Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus

A champion of America’s small businesses is keeping it real as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the country.

“No, I think that it’s a bad day,” Bernie Marcus, Home Depot co-founder, said on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade, when asked if the new stimulus package for small businesses that is expected to be passed by lawmakers would be particularly helpful. “Frankly, I don’t know whether or not the government is right in giving more money out.”

Late Tuesday, the Senate passed a new $484 billion coronavirus relief bill. The package features funding to ramp up coronavirus testing but does not include other Democratic proposals to infuse walloped state and local budgets with cash.

About $321 billion of the package is targeted to replenish the now depleted Paycheck Protection Program after small- and medium-sized businesses overran it with requests for vital funding. The loans will be forgivable if used to keep employees on payrolls.

The House is expected to approve the package via a vote on Thursday.

Marcus — also the founder of the influential small business lobbyist the Job Creators Network — co-founded with friend Arthur Blank The Home Depot with two stores back in 1979. After retiring as Home Depot chairman in 2002, Marcus has given away more than $2 billion to charity through The Marcus Foundation. He also continues to be a vocal supporter of small businesses, and was an early supporter of President Trump in 2016 and is supporting his re-election in 2020.

Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus appears on “Cavuto: Coast to Coast,” with anchor Neil Cavuto, on the Fox Business Network, in New York, Monday, June 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

“Believe me, you have no idea what the struggle is [of small businesses]. It’s actually life and death. Some of them are hanging on by their fingertips. Many will probably not open. My estimate is that 15% to 20% of small businesses won’t open,” Marcus explained. Marcus added many small businesses are on the “precipice of total disaster.”

Continued Marcus, “We’re going to try to work with the government on different things to do for small businesses. Newt Gingrich wrote a paper about taking a deferment on FICA payments for a period time like until the end of the year. That would give cash flow back to not only small businesses, but also give it to the employees as well. So there are a lot of things that need to happen, but I don’t think another stimulus is going to work. And I think the government can’t afford to do it because we’re going to go broke.”

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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