The federal government’s response to the coronavirus crisis has pumped trillions of dollars into America’s wealthiest companies and investors, along with smaller chunks for lower- and middle-class families, in ways that reinforced and widened disparities between races and between economic classes, according to economists.
As lawmakers and White House officials grapple with the next round of coronavirus relief, it is becoming clearer that the Federal Reserve’s actions to mitigate the crisis, including slashing interest rates and favoring those with existing lending relationships, are further aggravating economic disparities.
Near the New York state line in Greenwich, however, Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm had no problem getting a taxpayer-backed windfall. The sprawling estate houses one of his family’s mansionsand a thoroughbred facility for his polo horses.
On April 6, Small Business Administration records show, the horse farm received a loan of $350,000 to $1 million to support wages for a staff of about five dozen people. Five weeks later, on May 15, White Birch Farm borrowed $25.7 million from JPMorgan Chase to buy a $47 million estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
Brant, a paper-mill magnate who recently sold a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting from his collection for more than $100 million, said the paycheck protection loan — designed to help struggling small businesses meet payroll during the pandemic — was handled by the limited liability company’s chief financial officer, Jack Field, who also signed for the loan on the Palm Beach estate. Under the terms of the SBA program, the federal loan is likely to convert into a taxpayer-funded grant, and even if it doesn’t, the interest rate is a plum 1 percent.
“I assume that there must have been a very good reason for it because of the COVID situation,” Brant said when reached on his cellphone July 17. “I didn’t know the amount or the real details of that. I don’t have anything to do with that.”
When Congress and President Donald Trump created the loan program, they were clear that the intention was to protect workers from layoffs. No one said anything about providing for the upkeep of personal polo grounds or ensuring that the ultra-rich, like Brant, could improve their balance sheets with backing from taxpayers.
“It’s disgusting,” Esaw said of Brant’s loan. “It really is.”
Read more: https://www.rawstory.com/2020/08/trump-pal-stunned-by-presidents-trainwreck-interview-with-axios-i-cringed-i-despaired-and-then-i-felt-angry/?utm_source=push_notifications