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Little of the Paycheck Protection Program’s $800 Billion Protected Paychecks


Most notably, they gutted the requirement that borrowers who wanted their loans forgiven maintain their prepandemic head counts. And they reduced the percentage of the loan that borrowers seeking forgiveness had to spend on payroll, to 60 percent from 75 percent.That allowed business owners to spend more of the money on rent, utilities and other expenses. (Some of those payments, in turn, propped up other industries: An analysis last year found that Paycheck Protection Program money reduced commercial mortgage delinquencies.)Out of the roughly $510 billion the program lent in 2020, a maximum of $175 billion — about 34 percent — went to paying workers who would have lost their jobs, Dr. Autor’s team found. Money that didn’t specifically preserve jobs was effectively a windfall for business owners — on the whole a wealthy group.“This program was highly, highly regressive, …

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