Nearly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 516,000 Americans dead and an economy struggling to recover, a new analysis by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) that was published on Wednesday found that the 664 billionaires in the United States have become even more grotesquely rich, highlighting the unprecedented level of income inequality plaguing the working class.
Between March 18, 2020, and February 19, 2021, the capitalist aristocracy added a dizzying $1.297 trillion dollars to their collective riches for a combined total of $4.2 trillion.
In that span of time:
- The fortune of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos – the wealthiest person on the planet – grew by $76.258 billion.
- Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder Elon Musk – who often jockeys with Bezos for the top spot – raked in $157.891 billion.
- Microsoft’s Bill Gates saw his net worth increase by $25.274 billion.
- Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg raked $41.028 billion.
- Investor Warren Buffett, in the number five spot, sucked in $24.164 billion.
All five men mentioned above have at one point enjoyed the “world’s richest person” title.
In a statement, IPS Program Director Chuck Collins said that “it is unseemly that billionaires have experienced such gains as we mark a half a million lives lost and millions more who have lost their health, wealth and jobs. Taxing those who have experienced windfall wealth gains to pay for Covid relief and recovery is a matter of equity and justice.”
Frank Clemente, the executive director of ATF, stressed the need for tax reform and blasted Republicans who stand in opposition to President Joe Biden’s American Recovery Act, which with a price tag of $1.9 trillion could be funded two times over.
“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,” said Clemente. “The need for the kind of fair-share tax program Biden ran and won on becomes clearer every day, as billionaire wealth balloons while working-family hopes deflate.”
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.