COVID-19: Richest Americans Added $434 Billion in Wealth Since Pandemic Hit

Jake Johnson reports on an analysis by Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies.

By Jake Johnson
Common Dreams

America’s billionaires saw their combined net worth soar by $434 billion between March 18 and May 19 while the coronavirus pandemic killed tens of thousands of people and ravaged the U.S. economy, forcing more than 30 million out of work.

That’s according to an analysis released Thursday by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) titled “Tale of Two Crises: Billionaires Gain as Workers Feel Pandemic Pain.”

The report shows that the five wealthiest billionaires in the U.S. — Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Bill Gates of Microsoft, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway and Larry Ellison of Oracle — saw their collective wealth grow by a total of $75.5 billion between March 18 and May 19, a 19 percent jump.

ATF and IPS pinpoint March 18 as “the rough start date of the pandemic shutdown, when most federal and state economic restrictions were in place.”

Bezos — the world’s richest man — saw his wealth jump by nearly $35 billion in the two-month period. Yet even as Bezos’s fortune continues to grow, Amazon announced last week that it will not extend $2-an-hour hazard pay for warehouse workers beyond the end of May.

“The pandemic has revealed the deadly consequences of America’s yawning wealth gap, and billionaires are the glaring symbol of that economic inequality,” Frank Clemente, ATF’s executive director, said in a statement.

Chuck Collins, director of the IPS Program on Inequality, said “the surge in billionaire wealth during a global pandemic underscores the grotesque nature of unequal sacrifice.”

“While millions risk their lives and livelihoods as first responders and front line workers,” said Collins, “these billionaires benefit from an economy and tax system that is wired to funnel wealth to the top.”

Jake Johnson is a staff writer for Common Dreams. Follow him on Twitter: @johnsonjakep

This article is from Common Dreams.

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7 comments for “COVID-19: Richest Americans Added $434 Billion in Wealth Since Pandemic Hit

  1. John Bowery
    May 25, 2020 at 03:01

    Abject greed and corruption are forever apparent and the U.S. of course are the masters of the foul deeds. Of course they want more, they want it all. We face a new era of neo-feudalism poverty and subjugation at the hands of the elite. I feel helpless.

  2. May 24, 2020 at 19:42

    Old story the rich get richer. And this US government helps them out with tax breaks. No wonder people all over the world hate the Americans. Being greedy and corrupt is now an acceptable norm. Whatever happened to values. ? Flushed where these turds deserve to be.

  3. Aaron
    May 24, 2020 at 14:44

    America’s Fab Five ain’t doing too bad, making a killing during the pandemic. If I hear that “we’re all in this together” thing one more time, I’ll wanna throw up.

  4. rosemerry
    May 23, 2020 at 02:38

    Please do not use the term “net worth” as though somehow these people are valuable because of their obscene richness. There is an article by Marilyn Langlois detailing how nobody should be too rich or too poor-I will find the link and post it. All the” millions, billions, trillions” we are swamped with have little context to real life for us humans.

  5. Truth first
    May 22, 2020 at 18:56

    You cannot be a billionaire without being a greedy bastard. You cannot expect greedy bastards to share the wealth when they are running the country.

    Voting for a rich greedy guy is the ultimate form of foolishness.

    • Steve Smith
      May 22, 2020 at 22:33

      In 1928, my great-grandfather and another were the richest people in my town, wealthy. My great-grandfather would not play the stock market because it was gambling, the other did. In 1929, my great-grandfather was by far the richest man in town. In 1932 my great-grandfather found out that his hard working neighbor’s farm was to be foreclosed, he went to the bank and guaranteed his loan. Before my great-grandfather died in 1936, his neighbor had repaid the loan. That is what America is about.

    • Devil's Advocate
      May 23, 2020 at 12:16

      Unfortunately, that is the only type of person that ever runs for office. This is obviously by design. Those in the Status Quo determine who runs. Only those that support the Status Quo are held up for your vote.

      The only way to make voting democratic is to have the public set out their own candidates.

Comments are closed.