Vi Hart explains the four phase plan to re-open the US


If you think it’s just a binary question of complying or engaging in fraud, you’re not familiar with the accounting/management consulting industry (or with the hypocrite “rugged individualists” at Koch). If there’s bailout money being offered, they’re all going to find a way to get their shares.

And that’s just the top 10 in the 20-billion+ club – there are a lot of other closely held corporations with $100-million+ (not billion) in revenues that will also be claiming a piece of that fund. So let’s not pretend that anything close to 99% will be going to actual small businesses (especially if those small businesses don’t have in-house legal counsel and finance departments employing 100s of Ivy League MBAs).


There’s no reason to exclude big businesses that happen to operate in the restaurant or hotel fields from the same size requirements every other business must meet. Nor is that permitted under the SBA regs defining who is a small business and is qualified to receive SBA assistance.

The funds going to these big businesses should have gone to small businesses- it’s a scam to divert money from actual small businesses to them.


But now you’re saying the program is flawed because some people are dishonest defraud. That’s true of anything and to my earlier point is exactly the angle that republicans use to argue against unemployment and food stamps, that program is no good to the majority it benefits because there’s a minority that abuses it.

Actually the better argument is it should’ve gone to small business in hardship. But hardship is tough to define and would’ve held up processing. So everyone - healthy or strong - was eligible. And restaurants and hotels were pushed in because of the hardship, in particular because most restauarants are also small business. Again, imperfect. Again, not a flop nor conspiratorial handout.

No. I’m saying the programme is flawed because it’s designed first and foremost to benefit those ultra-large corporations (both public and the private ones you initially ignored) that already have the resources to convince the (very willing) GOP-dominated government that they deserve the money and meet the requirements even if they don’t by more fair measures. As noted earlier, it’s not fraud, but it is lawyerball and accounting tricks that cost millions but return ten or a hundred times that (see also the actual taxes these same mega-corporations pay).

The difference is, the Cadillac-driving welfare queen (welfare fraud was the least of her crimes) and the “young buck” with his t-bone steaks didn’t have armies of lawyers and accountants and MBAs who knew how to skirt the border of fraud without crossing it. Also, no-one’s using the discussion as a racist dog-whistle about the large corporations. False equivalency is false on a number of levels.

There’s no reason to obscure the fact that mega-corporations are (once again) going to be taking a major share of the bailout money while a lot of actual small businesses won’t have a chance at it. That’s just neoliberal business as usual in late-stage capitalist America, thanks to four decades’ worth of Libertarian and Randroid worshipers at the altar of the “free” market.


if there was a reason to target financial assistance to large businesses in the hotel and restaurant fields they could have made that case and gotten assistance just like other huge businesses such as the airlines - the fact that lobbyists slipped this in to take funds from small businesses does not support your assertion that they had that level of liquidity problems or that it was best to address it by diverting funds from actual small businesses.


The difference is the airlines are few and employ their people directly (in the 100s of thousands). That’s not the same model for restaurants and hotels. Airlines lobby in ways those business do not have the capability to organize. That’s why they showed up here.

And I don’t look at it as a diversion. I think the bucket was sized based on estimated demand. That size was inadequate, clearly. It should be uncapped, as I’ve been saying all along. But if they restaurants and hotels weren’t in to start I don’t think the starting pool would’ve been $349B either, wherever that magic number came from.

I made similar points earlier. Meaning I’m not disagreeing in general with that.

I’ve just seen a lot of excuse-making…

… and attempts to claim this programme will mainly benefit small companies

But hey, people can change.

You haven’t exactly been agreeing up until now. But glad you now agree with my and others’ major point that this is yet another neoliberal bailout purpose-designed to benefit $100-million/annum corporations (public and private) with in-house lobbyists and lawyers and accountants first and foremost.


That may be a description- it’s not a reason. And I don’t see anything supporting it as a description.

The National Restaurant Association has a $100 million dollar budget to advance its objectives in DC.

“ The National Restaurant Association is a restaurant industrybusiness association in the United States, representing more than 380,000 restaurantlocations.[3] It also operates the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.[3] The association was founded in 1919 and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.[3]

I’m sure Hotels are no slouch either.


“ The National Restaurant Association, widely referred to as “the other NRA” to distinguish itself from National Rifle Association, which shares the initialism, is a powerful lobbying force in Washington, DC, and in state capitals. It is very active in fighting efforts to retain the minimum wage in the United States as well as laws requiring paid sick leave. In July 2013, it boasted that it had successfully lobbied against raises in the minimum wage, in part or in full, in 27 of 29 states and blocked paid sick leave legislation in 12 states.[6] It also takes credit for halting any increase in the federal minimum wage for tipped employees, which has remained at $2.13 per hour since 1991.[7][8]


I dunno. I’ve seen a lot of whining from folks who didn’t get exactly what they want. I’m sure there’s a conservative thread somewhere griping about the same. Where I come from that’s the sign of a successful negotiation: both sides feeling like they deserved more, but both being better off with the deal than without. The reality is any company approaching 500 employees isn’t really that small (and why I said arbitrary; it’s just a number), and if “small business” connotates mom & pop (which to me means +/-20 ppl or somewhere in that realm), I can see why you might feel like this is a big company money grab. But I think there are better conspiracy theories out there to chase, too.

Right. There’s a comparable outfit for hotels. Just like there’s one called SBA. But the problem is getting help to fragmented owners and businesses is closer to an SBA approach than it is to a half dozen or so major airlines. The execution was pushed here, less than ideally, but as the best fit at the time.

Balance - a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.

I’d like to hear more. Who shall we kill first in order to ensure the board and shareholders of Ruth Chris are made whole?

(Note to anyone ‘clutching their pearls’ over this comment. It is rhetorical satire intended to illustrate the absurdity of the original statement. Thank you)


This is the purpose of such an organization. You could make such an argument I’d it didn’t exist.

In point of fact - it’s exactly how the airlines operate.

Airlines for America ( A4A ), formerly known as Air Transport Association of America ( ATA ), is an American trade association and lobbying group based in Washington, D.C. that represents major North American airlines.[2]


I got it!

I know plenty of lower risk people way more scared about feeding family than catching a disease that mathematically is very unlikely to kill them. I (like many here) have the luxury of riding this out. Others don’t. That’s just the sad reality. I’d like us all to find a way out of this rut this is balanced. That’s not unreasonable.

Similar program just more ctrl

Right. They all have lobbying groups. But there’s, what, six major airlines? 10? 20?
There are literally thousands of hotel owners. And probably hundreds of thousands of restaurant owners. So you need some pathway to get aid out. Meanwhile there was a pathway putting money out to SBA. Those got combined into a single effort. That’s simply what happened under the constraints.

Yes, how dare liberals and progressives want to have actual small businesses (the kind Libertarians claim to support) get preference in a corporate bailout for once? What petulant, outrageous whinging!

More false equivalence. [ETA: if right-wingers are griping, it’s at the prospect of the “undeserving” (i.e. minority-owned small businesses) getting bailout funds.]

Well, where you come from, the big accounting and management consulting firms don’t regularly operate in the grey area between complete compliance and outright fraud. And as someone who’s been involved in a lot of business negotiations, I’ve seen many cases where one party was completely out-resourced by the other and was bludgeoned into accepting the deal. You’re operating on a lot of binary assumptions here.

According to the U.S. SBA, a small business ranges from a maximum of 250-1500 employees. I don’t see a problem with businesses with 20x that upper maximum getting the money as well as long as the businesses with less than 10 employees are also getting it. But that’s not the way it’s going to end up working.

Characterising observation of open and well-documented business as usual in the U.S. over the past 40 years as a “conspiracy theory” is more disingenuous gaslighting. I’ve tried to engage you in good faith, but you’re obviously not interested so I’m done with you here.

[edited for clarity and a little additional ETA commentary]


At least teach me how to respond line by line first.