“Another brutal wave of infections and associated economic shutdowns threaten to put beleaguered employers out of business for good,” wrote Alfredo Ortiz, President and CEO of the Job Creators Network. In a recent op-ed posted on their website as well as on Fox Business, Ortiz opened with the words “It’s Defcon 1 for America’s small businesses, this is what has to happen next.”
To grasp the severity of the topic, Ortiz’s warning, how it impacts the manufactured home profession and others, it is worth recalling what DEFCON 1 means. Per the Urban Dictionary, that term is defined as follows.
“A Defense Readiness Condition (DEFCON) is an alert posture used by the United States armed forces. The DEFCON system was developed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and unified and specified combatant commands. It prescribes five graduated levels of readiness (or statuses of alert) for the U.S. military, and increase in severity from DEFCON 5 (least severe) to DEFCON 1 (most severe) to match varying military situations.”
So for Ortiz, the threat to American small businesses is at DEFCON 1, which Wikipedia describes as a “COCKED PISTOL. Nuclear war is imminent or has already started. Maximum readiness. Immediate response.”
The JCN website says: “Job Creators Network is a nonpartisan organization whose mission is to educate employees of Main Street America, so we can protect the 85 million people who depend on the success of small businesses.”
Among the JCN’s website’s bullets are these two:
- There are 30 million small business owners in America and they employ 59 million people—meaning 90 million Americans depend on small business.
- Small business owners are responsible for 2/3rds of new jobs.
So, what happens to small businesses naturally impacts housing and in general and the manufactured home profession too.
Next, a new survey by Rasmussen reported by Breitbart and others in media that covered the study indicated that a large swatch of Americans believe lockdowns, masking, and other coronavirus related restrictions will continue for another 6 months if not longer.
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) December 8, 2020
Right-of-center Breitbart began its snapshot by noting that “The [Rasmussen] survey found that concern of the Chinese coronavirus remains high, with 51 percent indicating that they are personally “very concerned. Twenty-nine percent said they remain “somewhat” concerned.”
When respondents were asked how much longer will it be necessary for “some kind of anti-coronavirus lockdown to continue,” a majority predicted that it will be necessary for the next six months, at least.
- 36 percent said “six months to a year,”
- nine percent said “at least 18 months,”
- five percent said “for the next couple years,”
- and three percent said “indefinitely.”
- Forty-one percent said “less than six months.”
- Fifty percent of Democrats think it will be necessary for six months to a year,
- but the majority of Republicans, 60 percent, believe it will be less lengthy.
Respondents were also asked how much longer Americans will be required to wear masks in public places. Once again, a majority indicated that it will be required for at least the next six months:
- Less than six months: 28 percent
- Six months to a year: 39 percent
- At least 18 months: 16 percent
- For the next couple years: 7 percent
- Indefinitely: 5 percent
- Not sure: 5 percent
A plurality of Republicans, 46 percent, said masks will be required for less than six months, with 32 percent indicating it could last six months to a year. Half of Democrats agree with the latter, although 11 percent of Democrats said masks will be required “for the next couple of years.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday released guidance encouraging universal masking indoors, calling for “consistent and correct use of face masks, including within the household if there is a COVID-19 case or a person with a known or possible exposure in the household.”
The flip side of the CDC claim should also be known. See what thousands of healthcare providers had to say in the Great Barrington Declaration, in the report linked above. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) recent take on small business related issues are found in the report linked below.
With that backdrop, what Ortiz said in his December 4, 2020 statement takes on the appropriate sense of urgency. Here are the balance of his remarks.
“For the country’s small business job creators, spring can’t come soon enough. With two vaccines that are about 95 percent effective poised to plunge into American arms in a matter of weeks, the end of this pandemic nightmare is finally on the horizon. Yet small businesses still have to get from here to there. Another brutal wave of infections and associated economic shutdowns threaten to put beleaguered employers out of business for good.
It’s Defcon 1 for small businesses. Experts assume that the country will achieve vaccine-induced herd immunity by May, so call the effort to keep small businesses alive until then “Operation Mayday.” The best way to help small businesses bridge the gap from today till May is by extending the Paycheck Protection Program, which offers small companies forgivable loans if they maintain their payroll.
Obstructionist Democrats in the House of Representatives have held additional PPP funds hostage in return for a multi-trillion-dollar blue state bailout that would amount to a debt jubilee for badly governed states and localities.
Yet the December 11th government funding deadline offers Congress the opportunity and impetus to finally come together in bipartisan compromise to save small businesses. The PPP is one of the most successful government programs in U.S. history. So far this year, the program distributed roughly five million forgivable loans worth over $500 billion, saving more than 50 million jobs.
The PPP protected the jobs of as much as 84% of the nation’s small business workforce. Extending it will ensure that small businesses are poised to return the country to rapid economic growth and full employment when herd immunity is reached.
Small business owners need this lifeline immediately. They’ve already endured one painful shutdown, and many are now entering another. Some Main Street employers have forked out tens of thousands of dollars to retrofit their establishments to comply with Covid restrictions, protect their customers, and expand outdoor operations — only to have to shut down again.
According to Yelp, nearly 100,000 small businesses have permanently gone out of business since the pandemic began, with employers of color disproportionately impacted. Transaction activity suggests that one in five companies that were open in January have closed. According to the Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker at Harvard University, total small business revenue in November is about one-third less than it was in January. A Goldman Sachs survey of small businesses finds that four in 10 respondents have laid off employees or cut pay. Another four in ten said they’ll have to take these steps if additional government funds aren’t forthcoming. When you consider that the median business with more than $10,000 in monthly expenses has only about two weeks’ worth of cash on hand, these responses are no surprise. This week, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell circulated legislation that includes more than $330 billion in additional PPP funds, with a special emphasis on “front-line” consumer-facing sectors such as restaurants and personal services. These funds can help employers survive until May.
Democrats should stop treating small businesses as a bargaining chip and support this commonsense solution. Opposing it would not only deny small businesses the lifeline they need but also may cause a government shutdown.
Small businesses are not asking for a bailout. They are doing their civic duty by reducing consumer traffic and temporarily closing to keep their communities safe and provide much-needed job opportunities.
The least the government can do is offer them a lifeline for a few more months. Such support now will pay fiscal and economic dividends later as small businesses — and a vaccinated nation — come roaring back in 2021.
Armed with a PPP extension, American entrepreneurs’ hope springs eternal.”
Alfredo Ortiz is the President and CEO of the Job Creators Network.
That was published by Ortiz on December 4, 2020. his JCN bio says in part “Alfredo Ortiz is the president and CEO of the Job Creators Network, where he leads the defense of small businesses from the onslaught of bad government policies. He is a frequent commentator appearing on cable news networks including Fox Business and CNBC. His writings also regularly appear in national outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CNBC and The Hill.”
Ortiz attended a White House event on July 9, 2020 where he expressed his support for President Trump during the runup to the 2020 elections.
Negotiations on Capitol Hill are still ongoing on what could be the next round of COVID19 economic relief. While some say there is cause for hope for the type of bipartisan compromise necessary to get a relief bill into law, there are also conflicting signals that make that outcome unclear.
Many of the customers that manufactured housing firms serve are employed by small businesses. Historically, small businesses have been the driver of about half of all private sector employment. Additionally, specific manufactured home firms may be impacted by lockdowns. For these and other reasons, MHProNews will continue to monitor such issues and report as warranted.
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By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing.
For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
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