The dead horse known as the Paycheck Protection Program has been beaten many times over, but the hits keep coming.
The Trump regime's more or less official position is that China is responsible the coronavirus pandemic. Trump himself calls it the "China virus" and his top trade adviser, Peter Navarro, has appeared on television as recently as last week to repeatedly claim that China deliberately spread the virus to weaken our economy.
With all of that said, the Trump regime has not taken action to prevent Chinese-owned companies from obtaining funds from the Paycheck Protection Program.
What's really interesting, for the lack of a better word, is the nature of the businesses that received a bailout.
According to a review of publicly available loan data by the strategy consulting firm Horizon Advisory, $192 million to $419 million has gone to more than 125 companies that Chinese entities own or invest in. Many of the loans were quite sizable; at least 32 Chinese companies received loans worth more than $1 million, with those totaling as much as $180 million.
The report acknowledges that the participation of these companies in the lending program most likely saved an unspecified number of jobs based in the United States, but it also suggests that many of the businesses probably had access to other forms of capital from public or private markets to support their American operations. The Treasury Department has estimated that the overall program has kept 50 million workers employed in the United States. [...]
Among the companies highlighted in the report were Continental Aerospace Technologies, which received a loan of up to $10 million, and Aviage Systems, which received a loan of up to $350,000. The companies are owned by Aviation Industry Corporation of China, a state-owned conglomerate that the Department of Defense classified this year as a Chinese military company.
As you may recall, the Trump regime recently expanded the Commerce Department's export control "blacklist" to sanction foreign companies that sell equipment to Huawei and other Chinese-owned companies that share technology with the Chinese military. This applies to foreign companies that use a manufacturing process based on American-owned patents and primarily, but not exclusively, affected Taiwan's largest manufacturer.
So, while we're telling foreign semiconductor manufacturers that they can't sell chips to China, for example, because the technology may wind up in the hands of China's military, we're dolling out bailout money to Chinese-owned companies with even more direct ties to China's military.
Whether or not there's an economic merit to bailing out a foreign company with American employees is up for debate, but hundreds of foreign companies receiving bailouts means hundreds of American companies couldn't secure one. What's our real priority?
If we had simply mailed more checks to every American instead of funneling the money through several middlemen -- first through commercial banks administering the Paycheck Protection Program and then through business owners and managers -- this wouldn't be a question.
Members of the Trump regime have called for automatically forgiving Paycheck Protection loans under $1 million and that would apply to a majority of these loans to foreign-owned companies.