Dave Moore, Staff Writer
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban gave a “maybe” to a 2024 presidential run, and suggested a national program for COVID-19 testing that employs workers to expand testing and tracing, and serve at-risk populations.
He also pitched a federal stimulus package that would give $1,000 to households every few weeks with the stipulation that the funds must be spent within 10 days to require consumers to inject that capital into the economy.
Those were just a few ideas and thoughts expressed by Cuban in a candid, virtual Dallas Regional Chamber Board of Advisors meeting on Wednesday, May 20.
In his interview with WFAA anchor Cynthia Izaguirre, Cuban expressed frustration with the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) intended to help small businesses, saying it took too long for struggling companies to receive the aid.
“The concept of PPP was great,” he said. “Although it was approved in the first couple days of April, companies didn’t see it until weeks later. Because of that delay, a lot of companies have had to lay people off. We see that with 36 million people unemployed – and who knows how many people have been given reduced hours or reduced pay – that number could be about 50 million.”
Cuban said now that companies are starting to see that money, workers, consumers, and companies are in a catch-22: though they’re starting to get money from PPP, they can’t fully open in most municipalities across the country; and a lot of their employees don’t want to be called back to work because they’ll lose their incremental unemployment insurance income.
He added that individuals have lost faith in their financial futures, so they’re not spending money.
“Because of that lack confidence, we’ve seen the savings rate increase to more than it’s been in over 40 years,” he said. “Which means money is not going into the economy. Money is not being spent on everything from just the essentials – utilities, broadband, mortgages – but also cakes, cookies, and bicycles. You know, the nonessentials. Until that money is spent, then businesses aren’t going to have the demand they need for when they reopen.”
Cuban thinks consumer confidence will improve once a vaccine is produced. “Two, I think we need a federal jobs program. With 36 million unemployed and more underemployed, we’re going have to have a transitional – not permanent – but transitional federal jobs program, so that we can start hiring millions of people that can do productive jobs, that have a positive impact on the country. I’d start with tracking and tracing.”
He said those workers would be able to feed that testing data into a central point, to make testing uniform, and to easily identify hotspots nationwide.
He said no to a 2020 presidential run, but then, added “in 2024, we’ll see. But [my daughter] Alexis voted no.”
Visit our YouTube channel to watch more videos from Cuban’s interview and others from our virtual town hall series.