Stimulus programs designed to keep the economy afloat during the Coronavirus pandemic have failed to provide relief to American workers and businesses who need it most, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said in an interview with CNBC.

“The problem wasn’t just the amount of money. It was the way the programs were designed,” Stiglitz said. “Our programs have failed, and we have to admit it.”

Since the beginning of March, the federal government has authorized nearly $ 3 trillion in stimulus to help the struggling economy during the pandemic. Stiglitz said that the Paycheque Protection Program, which allocated hundreds of billions of dollars in small business loans, was “particularly ill-conceived.”

“The companies with the best connections to the banks, the best customers, topped the list, and it wasn’t the smallest companies, it wasn’t the people who needed it most,” a- he declared.

With more than 40 million Americans out of work, Stiglitz warned that the economic recovery “is not going to be easy” even after the virus has been brought under control. He said that tax programs in other countries like Denmark and New Zealand, which has paid companies to keep workers on their payroll, serve as better role models for tackling unemployment.

“We just haven’t given enough thought to how we bring money to companies in a way that ensures that they really keep the attachment to the workers in those companies,” he said.

Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University and author of a new book “People, Power and Profits,” said lawmakers should prioritize policies that help recent high school and college graduates. Otherwise, he said, the United States risks facing a “lost generation” of workers.

The unemployment rate in the United States for workers with only a high school diploma fell from 4.4% in March to 17.3% in April. Economists expect government data on Friday to show unemployment peaks again in May because many businesses have remained closed.

“Every youngster should be in school, on the job or in training in one way or another,” Stiglitz said. “These are precious years, you shouldn’t waste those years feeling disconnected, resentful. So I would give this kind of program a very high priority.”