“Government spending Huge problem,” conservative video site PragerU tweeted in September 2019. We should reinvest in Americans by giving them a helping hand, not handouts,” the group wrote in another tweet in November with a video clip of then-Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson discussing prisoner rehabilitation titled, “Americans Need a Hand, Not a Help.”
But in the past year, right-wing groups that have long opposed the concept of increasing government spending on “grants” received more than $1.7 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans while seeing big increases in contributions or net assets, according to new research from the government watchdog group Accountable. US. Last April, the Small Business Administration launched a $349 billion emergency loan program to help small businesses struggling at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Public-private partnership loans were made to the Prager University Foundation, the Ayn Rand Institute, and Americans for Tax Reform. general last summer. But 990 samples for 2020 were recently released showing that each group saw significant increases in contributions or net revenue at the same time that it received hundreds of thousands of dollars in government support.
“Right-wing groups that are waving their fingers at federal relief spending for local governments and working families don’t seem to care when it benefits them,” Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US, said in a statement. “The same people who got jobs through government strike programs have been among the early runners-up for taxpayer-funded assistance during the COVID-19 crisis — assistance meant for companies struggling with mom and pop. Their hypocrisy is only outdone by their insolence. If these The groups are serious about their purported principles, they are going to return that money to the taxpayers.”
at the time of occurrence From the Covid-19 pandemic last year, shortly before the Prager University Foundation took out a loan from the PPP, Dennis Prager was already downplaying the severity of the virus. Videos posted throughout the pandemic by conservative video site PragerU, which Prager co-founded in 2011, claimed there had been an “organised attack” against experimental use of hydroxychloroquine, and that the number of deaths from Covid-19 had swelled. The group’s YouTube page had 2.9 million subscribers, and it said its videos were viewed more than 1 billion times in 2019.
The Prager University Foundation, which hosts PragerU, received more than $704,000 in PPP loans in the same year it saw a 55 percent increase, $12.3 million in contributions from 2019, and a $15 million increase in net worth during the same period. The nonprofit group, founded in 2009, has long been critical of the concept of government spending and “handouts.” In October, PragerU posted a video titled “The Bankrupting of America,” which criticized former President Donald Trump’s approval of a “massive increase in government spending” during the pandemic, as well as additional spending by President Joe Biden.
The Ayn Rand Institute received more than $713,000 in PPP loans last spring. The group’s mission is “to create a culture whose guiding principles are reason, rational self-interest, individualism and laissez-faire capitalism – a culture in which individuals are free to pursue their own happiness.”
Last May, ARI published a blog explaining why government assistance is accepted despite Rand’s well-known stance against such programs. “The CARES Act has created a moral dilemma for those Americans who value freedom,” they wrote. The pandemic has cost them their jobs, savings and businesses. They blame the government for much of this loss. But because they oppose government grants, they worry that accepting CARES funds would be a breach of integrity. At the Ayn Rand Institute, we are committed to the philosophical principle. And because we are, we will take whatever relief money is offered to us. We will take it without apology, because the principle here is: justice.”
ARI reported $7.6 million in contributions last year, up 19 percent from 2019. The group reported a profit of $1.2 million last year, up from a loss of $790,000 in 2019.
Americans for Tax Reform, the nonprofit wing of Americans for Tax Reform, received more than $290,000 in purchasing power parity relief last spring. The group said the loan helped the company avoid layoffs, writing that it was “legally and financially separate 501(c)3 research and education” that was “hard hit by the government shutdown.” ATRF’s net assets rose last year by 36 percent, or $4.6 million, reducing its 2019 deficit of $17.5 million to $12.9 million. Americans for Tax Reform and its foundation were founded in 1985 by Republican Grover Norquist at the behest of former President Ronald Reagan, to oppose all tax increases.
Despite its stated goals, billions of dollars in Paycheck Protection Program loans went to wealthy business owners and not the mom and pop stores they were designed to support. Many of these small businesses were rejected outright or received less money than they asked for. The PPP program has also been accused of excluding black small business owners.