The Stand

U.S. billionaires gain $1 trillion during pandemic, recession

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Wealth increase in 9 months exceeds $908 billion cost of COVID relief package GOP has stalled as too costly 

 

The following is from Americans for Tax Fairness:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 9, 2020) — The collective wealth of America’s 651 billionaires has jumped by over $1 trillion since roughly the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to a total of $4 trillion at market close on Monday, December 7, 2020. Their wealth growth since March is more than the $908 billion in pandemic relief proposed by a bipartisan group of members of Congress, which is likely to be the package that moves forward for a vote in the next week, but has been stalled over Republican concerns that it is too costly.

The total net worth of the nation’s 651 billionaires rose from $2.95 trillion on March 18—the rough start of the pandemic shutdowns—to $4.01 trillion on Dec. 7, a leap of 36%, based on Forbes billionaires, according to a new report  by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). By around March 18 most federal and state economic restrictions in response to the virus were in place. Combined, just the top 10 billionaires are now worth more than $1 trillion.

Forbes’ annual billionaires report was published March 18, and ATF and IPS collected the real-time data on Dec. 7 from the Forbes website. The methodology of this analysis has been favorably reviewed by PolitiFact. The ATF-IPS analysis also looks at wealth growth since February 2019—the date of Forbes’ immediately previous annual billionaires report published well before the start of the pandemic and resulting market gyrations.

The $1 trillion wealth gain by 651 U.S. billionaires since mid-March is:

At $4 trillion the total wealth of all U.S. billionaires today is nearly double the $2.1 trillion in total wealth held by the bottom half of the population, or 165 million Americans

“Never before has America seen such an accumulation of wealth in so few hands,” said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness. “As tens of millions of Americans suffer from the health and economic ravages of this pandemic, a few hundred billionaires add to their  massive fortunes. Their pandemic profits are so immense that America’s billionaires could pay for a major COVID relief bill and still not lose a dime of their pre-virus riches. Their wealth growth is so great that they alone could provide a $3,000 stimulus payment to every man, woman and child in the country, and still be richer than they were 9 months ago. Joe Biden won a tax-fairness mandate in November. We look forward to working with him and Congress to deliver on that mandate by taxing the massive wealth of these billionaires.”

“The updraft of wealth to the billionaire class is disturbing at a time when millions face eviction, destitution, and loss,” said Chuck Collins of the Institute for Policy Studies and co-author of Billionaire Bonanza 2020, a report looking at pandemic profiteering and billionaire wealth. “Billionaires are extracting wealth at a time when essential workers are pushed into the viral line of fire.”

 


► Today from The Guardian — Billionaires made $1 trillion since COVID-19. They can afford to protect their workers. (by Chuck Collins and Omar Ocampo) — The contrast between billionaires making no sacrifice and their essential workers making the ultimate sacrifice is both unethical and corrupt. In a holiday shopping season with terrifying rates of COVID-19 infection, we need to protect these workers before it’s too late.

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