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The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was designed to ease the financial impact of the pandemic for small businesses. It issued about $800 billion in potentially reimbursable government loans to keep workers employed during COVID shutdowns.
Now, the overwhelming majority of these loans have been canceled with very little scrutiny. This means many loans have been forgiven to businesses that have thrived during the pandemic or to fraudsters who have taken advantage of the lax system.
Meanwhile, the majority of unforgiven loans belong to smaller businesses, the businesses the program was most supposed to help.
Sacha Pfeiffer and Austin Fast of NPR’s investigative team looked at how the program wasn’t as strict as the government had promised.
In participating regions, you’ll also hear a local news segment to help you understand what’s going on in your community.
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This episode was produced by Elena Burnett. It was edited by Sami Yenigun, William Troop and Barrie Hardymon. Our executive producer is Sami Yenigun.