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Large corporations have long received special treatment, in a system in which both parties compete to be more “pro-business” than the other. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin outraged many in June when he announced the Trump administration would not be revealing which companies received PPP (small business) loans, reversing course on an earlier promise to audit the loans of anyone who received more than $2 million from the program.
The discovery that several large restaurant chains – including Potbelly, Shake Shack, and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse – had availed themselves of the cash pool meant for small businesses despite employing thousands of employees triggered an outpouring of rage, shaming some companies (including Shake Shack) into returning their bailout money.
While bigger companies seemed to have a choice on whether or not to return the money willingly, the situation for workers and small business owners has proved very different, as Hurley, the health coach sandbagged with five-figure debt, discovered. She has started a petition demanding Congress waive the surprise charges.
“It was an error in your system. I submitted my information in good faith that you knew how to do math. You can’t place the burden of your error on me,” she told the Wall Street Journal.
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