Reps. Dean Phillips (D. MN), Earl Blumenauer (D. OR), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R. PA) began a push for small business relief last month. In a letter to Congress, they said that money should be provided to industries that have been most impacted by Omicron through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF).
The fund ran out of money almost immediately. Easily, two-thirds of its applicants were turned away.
The letter stated, “While the U.S. economy continues to grow, the recovery has been uneven, and the negative effect of the rapid spread of new Covid-19 variants disproportionately impacts businesses which rely upon in-person gathering to survive, including the restaurant, hospitality, fitness, live events, and travel industries.”
“We…call on House and Senate Leadership to expedite a targeted relief package that funds all previously eligible requests through the RRF, and allows small businesses in the fitness, live events, and travel industries to request much needed federal assistance,” it continued.
It’s a great idea, but there are at least two legislative barriers to any further small business relief.
First is the fact that the states are, all of a sudden, flush with cash. Our Governor in the State of Illinois has been running re-election commercials touting the fact that the state is now paying its bills on time and that the bond rating companies have just raised our rating.
Did anyone believe that it was because our Government magically got it’s fiscal house in order. The real reason is that Illinois received billions in stimulus money and is using it to pay its bills.
My point is that many Senators and Representatives believe that the states should actually use their Stimulus checks to help small businesses instead of paying a backlog of payables. The other problem is that one side of the aisle wants to continue spending money while the other is more fiscally conservative.
Either way, it would be a long, hard road for anything to actually get to the President’s desk for signature in the current political environment. We’ll see what happens.
Let me leave you with this.
Whenever I feel beat up, tired, or overworked, I think of the young men and women currently guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
They must commit 2 years of their life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks underneath the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives.
They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the uniform (fighting) or the tomb in any way. After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as a guard of the tomb. There are only 400 presently worn.
The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the pin.
During their first six months of duty, a guard cannot talk to anyone, or watch TV. All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred.
Every guard spends at least five hours per day getting their uniforms ready for duty. There are no wrinkles, folds, or lint on their uniforms. Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror.
In 2003, as Hurricane Isabelle approached Washington, the Senate and House took 2 days off in anticipation of the storm. Given the dangers of the hurricane, the military members guarding the tomb were given permission to suspend the assignment.
They respectfully declined, saying”No Sir. Not on my watch. We have a job to do, and nothing’s going to force us to leave our post.”
I want you to picture this. Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they walked 21 steps in one direction. They then waited 21 seconds, did an about face moving their rifle to the other shoulder, and repeated the process.
The winds were blowing so hard, they could barely remain erect.
They said that guarding the tomb was not just an assignment, but the highest honor that could ever be afforded a serviceperson. The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24 hours, 7 days a week, since 1930.
Entrepreneuring is hard. There isn’t anything easy about it. If you want easy, go get a job. But don’t ever forget that it’s a sacred duty, a sacred honor, and a sacred privilege. Millions have died to give you this freedom and right.
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