Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenCruz threatens to stop federal agencies from cooperating with Hollywood over China ‘censorship’ Has Justice Department partisanship finally hit a wall? Fox News poll: Biden opens up 8-point lead over Trump MORE on Friday hit President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate panel approves Trump nominee under investigation Melania Trump thanks students in video message during CNN town hall Fauci says media will be ‘seeing more’ of him, coronavirus task force after press hiatus MORE‘s efforts to rescue the economy during the coronavirus pandemic, saying the focus has been on helping big corporations instead of small businesses.
“I just think he’s got this all backwards, but he doesn’t seem to care much about it,” the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said in an interview with CNBC. “You know what the White House is proposing? More tax cuts for corporate America. I’ve got a novel idea, how about some relief for main street?”
The $2.2 trillion CARES Act, signed into law on March 27, expanded unemployment benefits and provided relief checks for people making up to $99,000 but also included bailout funds for airlines and emergency loans for small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
The Treasury Department has allocated more than $550 billion in forgivable loans through the PPP, but the program came under harsh criticism after bigger, more connected companies were able to access the funds ahead of many small businesses.
The Trump administration has also worked with the Federal Reserve to set up a number of lending facilities that have pumped trillions of dollars into the economy, ensuring cash is available to financial markets and a variety of corporations.
Biden hit the administration for proposing payroll tax cuts for companies and being slow to get the $600 billion Main Street Lending Program for companies with less than $5 billion in annual revenue off the ground. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has said the lending facilities and several others would be up and running in June.
“The vast majority of the money’s gone to the very wealthy and to major corporations. Not a single penny’s gone to the main street fund that was set up, not one penny in the last three months. And the PPP, what happened? People are getting locked out,” Biden said.
“What we’re doing now is upside down — the bigger you are, the faster you get the money; the smaller you are, you don’t get the money,” he added.
Biden also sounded a less optimistic note on how quickly the economy will recover.
Trump has repeatedly said he expects to see solid growth in the fourth quarter and a major economic surge next year.
Biden said he did not expect a quick, “V-shaped” recovery and the relative resilience of the stock market.
“The vast majority of the American people who are suffering right now, they don’t measure their public health, their physical security and their economic stability based on the market,” he said.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is projecting the economy will contract by 5.6 percent this year followed by unemployment averaging 9.3 percent in 2021. The jobless rate shot up to 14.7 percent in April, after being just 3.5 percent in February.