How the Government Protects America’s Subways

In 2002, the STAR program (Supplemental Terrorist Activity Relief) authorized the Small Business Administration to guarantee loans to businesses that were "adversely affected" by the attacks of 9/11.  At first the loans were not taken up because most businesses didn’t think they were adversely affected but in true bureaucratic fashion the SBA wanted a bigger program so they announced:

…the SBA believes that a very large percentage of small business borrowers located in areas throughout the country may be eligible for the STAR program.  In guaranteeing a STAR loan, the SBA will rely on the lender’s determination that a small business was adversely affected by the terrorist actions. When performing compliance or loan purchase reviews, the SBA will be looking only to verify that the lender documented its evaluation of the small business’ eligibility for the STAR program. The SBA has not established any requirements regarding the severity or duration of the adverse impact that the small business suffered.  (italics added).

Are you surprised that Office of Inspector General could not find any terrorism connection to the vast majority of the loans?  More than 3 billion dollars were guaranteed including millions for Subways.  Protecting public transport, right?  No, protecting America’s sandwich demand.  There was also $22 million for Dunkin Donut franchines in nine different states, and guarantees for a Salt Lake City "dog boutique," a South Dakota radio station, a Virgin
Islands perfume shop and much else besides.


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