Thu. 6/4/20: COVID-19 Update


Congress approves sweeping changes to PPP. Here are the details – Washington Business Journal. 

These modifications to the PPP program were originally part of the HEROES Act, which Senate Republicans vowed would never pass because they were against a different part of that act which would have extended the $600 monthly supplemental unemployment benefit.

So instead, legislators both Democrat and Republican passed this legislation, which helps businesses and hurts workers, without winning anything for working people. Further weakening of the rules is likely.

The basic provisions:

  • Instead of having to pay out 75% of the PPP money to workers, business now only have to pay out 60%.
  • Instead of having to spend the money in 8 weeks, businesses have 24 weeks or until December 31.
  • Small businesses that did not rehire employees, hire new employees or return to the same level of business as before the virus can have their loans forgiven anyway.
  • Businesses that got PPP funds can now also get a tax credit to defer payroll taxes (even as they use PPP money to pay payroll) – which was prohibited before as “double dipping.”
  • For those that do have to repay the loans, they will have 5 years to do so instead of 2.
  • More time to rehire employees.

One-Third of America’s Record Unemployment Payout Hasn’t Arrived – Bloomberg News. 

Bloomberg estimates that $67 billion in unemployment benefits from March, April and May still has not been paid out.

Hawaii Island, Maui resorts lay off more than 900 employees – Pacific Business News. 

Waikoloa Beach Marriott and Westin Maui both issued WARN notices.

Food demands in Hawaii increase as unemployment insurance complaints continue – Honolulu Star-Advertiser. 

Before the pandemic, 1 out of 8 Hawaii residents were already struggling with food security. Nonprofits like the Hawaii Foodbank are struggling to meet the growing demand due to the layoffs caused by COVID-19.

HTA chief announces retirement amid crisis for Hawaii tourism industry – Honolulu Star-Advertiser. 

Chris Tatum (former general manager of Waikiki Beach Marriott) is retiring from the HTA board as of August 31.

A Short History of U.S. Law Enforcement Infiltrating Protests – The Intercept. 

As the title states, this article provides a useful look at law enforcement infiltrating leftist movements and what they have done once they’re in to try to destroy those movements.

Don’t Balance The Budget On The Backs Of The Working Class – editorial by Andrea Brower, published in Honolulu Civil Beat. 

Excerpt: “In the new plantation economy, Hawaii provides cheap labor, natural “resources” (i.e., aina), infrastructure and direct public treasury support in exchange for low-wage jobs and an inflated cost of living. Compared to the profits they extract, multinational companies pay little back to the people and land that create it. A change in form, but not in function, from plantation days of the past.”

Excerpt: “Hawaii already had the distinction of being the state where residents are “most likely” to live paycheck to paycheck. Compared to other states, we have the highest cost of living and the lowest paid workers.”

COVID Cases Today

World: Cases: 6.6M. Deaths: 389k .

USA: Cases: 1.87M.  Deaths: 108.2k.

Hawaii: Cases:  655.  Deaths: 17.  Hospitalized: 83. Recovered: 61