Guillotine-side Chat: Instead of Sending Me Loan Applications Please Sharpen Your Pitchforks.*

*HausWitch does not condone violent uprising, references to pitchforks and guillotines are somewhat tongue-in-cheek and simply meant to call in the energy of the tools used by the oppressed to symbolize the need for radical change. Trust me, no one at HausWitch is tough enough for a violent revolution.

Hey Witches.

So I wanted to give a little update on what life is like for your average small-business witch in these wild times. I started writing this post after spending the better part of Monday working with a personal banker for the 3rd day in a row applying for the PPP loan. That is the loan that is supposed to *reward* those of us who have kept employees on our payroll while a record 22 million have had to apply for unemployment assistance through the government. Just for reference, the last record number of unemployment claims was 700,000 in 1982. We’ve since received word that the benefits available thru the PPP are drastically reduced from what they were offering before.

It took my bank a few weeks to have the PPP application available and despite being one of the first people allowed to apply, it took days to actually submit. First, the site wouldn’t let me log in. Then it kept crashing. Then I had to download separate software to be able to fill out the signature page of the form, requiring that I sign up for a free trial of a program that costs $200 a year. I’m sure they’re banking on people being too frazzled to cancel it. Also, I would’ve been able to fill out and submit the form without this program, but thank goddexx I had someone from my banking help me thru the process because doing it wrong would’ve disqualified me. I am one of 148,000 business who applied for this loan through this one bank, in New England alone. I also applied for the other big Small Business Association loan, the EIDL, weeks ago, but have heard nothing in response. As of this morning (Thursday, April 16th) CNN is reporting “The Money is Gone, The Us Has No Money Left in the Emergency Program for Small Business.” You know where the money went? They gave it to rich people and big corporations.

So next time someone defends capitalism to you, (or you defend it to yourself) remind them that it completely fell apart a mere 3 days into this crisis and at the moment, it’s turning to socialism to bail it out.

Since the CARES Act passed, many well-meaning friends, and some not-so-well meaning lenders and creditors have forwarded me loan applications and articles with “helpful info” about applying. This is frustrating for a couple of reasons:

  1. These programs inherently shift responsibility from the government to individuals to fix problems we did not create, thru programs that do not actually work.
  2. As a small business owner I am very responsible and have diligently followed every breadcrumb imaginable related to saving my business because I am devoted to its success 110%, just like every other entrepreneur I know. We are on top of it, it is the government who is not.
  3. Loans really aren’t a great solution for a lot of small businesses, including mine. A lot of businesses are already in debt until the 4th quarter of the year. (Black Friday is named that because it’s the day when a lot of businesses move out of the “red” meaning in-debt, to the “black” or profitable).  And before you say, “but what about grants?!” know that there was a very small amount of CARES for grants and that amount was gone almost as soon as it existed.

So next time you want to send that article with all the “options available” to small businesses, know that I do truly appreciate your concern, but I actually have all the info I need. Your time might be better spent contacting your government representatives telling them to put a moratorium on rent, mortgages, student loans and credit card debt. Tell them to put extra protections in place for healthcare and essential workers. Tell them to let people out of overcrowded prisons for non-violent crimes. Tell them to give poor and housing insecure populations shelter in empty hotels. Tell them that you know that if they wanted, the government could pay for everyone to stay in business, keep people comfortable and fed, and yet they are CHOOSING not to.

Remember how Elizabeth Warren calling for student loan forgiveness and Bernie’s crusade for Medicare for all were met with “HOW THE HECK ARE WE GOING TO PAY FOR THAT?!” (crotchety republican and centrist democrat baby boomer voice) and then magically TRILLIONS of dollars showed up overnight to bail out big corporations? That was weird, right?

Image: https://www.instagram.com/whoisladywindermere/

But rest assured! There is a solution! Its called RADICAL WEALTH DISTRIBUTION and it needs to happen yesterday. It has happened before, in America, so don’t let your conservative uncle tell you otherwise! During the great depression President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, enacted several programs that spread the wealth of the 1% around to the rest of us, including a 75% tax on anyone who made over $1 million a year (in today’s money that would be 18 million). He was like, “Ummmm, I know you’re mad but you can afford it, so deal with it.”. And they could afford it, and they still can. (For context about our present-day 1%, Michael Bloomberg spent 500 million on TV ads for his campaign alone and didn’t even feel it. Isn’t that WILD?)

I mean, billionaires should not exist. Period. When 40% of the US population doesn’t have $400 in their bank accounts, how can you justify a few people getting to hoard their wealth in to the billions? Marx would argue that wealth is finite, which means that those who have too much of it are actually stealing it from the rest of us. What could someone do to “deserve” a billion dollars when millions of people on the planet can’t eat? Don’t have a roof over their head? According to a Nov. 2019 Guardian Article: “Three billionaires – Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett – collectively have more wealth than 160 million Americans. The world’s 26 richest people own as much as the poorest 50%”. Are ya’ll online shopping for guillotines yet?

So instead of loans, I’m placing my faith in my amazing customers who have continued to support us despite it all,  my incredible employees who are still hustling to keep our business afloat and the other small businesses in my network who are pivoting and innovating in some seriously genius ways. The U.S. Government wishes it had half the amount of creativity and ingenuity of the small business community right now.  We need to collaborate and strengthen our communities of support. We need to buy everything we possibly can from other small businesses right now. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

We simply can’t rely on this administration to bail us out. If they end up getting it together, GREAT! I’ve heard some people are starting to get their EIDL loans and stimulus checks! YAY! (I’ve heard far more say they’ve heard nothing and gotten nothing.) In the meantime, if you’re a small business owner, know that you’re not alone in your confusion/overwhelm. They made it confusing and overwhelming on purpose. It’s the system that’s broken, not you. You are a very powerful witch, and witches are the future.

The Moon is in Pisces and the Witches say “Help someone finish.”

*HausWitch does not condone violent uprising, references to pitchforks and guillotines are somewhat tongue-in-cheek and simply meant to call in the energy of the tools used by the oppressed to symbolize the need for radical change. Trust me, no one at HausWitch is tough enough for a violent revolution.