Berkshire Hathaway holding company chairman and CEO, Warren Buffett urged Congress to expand aid to small businesses. He stressed that because of the pandemic it is difficult for them to survive and they need government funding.
“It’s an economic war,” Buffett told CNBC during a telephone interview about what happens to small businesses during this pandemic. Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon took part in the same program.
Specifically, Buffett called on lawmakers to expand the Paycheck Protection Program, a $ 669 billion business loan program in the United States established to help small businesses continue to pay their workers’ wages.
“I think the country owes it to the millions of small entrepreneurs … you just have to renew the checks and reach the end of the tunnel,” Buffett stressed.
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He compared the current situation to World War II when many industries were shut down and everything went to the defense industry.
“Well, we’ve closed a lot of people in this recession and others are thriving, and I think the country owes it to the really millions of small entrepreneurs,” he said.
The window to apply for loans from the program closed earlier this year, although funds have not yet been depleted. Yet Congress has been at a standstill for months in its negotiations for the government to approve more loans. Without additional help for small businesses, Congress is “in the process of thwarting the dreams of tens of thousands,” Buffett believes.
“It would be very foolish not to go through with this and not allow these people to go back to where they could do the kind of business they did before,” added the billionaire.
Small businesses, especially restaurants, are experiencing a major crisis during the pandemic as social distancing restrictions force them to limit their capacity and in many cases even close. This is the case not only in the US but in many other countries.