A Wave of Small-Business Closures Is on the Way. Can Washington Stop It?

One of the great threats to the post-pandemic economy is becoming clear: Vast numbers of small and midsize businesses will close permanently during the crisis, causing millions of jobs to be lost.

The federal government moved with uncharacteristic speed to help those businesses — enacting the Paycheck Protection Program, with $669 billion allocated so far.

But there is a problem. The structure of the program is not particularly well suited to the type of crisis that millions of businesses face.

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