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Bureaucratic red tape remains in effect

It is an indication of how devastating the COVID-19 epidemic has been to America’s economy that a $2 trillion relief bill was not enough. Without more, some segments of the economy may suffer permanent damage.

Included in the CARES Act relief measure is a $350 billion “paycheck protection” program. Its goal is to help businesses closed or curbed by the outbreak to remain in operation and, crucially, to continue giving paychecks to employees.

But less than a month into the CARES initiative, there is concern the paycheck protection program will run out of money. Congress needs to add $250 billion for the purpose, it has been urged.

That may very well be true. At the same time, however, lawmakers and the White House should look at the program’s operational structure. We have heard complaints that accessing money is difficult or impossible for some small businesses.

Incredibly, even as it has become crystal clear that COVID-19 has to be an all-hands-on-deck battle, some bureaucratic red tape remains in effect. Regulations for the paycheck protection program may be affecting access to it unreasonably.

We hope federal policymakers have been looking into questions such as restrictions on banks helping to disseminate the money and whether very small businesses without armies of lawyers and accountants are on a level field in applying for help.

If not, the program needs to be amended.

Money isn’t everything. The paycheck protection initiative should not be viewed by very small businesses as one in which the “little guy” is left out.

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