The Corner

Business

Why Shouldn’t Private-Jet Companies Receive PPP Aid?

Some of our class-conscious friends are scandalized by how PPP funds were used. Robert Frank of CNBC reports:

Billionaires, country clubs, private jet companies and Kanye West all received millions in government funding under the Paycheck Protection Program, according to the Small Business Administration.

. . . Soho House, the exclusive membership club controlled by billionaire Ron Burkle, received loans totaling $9 million to $23 million by applying for seven loans through its New York, Miami Beach, Chicago and West Hollywood locations. Last month, Soho House raised $100 million from private investors, including Burkle, that gave the company a valuation of $2 billion — equal to its pre-pandemic valuation.

. . . The most famous billionaire to receive PPP funds is Kanye West. West’s Yeezy fashion brand received $2 million to $5 million. West has said his brand is worth $3 billion and recently announced a collaboration with Gap that could be worth $100 million or more depending on the company’s performance.

So, what? If Soho House is eligible for PPP assistance, why should Soho House not apply for and receive PPP assistance?

There are three possible complaints here, none of which Robert Frank of CNBC considers in his report. 1. Soho House, Kanye West, et al. filed fraudulent paperwork and received PPP assistance illegally, a proposition for which there is no evidence in Frank’s CNBC report or anywhere else of which I am aware; 2. Kanye West et al. made good-faith applications but were wrongly approved for assistance by the government; 3. Kanye West et al. were eligible for PPP assistance, applied for it properly, and were properly approved, but PPP should have been designed differently on the grounds of Eek rich people! and in order to spare progressives the trauma of watching the government provide emergency economic aid during an emergency with economic effects that are not limited to hardscrabble vegan pupuserias in Williamsburg.

This is approximately the same thing we see every couple of years with business-tax incentives. It’s always the same story: The government creates a tax break to incentivize manufacturing or some other end, businesses apply for and receive those tax breaks, and the same people who created the incentives turn around and complain about businesses’ making use of them. It’s absurd.

If somebody actually did something wrong here, CNBC won’t tell you, and apparently is not even interested in the question.

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