Column

Congress Is About to Bail Out Everyone — Except Black Business Owners

Without a lobby to advocate on their behalf, Black barbers face economic annihilation

Mike Muse
LEVEL
Published in
5 min readMar 24, 2020

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Photo: Corey Jenkins

Update 6/7/22: Level has a new home. You can read this article and other new articles by visiting LEVELMAN.com.

On Sunday, New York announced that the state now accounts for roughly 5% of coronavirus cases worldwide, and nearly 2,000 of those who tested positive for the virus in the state have been hospitalized.

In response, a growing number of governors, from New York to California, have ordered various restrictions on public gatherings and businesses. Such measures, necessary though they are, have crippled the economy at every level, from corporate to small business to individual.

Recognizing the moral imperative of the moment, Congress has proposed a $1.8 trillion economic stabilization package to aid families and businesses affected by the pandemic. (That’s nearly double the size of the expected federal budget deficit this year, but market stabilization and Americans’ well-being takes precedence in a moment like this.)

A bailout of this size and scope is unprecedented. Every industry is being devastated by the coronavirus. The American public and industries need immediate relief, and for the first time, voting in favor of a bailout will not cost an elected official their position. There are no conversations around deficit spending when the Las Vegas Strip is closed for business.

Unlike businesses selling goods like clothing or food, barbers can’t transition their business to online commerce or takeout service; there are no unemployment benefits to apply for. A vanity service doesn’t immediately come to mind for a bailout — and it won’t without a representative convincing legislators of its worth.

For far too long, when it comes to our nation’s well-being, the role of government intervention in citizens’ lives has come down to a single rhetorical question: Is it a…

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Mike Muse
LEVEL
Writer for

Mike Muse Intersects Politics x Pop Culture. He is host of "The Mike Muse Show" on SiriusXM & Co-host "Sway in the Morning" on SiriusXM & ABC News Contributor