An Out of the Box Proposal

(I warned you I was fired up today).

As you may have noticed, a lot of my mind has gone towards 1) flattening the curve, and 2) the seemingly opposite goal of reducing the catastrophic economic effect on small businesses.

According to the governor's press conference yesterday, 123,000 people have applied for unemployment, and I think there's a lot more to come.

And I know for a fact that the reason that small businesses are afraid to close are 1) so they can continue to employ their workers, who they feel a responsibility for, and 2) because there is no/little help for business owners. The businesses that are still open don't want to be open, they just don't see another way. The ones that are already closed are terrified.

So what if we (as a city, state, or country, likely the city or state) enacted this plan:

1) A small (under 3.5 million? Higher budget? Lower?) business registers with the city/state/feds as "temporarily closed for COVID-19." (I don't know how one checks that they really are closed, but we can get to that later.)

2) This opens up additional unemployment pay for their employees. UI pays 50% of wages up to 26 weeks. This plan would pay between 60-75% of the employees' average wages, with the base 50% still coming from UI and the balance from a special relief fund.

3) In addition, the business owner is paid some kind of basic income payment (preferably weekly, maybe monthly) during the closure, to help keep up with overhead and some kind of compensation to the owners, who are not usually covered by UI. Perhaps, for example, this allows the business to continue to pay rent, so their landlord does not go into foreclosure.

4) Once the business re-opens, they are given marketing support by the city/state/federal marketing entities. Maybe a list of "Business Heroes" or something like that, and increased print/social media/other support.

It's just the sketch of a plan right now, but it seems like a plan that could be quickly put into place and have immediate but significant effect on both economic stability and flattening the curve.

How do we get this idea out there?

Comments

bethanyg said…
I'm corrected that UI apparently pays 60%. I was told 50% by someone who applied yesterday. Sorry for the error!

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