Mariana Fabian Headshot

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “shop local” before. At the time of COVID-19, it is essential that these small businesses are protected by the government and the citizens of the U.S. However, some members of Congress have proven that they don’t care about small businesses as much as they pretend to. For Democrats and Republicans alike, money is more important than human lives, and they have proven this through their “handouts.”

These free handouts that Congress has given towards big corporations, but not small businesses, have not gained enough national attention. If you’ve never heard of handouts, they are more well-known as “bailouts,” and this isn’t the first time the government has done this.

In 2008, America faced a terrible recession that uprooted people’s lives throughout the country. According to Pro Republica, in 2008, the world faced a financial crisis that put millions of people out of their homes and jobs. Obama and his administration curated programs to aid people to keep their homes, but unfortunately, the plans all fell through. The median household income remained below what it had been in 2007, until 2016.

It would be nice to say that this recession taught the government to avoid things like bailouts for huge corporations and how the economy must prove more powerful against such situations.

However, as historians typically say: “History repeats itself.” When Congress passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill to aid Americans during to COVID-19, it wasn’t as helpful as most individuals thought it could be. The Washington Post reported that members of Congress included a “tiny” provision in that package which was aimed at providing billions of dollars in emergency assistance to Boeing, an aerospace monopoly that has come under fire — both literally and figuratively.

I wouldn’t call this $17 billion federal loan program for large corporations a tiny provision, but members of Congress coined this money as critical for keeping our national security, which inadvertently gives money to Boeing.

While I do think that national security is important, this bill has been wrongfully advocated by the government as a huge help to the working Americans. The reality is that it just isn’t, and it’s just another bailout to corporations that would’ve already survived a pandemic. Instead, small businesses are left to scrape funds together to keep their establishments open.

Thankfully, there have been several funds put together for small businesses to apply for money or take out loans throughout North Carolina. A common one that I recommend for small businesses to look into is the Carolina Small Business Development Fund. According to the Triangle Business Journal, NC’s hefty $1.2 billion coronavirus relief bill sets aside $125 million to aid small businesses during this time.

It is crucial that patrons throughout the state and the country pay attention to the small businesses they are giving to. Many Black-owned businesses have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and need support at this time. Many black business owners throughout the Triangle Area are struggling to keep their doors open, and The News & Observer provided a list of restaurants and businesses to support at this time.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the U.S House of Representatives, said it best in her speech, which called out members of the Senate,

"What did the Senate majority fight for?” Ocasio-Cortez said. “One of the largest corporate bailouts with as few strings as possible in American history. Shameful."

So, I ask the government and individuals who have voted for such representatives: Why do you vote this way, if Republicans and Democrats have voted against your will this time? Giving out corporate bailouts, all while the working class is struggling to get by with the lousy $1,200 stimulus check, is embarrassing. As AOC said, it is shameful for members of Congress to have devoted so much to big businesses. American citizens, I inquire that you should think about who cares about your well-being because it doesn’t seem to be your elected officials.