How are things going at the Small Business Administration (SBA) where the Trump-era Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is being administered?
It's been a while since we've checked in on the state of the program and things are somehow comically worse now than they were during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
We already knew that the mechanism for forgiving PPP loans could take a long time to administer because the Trump regime did such a poor job of recording who even received loans in the first place, but the situation is becoming more clear now.
It won't just take a long time to process every loan; it could take literally a decade.
From the Washington Business Journal:
That is partly because of the addition of a second round of the forgivable loan program that launched in 2021, as well as the crush of forgiveness applications in front of what has historically been a small agency, said PPP expert and attorney Tenley Carp, a partner at law firm Arnall Golden Gregory LLP. She said the timeline, in which small businesses have up until 10 months from the end of their loan’s covered period, to apply for forgiveness, plus time for lenders and the SBA to consider appeals, and the resulting legal challenges that follow, could see some PPP loans in limbo for the better part of a decade.
Set your expectations accordingly, she said.
“Honestly, because of how long it will take to get through millions of loan forgiveness applications, I now think I would not be shocked if I said to myself one day that, 'It started in 2020 and we are getting very close to 2030,'” Carp said, adding she originally thought in 2020 that the entire process would play out in three to four years. “Now, I can see this taking six to eight years to wrap.”
I've long inferred that the appeals process would be the most lengthy process and the Trump regime is primarily responsible for that.
As you may recall, the Trump regime was still rewriting the rules for loan forgiveness even months after the first round of loans was dispersed in the spring of last year. The regime was still rewriting the rules as recently as during the holiday season. That seems relevant to any legal appeal filed by a business that literally may not have known what the criteria for forgiveness was.
It would be fair to say that Congress is also responsible for this mess because they handed the Trump regime a mandate to create the program but ultimately left the details to former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, but it didn't have to be this bad.
We spent nearly a trillion dollars on this program and we still don't know how many jobs it supposedly saved. We probably never will.