Economic, Pandemic, Political Threat Looms for Restaurants

Restaurants across the nation are in trouble. Not many policymakers are even talking about what is happening to these small businesses in nearly every town and city in America.

The threat is not isolated to restaurants as entire communities are at risk when a key sector of the economy falters. It impacts every other consumer-driven business, certainly in the near vicinity of the now vacant eatery, but also every supplier, which impacts their budgets, forcing cuts to minimize losses.

Displaced workers will suffer the most, as they already likely have. Access to unemployment and other key benefits like healthcare may have already been disrupted due to cuts that began at the end of December when restaurants saw a 50% decline in business. Having worked in restaurants for 20 years, the end of the year business was often the busiest time of the year, filled with dinner parties and celebrations. Those days are over.

This industry has been hit so hard by not simply the pandemic, not just the economic fallout of the shutdown in 2020, but particularly the deepening of our political divide, a widening of economic inequality, and the rot from our lack of infrastructure and investment in workers over 50 years.

The nation might be better off that the Build Back Better bill did not yet become law. It provides a last opportunity to provide an influx of resources and investment in this key sector.

Do I think they should just hand out blank checks? Hell No.

I also don’t believe large restaurant franchises should have access to as much of these resources.

We have to become more targeted in relief programs, otherwise, it could add fuel to this persisting inflation problem we seem to be stuck within.

We have to expect more from ourselves and our elected officials. Demand they provide innovative solutions, not just play the blame game for the home team to hate their fellow Americans.

We cannot persist along the same paths and expect anything but more of the same patchwork of chosen winners and forgotten losers, where the winners often already had all the perks and whistles they needed and the losers, who were most in need, couldn’t access a dime in time to save their businesses, jobs, and lives of so many other people.

The best part of our American form of government is that it can adapt and innovate quickly when we need and demand it to do so. This quality of our government is what sets us apart from any other democracy in the world.

A check alone won’t fix what are now systemic problems.

If any official ever again makes a declaration that on some date in some near future we will finally get back to normal . . . they should probably be fired because they obviously haven’t learned anything about this pandemic or how our people respond to it.

We can see what’s happening very clearly within some sectors of the economy. I just don’t believe many of those who suffer and teeter on the edge can communicate the depth of their economic problems, nor the solutions that would yield both short and long term benefits.

We are often told by some politicians that the previous programs that were setup to help businesses were in someway bad or tainted, yet those same politicians utilized those same programs they denigrated so publicly for their own political advantage. Just as they had campaigned about protecting their special tax status for their wealth within our state.

It’s all part of the same pattern that has plagued us long before the pandemic landed in America or became a constant headline and headache. It’s too difficult to challenge what you believe is the majority view in your own neighborhood. Especially when you know they can be violent when someone disagrees with them. That is what some people saw on January 6th.

I believe we can and should challenge mistaken views and failed policies. If we don’t, and, if we don’t know enough to do so, we are what we have been complaining about all along- part of the problem.

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