This week, President Trump announced the formation of an advisory council tasked with reopening the United States. Among the many notable people on that council, including Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, is Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
Cuban may at first seem an odd choice to include in any official capacity when it comes to deciding when the nation should begin its long road to economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus, but Cuban has been an outspoken presence throughout the crisis. In many instances, he’s been ahead of the curve in terms of his charitable contributions as well as his thinking when it comes to dealing with the effects COVID-19 is having on families and communities.
Thursday night, Cuban appeared on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah and spoke about his advisory role as well as how he and his family are coping with isolation.
In the interview, Cuban says that he sent out an initial five-page memo to some of the other members of the council with his concerns about helping small businesses. Supporting small and local businesses is something that Cuban has spoke about often throughout the shelter in place ordinance that is currently in place in Dallas County as well as many other areas across the country.
Cuban also acknowledges the changing perception of how our economy works. No longer can “trickle down” policies be seen as feasible, if they ever held water at all, but the shift to a “trickle up” model is the reality of America’s workforce. He’s been an advocate for the foundational workers of the economy since the NBA postponed its season on March 11, putting together a plan to pay hourly arena employees for the home games they would have otherwise worked. But it’s not just those persons he’s looking out for.
Before the $1,200 emergency stimulus checks began appearing in some checking accounts this week, Cuban was trying to find banks who would issue advances of that money in order to get help to the people who need it sooner.
“Why don’t [banks] just give them overdraft protection right off the bat so that up to a $1,000 you won’t bounce any checks, you can let them write checks for rent, for food, whatever it is, use your debit cards,” Cuban told me in an interview a few weeks ago. “The money will be there and cover them, knowing that because they already have a direct deposit relationship with the IRS and that money is going to be there and I want [banks] to do it now.”
He also touches on his common refrain that sports should return just to give people something to cheer for. Cuban has said often that he believes that the NBA can come back once scientists and health professionals give the OK for games to start taking place without fans in attendance.
The interview is well worth your time. COVID-19 cut through the socioeconomic chasm in America like a knife through warm butter. What will come out of all of this is anyone’s guess. Cuban, for his part, is out on the frontlines acknowledging the struggles of people in a system that didn’t work for everyone and is advocating for a more equitable future when the country does eventually reopen. That’s not often something you hear from a billionaire and it’s refreshing.
And in case you’re wondering, a betting website gave Cuban 250/1 odds of being elected the next president earlier this month.