Taxpayers paid $4 for every $1 in wages and benefits received by workers in jobs saved by the federal government’s pandemic Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
The Fed study also found PPP didn’t support jobs at risk of disappearing, and money flowed disproportionately to wealthier households.
“The PPP was a very large and very timely fiscal-policy intervention, saving about 3 million jobs at its peak in the second quarter of 2020 and distributing $800 billion well within two years of the onset of the COVID-19 crisis,” authors William Emmons and Drew Dahl concluded in their study, “Was the Paycheck Protection Program Effective?”
“But it was poorly targeted, as almost three-quarters of its benefits went to unintended recipients, including business owners, creditors and suppliers, rather than to workers. Due to differences in the typical incomes of those varied constituencies, it also ended up being quite regressive compared with other major COVID-19 relief programs, as it benefited high-income households much more.”