The coronavirus numbers are staggering.
Half a million dead, more than 28 million cases just in America alone.
But here’s another number that is certainly eyebrow-raising: $4.2 trillion. That’s the combined wealth of America’s 664 billionaires as the one-year anniversary of the pandemic’s assault on America nears. Not that they were suffering beforehand, but that number is 44%, or $1.3 trillion, more than just a year ago.
The numbers are courtesy of an analysis by Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies based on data from Forbes. And it is a stark reflection of the way in which this recession has been a tale of haves and have nots.
Millions of service industry workers, especially in the hospitality, leisure and restaurant industries are struggling to pay rent or make ends meet even with more than $3 trillion in coronavirus relief from Washington. At the same time, homeowners and holders of financial assets like stocks have seen their holdings increase in value at record rates.
“It is unseemly that billionaires have experienced such gains as we mark half a million lives lost and millions more have lost their health, wealth and jobs,” said Chuck Collins, director of the Program on Inequality at the IPS.
Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness, put the disparity in outcomes from the pandemic in political terms at a time when Congress is debating President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief plan.
“Even as Congressional Republicans try to nickel-and-dime suffering Americans by opposing President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, including its $1,400 relief checks, American billionaires have reaped $1.3 trillion in pandemic profits.”
Most of the outsized gains the billionaire class has seen come from the record rise in the stock market and largely reflects paper wealth that could just as soon disappear if the market turns south. The richest of the rich are world-famous entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, who were founders of companies that have been among the most successful – and profitable – in history. Namely, Tesla, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook.
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Source: US News