Where's My Bailout? It Might Be Coming Soon

Last Updated Dec 11, 2009 10:04 AM EST

A frequently heard refrain on Main Street as the U.S. government bailed out Wall Street was this: Hey Uncle Sam, where's my bailout?

If you own a small business, you might be getting your own TARP funding soon. According to Washington Post reporting by David Cho, the White House is considering a proposal to use bailout money for loans to small businesses in the hopes of spurring more hiring.

The plan is to set up a new TARP entity that would allow banks to access funds without restrictions, so they in turn could offer attractive small-business loans. Similar proposals to stimulate bank lending failed because banks were hesitant to tie themselves to TARP restrictions.

The idea that a business loan will convince small-business owners to hire is controversial. SBOs I talk with just roll their eyes at the thought of adding debt and head count with the economic climate so unclear.

For small-business owners reading this, what do you think? Would attractive (presumably low interest) loans convince you to do some more hiring?

  • Sean Silverthorne

    Sean Silverthorne is the editor of HBS Working Knowledge, which provides a first look at the research and ideas of Harvard Business School faculty. Working Knowledge, which won a Webby award in 2007, currently records 4 million unique visitors a year. He has been with HBS since 2001.

    Silverthorne has 28 years experience in print and online journalism. Before arriving at HBS, he was a senior editor at CNET and executive editor of ZDNET News. While at At Ziff-Davis, Silverthorne also worked on the daily technology TV show The Site, and was a senior editor at PC Week Inside, which chronicled the business of the technology industry. He has held several reporting and editing roles on a variety of newspapers, and was Investor Business Daily's first journalist based in Silicon Valley.