Politics & MoneyCoronavirus

Biden blasts big banks for failing to extend rescue funds to small businesses

American taxpayers “bailed their asses out” in 2008, the former vice president says

Former Vice President Joe Biden blasted big banks for failing to reserve enough Payroll Protection Program funds for small businesses and called corporate America “greedy as hell” after taxpayers “bailed their asses out” in 2008 when they were near insolvency.

The nation’s largest banks are “only alive because of the American taxpayer,” yet they gave their large corporate clients the first shot at CARES Act rescue funds intended for small businesses, Biden said in an interview with Politico on Saturday.

“We knew from the beginning that the big banks don’t like lending to small businesses,” Biden said. “I’m telling you, though, if Main Street businesses don’t get help, they’re gone.”

Biden, the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee to take on President Donald Trump in November’s election, said the next round of COVID-19 rescue coming out of Congress needs to be “a hell of a lot bigger” than March’s $2.2 trillion CARES Act.

He said it must provide emergency funds to states that are struggling to keep up with the COVID-19 pandemic or they’ll be “laying off a hell of a lot of teachers and cops and firefighters,” and that the administration is already “wasting a hell of a lot of money.”

He didn’t cite specifics of how the Trump administration has wasted money, but one project he’s condemned in the past is the wall on the southern border with Mexico that so far has cost $20 million a mile, according to numbers in January from the Department of Homeland Security. As well, Biden in the past has criticized what he’s described as the “Trump tax cut” that reduced income taxes on the wealthiest Americans and reduced last year’s federal tax receipts from corporations to the lowest level since the 2008 financial crisis.

Biden also slammed the Trump administration for what he described as a lack of oversight. Earlier this month, Trump fired the Pentagon inspector general who had been selected to oversee the $2.2 trillion CARES Act and prevent fraud. A week earlier, Trump fired the intelligence community inspector general, Michael Atkinson.

“The Obama stimulus was wildly controversial, but it won bipartisan praise for its strict oversight and unusually low levels of fraud,” the Politico article said.

Biden was at his most indignant during the interview when he recounted how he recruited a gruff law enforcement veteran named Earl Devaney to oversee the Recovery Act in 2009 and compared it to Trump firing the CARES Act inspector general, the Politico story said.

“I wanted to bring in the toughest son-of-a-bitch in the country – I really mean it, I’m not joking – because we wanted to make sure we did it by the numbers with genuine oversight,” Biden said. “Right now, there’s no oversight.”

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