US Billionaires’ Fortunes Have Increased $845 Billion Since March
What do Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk have in commmon? They’re in the US, they’re billionaires, and they’ve been getting richer.
All across the world, the pandemic has struck the economy with a brutal blow. Both the UK and New Zealand have entered a recession, and unemployment across the US hit 14.7% in April, before experiencing a slight uptick to 8.4% by August. However, the country is still 11.5 million jobs down since February.
Amid that struggle, the tycoons on the globe’s rich list have seen their fortunes skyrocket – especially in the US, with the 645 wealthiest Americans amassing more than $800 million since March.
Between March 18 and September 15, the nation’s richest people have raked in $845 billion, marking a total growth of 29% across all of their assets.
The findings come from the Institute for Policy Studies’ latest Billionaire Bonanza report, tracking the rich list’s net worth using Forbes‘ individual data. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg were some of the highest earners.
The report notes that ‘ordinary people around the globe may now be struggling to survive a ravaging public health and economic crisis, but early indicators suggest the billionaire class will maintain its wealth or even see a major surge’.
Chuck Collins, co-author of the report and director of the Institute for Policy Studies’ Program on Inequality, said the figures were rather shocking, explaining that the pandemic has ‘supercharged America’s existing inequalities’.
Collins told CNN Business:
I would have thought maybe six months into this that things would have shaken out – that everybody would take a hit. The difference is stark between profits for billionaires and the widespread economic misery in our nation. It sort of dramatises the unequal sacrifice and profiteering element of the wealth accumulation at the top.
The report had other startling findings – for example, between 1990 and 2020, US billionaire wealth soared 1,130 percent (in current dollars). Between 2010 and 2020, coming off the back of the 2008 financial crisis, the country’s billionaires grew richer by 80.6%.
Collins added: ‘A few people are going to have an extreme amount of power to shape the economy, politics, the media. None of us are going to want to live in a society like that, where your Main Street no longer has 100 shops. It just has an Amazon loading depot.’
Currently, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos has a net worth of $178 billion, making him the richest person in the world by quite some distance. At number two, Microsoft’s Bill Gates has a $123 billion fortune, while Musk’s net worth stands at $103 billion, after seeing his fortune rise by $70 billion this year alone.
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Institute for Policy Studies