America’s billionaires have reaped a windfall during the first six months of the coronavirus pandemic, gaining a collective $845 billion even as jobless claims hit record highs and millions were thrown out of work.
The gains represent a 29 percent jump in net worth for America’s billionaires, according to a join report on Thursday from Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies, a politically liberal think-tank.
The report, based on data from Forbes, shows how the richest have prospered during a pandemic that has crushed small businesses and wreaked havoc on the economy.
In dollar terms, no one gained more than Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, who saw his net worth increase by $73.2 billion, to $186.2 billion, between March 18 and September 15.
This table shows the gains of the 15 richest billionaires in America, who gained a collective $400 billion, or nearly half of the total gains of all billionaires
In dollar terms, no one gained more than Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (above), the world’s richest man, who saw his net worth increase by $73.2 billion, to $186.2 billion
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (left) nearly doubled his net worth to $100.6 billion, while Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s (right) net worth skyrocketed 274 percent to $92 billion
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also saw handsome gains during the pandemic, nearly doubling his net worth to $100.6 billion.
On a percentage basis, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s wealth soared, with his net worth skyrocketing 274 percent to $92 billion over the six-month period.
Bill Gates, the second richest man in the world after Bezos, saw more modest gains, adding a mere $18.3 billion to his net worth.
Oracle chairman Larry Ellison gained $20.2 billion over the last six months, and stands to gain even more if President Donald Trump approves his company’s proposal to partner with TikTok parent ByteDance to keep the Chinese video-sharing app running in the U.S.
It comes during a period of historic economic and physical suffering for most Americans.
Over 50 million Americans lost jobs in the pandemic, with nearly 14 million still unemployed. Meanwhile, nearly 200,000 have died from the virus, with a total of 6.6 million infected.
Oracle chairman Larry Ellison gained $20.2 billion over the last six months, while Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett (right) saw his net worth rise by $15.7 billion
‘The billionaire economy has been turbocharged by policymakers who are now stalling on relief for the real economy,’ said Chuck Collins, director of the Institute for Policy Studies’ Program on Inequality and co-author of the report.
‘The difference is stark between profits for billionaires and the widespread economic misery in our nation. Clearly, the priorities of our elected officials in Washington, DC are completely upside down,’ Collins said.
Even among billionaires, the richest gains were highly concentrated. Roughly $400 billion, or only a little less than half of the total gains, were captured by just the 15 wealthiest on the billionaires list.
The top three gainers alone – Bezos, Zuckerberg and Musk – enjoyed 16 percent of the spoils, or a collective wealth surge of $137 billion.
MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, gained $23.9 billion during the pandemic
Struggling New Yorkers line up at a food bank outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn last week. Millions have been thrown out of work during the pandemic, even as billionaires gained
Although stocks, which make up most of the net worth of the nation’s billionaires, tanked in March, their gains during the pandemic do not merely reflect the subsequent recovery on Wall Street.
Billionaires are also $680 billion, or 22 percent, richer today than they were in February 2019, the release date of the most recent previous Forbes annual report.
‘Every candidate in this campaign season, from presidential hopeful down, who’s pledging to lead us out of the coronavirus crisis must address this stark divergence between the nation’s wealthiest elite and their struggling fellow citizens,’ said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness, a left-leaning advocacy group.
‘The answer starts with creating a fair share tax system that narrows obscene wealth gaps and raises the trillions of dollars needed to address the present emergency and invest in our families and communities over the long-term,’ said Clemente.
In August, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota introduced a bill that would tax 60 percent of the gains of billionaires during the pandemic.
Source: Daily Mail