chance to get money, and they took it, which is what companies are always going to do,” he added.
He also highlighted that banks overlooked women and Black-owned businesses because, like many small businesses or even more specifically franchise owners, they tend not to have a business relationship with the big banks.
A second round of funding reopened on Monday (April 27.) Noah said he hopes this time the money will go to where it’s most needed. However, if history proves to repeat itself as we know it sometimes does, up to an estimated 90 percent of businesses owned by people of color were likely shut out from receiving emergency funding from the program during the first go around.
Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images