“The federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, which effectively paid businesses to keep workers on their payroll even if they temporarily closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, was a mess.
After quickly burning through its initial allocation of $349 billion, the Paycheck Protection Program was reauthorized a few times and ended up costing more than $820 billion, making it one of the largest components of the federal government’s humongous COVID relief effort. Despite being lauded by both Democrats and Republicans, independent analysis found that the program was a hugely expensive failure. Only about one-third of the program’s money actually went to workers who would have otherwise lost their jobs, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research study. Another study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that taxpayers paid roughly $4 for every $1 of wages and benefits to workers.”