Easy Money: An NPR Investigation : Up First March 2020. The financial magnitude of the COVID pandemic was becoming clear. The country was facing an unprecedented economic catastrophe and Congress felt it needed to act—immediately. So it offered potentially forgivable loans to small businesses through something called the Paycheck Protection Program. The government ultimately spent almost $800 billion dollars on that effort.

NPR's Investigations correspondent Sacha Pfeiffer looked into the program and found that even after the government realized huge sums of money had gone to fraudulent borrowers and companies that may not have deserved the funding, it still forgave the vast majority of those loans. In the end, the Paycheck Protection Program basically became a federal grant program. And generations of taxpayers may wind up footing the bill.

Easy Money: An NPR Investigation

Easy Money: An NPR Investigation

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March 2020. The financial magnitude of the COVID pandemic was becoming clear. The country was facing an unprecedented economic catastrophe and Congress felt it needed to act—immediately. So it offered potentially forgivable loans to small businesses through something called the Paycheck Protection Program. The government ultimately spent almost $800 billion dollars on that effort.

NPR's Investigations correspondent Sacha Pfeiffer looked into the program and found that even after the government realized huge sums of money had gone to fraudulent borrowers and companies that may not have deserved the funding, it still forgave the vast majority of those loans. In the end, the Paycheck Protection Program basically became a federal grant program. And generations of taxpayers may wind up footing the bill.