DEI / Guest posts / Roundups

Zach Phillips: Confessions of a looter

Short Order Production House's founder on hypocrisy in the business class.

Wilmington. (Photo by Flickr user TCDavis, used via a Creative Commons license)
This is a guest post by Zach Phillips, the founder of Short Order Production House.

I need to admit something: I am an active participant in looting. As a business owner (or, as the elected leaders and ruling class like to call me, a “JAHHB creator”), I received $177,835 in taxpayer money last month, which I’m free to do whatever I want with.

If I use this $177,835 I was given for payroll or rent, it’s just a gift to me. I get to continue operating my business as I see fit. And if I use the money to bonus myself, it becomes essentially a zero-interest loan.

When the Payroll Protection Program was passed, I had at least a dozen conversations with other business owners and friends in government: “Let me get this straight. They’re just going to … pay my payroll for two months? Really? OK …”

The subtext of every one of these conversations was: “You mean, the store is just … open? We can just take the money?” And so like a bunch of hogs, we went on a ravenous feeding frenzy. All of our CFOs/lawyers/accountants sucked up every dollar we could from that open store.

Of course, none of my fellow looters have any absolutely justified rage or poverty. We’re just opportunistic. Like literally every other living creature in every known phylum, genus, and species that has ever existed.

Sure, we “care about our employees.” We hate having to lay anyone off (if we aren’t monsters). But let’s be clear: Our employees make us money. We are in the power position, and because of the broken values of this society, we are ALWAYS the first ones rescued/protected.

Note: We are all fully aware that we used whatever resources and any connections we had to elbow our way to the front of the corporate welfare line. You think we don’t know how much more likely we are to get PPP than, say, the average black-owned business on Ninth Street?

None of us is above looting, and the looting that has been perpetrated on this country by those who have already “made it” is the reason we’re here in the first place. And it’s infinitely more disgusting than trashing a T-Mobile.

If you’ve ever paid capital gains tax, if you’ve ever taken the mortgage interest deduction on your expensive home, if any part of your income isn’t subject to payroll tax, if you’ve “made it,” if you know (damn well) that you are the beneficiary our morally bankrupt system.

And you are not eligible to judge anyone for looting.


Read the author’s original tweet:

Series: Racial Equity Month 2020

Knowledge is power!

Subscribe for free today and stay up to date with news and tips you need to grow your career and connect with our vibrant tech community.


How I Got Here: Det Ansinn's career as a CTO and founder taught him to prioritize the people behind the tech

WeWork approached physical space as if it were virtual — which led to the company’s downfall

Giving unused NASA tech new life

ChatGPT turns 1: Looking back on AI's breakout year

Technically Media