There is some help on the way. The Small Business Administration has released a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – a forgivable loan program designed to assist small businesses with money to stay afloat. Part two of the PPP opened on Jan. 15.

There’s no doubt America’s Main Streets will be affected by the lockdowns for years to come.

I discuss the future of small business and the legislative plans to restore our economy on this week’s episode of my podcast, “Newt’s World.” My guest is someone with deep knowledge of this subject: Elaine Parker, president of the Job Creators Network Foundation.

Before the coronavirus hit the United States, the American economy was roaring. Growth was strong and consistent. Unemployment was historically low. By eliminating burdensome regulations and signing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law, President Donald Trump gave businesses the freedom and flexibility they needed to flourish.

And then came the pandemic, which caused state and local governments to impose shutdowns, choosing arbitrarily which workers it deemed essential. The national unemployment rate jumped to almost 15%. Tens of millions of Americans lost their jobs.

Hotels and restaurants – the leisure industries – were hit worst of all. In fact, hotels suffered worse this past year than during the Great Depression, while about one in six restaurants closed, according to the National Restaurant Association.

In response to this devastation, the federal government has passed multiple stimulus packages to alleviate some of the pain. But Parker makes a crucial point that everyone must hear: There will never be enough money to keep all of these small businesses afloat and all of these jobs in place. The government simply can’t support the entire economy like this.

The government needs to allow, not restrict, the entrepreneurial spirit of the American people.

Instead, we must reopen society. That is the best, most enduring stimulus possible for our economy. Of course, we must continue to reopen safely, with the necessary precautions. But small businesses will not survive if lockdowns remain in place.

We also should continue the Trump administration’s economic policies, which objectively worked. Unfortunately, President Joe Biden is doing the opposite – canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, rejoining the Paris climate accord, pushing a $15 minimum wage. These are all policies that kill jobs and are bad for America.

Shamefully, Biden and the Democrats are trying to hide the $15 minimum wage in the new coronavirus stimulus package. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour could kill 1.3 million jobs, slash business revenues (and therefore real income), and raise the prices of goods and services across the economy.

Teenagers and college students won’t be able to get jobs. We’ll raise a generation of Americans that never had the experience of going to work and learning all the crucial life lessons that one learns in the workplace.

The government needs to allow, not restrict, the entrepreneurial spirit of the American people. Fortunately, Parker and everyone at the Job Creators Network understand what is needed to create national prosperity.

The Biden administration, however, didn’t seem to get the memo.

I hope you will listen to this week’s episode to learn more about the state of small business in America, 11 months into the pandemic. We need to remember that behind all the mind-numbing statistics are real people with real families. They have suffered immensely. Millions are still unemployed. Now is the time to help them with smart, durable ideas – not ones that will perpetuate their pain.

To read, hear, and watch more of Newt’s commentary, visit Gingrich360.com