The economic response to the COVID-19 crisis has illuminated the many ways our economy is set up to reinforce corporate power. While the Federal Reserve was eager and able to quickly support Wall Street and large corporations, smaller businesses have been forced to navigate an atrophied Small Business Administration, working through a consolidated banking sector, to access available relief. The result has been a soaring stock market, buoyed by the Fed’s no-strings-attached commitment to buying corporate debt, on the one hand, while smaller businesses remain in a state of precarity, with small businesses owned by people of color disproportionately excluded from support, on the other.
This “tale of two bailouts” reveals both a structural inability and, in the case of the Fed, indifference, to robustly and equitably assist small businesses and the jobs and communities they support. As COVID-19 and our leaders’ responses to it continue to transform our economy, policymakers and advocates must rethink the ways that public institutions are contributing to consolidated corporate power — not just through their actions, but by design.
On Friday, June 19th at 1:00 PM, Economic Liberties hosted a conversation between Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-Calif.), who sits on the House Financial Services Committee and has demanded better oversight of the coronavirus bailouts, and Economic Liberties’ Executive Director Sarah Miller.
After that, we heard from the Honorable Sarah Bloom Raskin, former Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and Governor of the Federal Reserve Board, Mehrsa Baradaran, Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine, Sam Long, a Boston-based small business investor, and Graham Steele, Senior Fellow at Economic Liberties and director of the Corporations and Society Initiative at Stanford Graduate School of Business.