The U.S. billionaires have gained more than $1trillion since the coronavirus pandemic in March, new report shows.
The report, published by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), revealed that 650 billionaires in the U.S increased their total net worth by $1.008 trillion between March and November this year and are now worth nearly $4trillion.
Of this group, 29 billionaires doubled their wealth during the months reviewed while 36 new billionaires emerged.
Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos gained $70.7 billion since the pandemic, the report shows.
The largest gain was recorded by Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk whose total wealth jumped from $24.6 billion in March to $126 billion in November.
Dan Gilbert, the CEO of Quicken Loans added $37 billion to his net worth within months, increasing his total net worth from $6.5 billion in March to $43.9 billion in November.
Eric Yuan, the CEO of Zoom, wasn’t even a billionaire in 2019. The change from office space to remote work due to the coronavirus, boosted his wealth to 575%. He is now worth more than $20 billion.
Steve Ballmer, a major owner of Microsoft and its TEAMS video conferencing gained $21 billion between March and November. He is now worth more than $73 billion.
Three owners of Walmart, Rob, Jim and Alice Walton’s combined personal wealth increased over $48 billion between March and November.
As millions of other Americans continue to struggle due to the pandemic, an analysis of the wealth of these 650 billionaires shows that their combined wealth is over two times more than the bottom 50% of U.S. households estimated to be 160 million people.
The poverty rate is now higher than it was before the pandemic, according to Columbia University researchers.
‘While Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is on track to become the world’s first trillionaire, the frontline workers like me who’ve built his fortune are treated like we’re disposable,’ Courtenay Brown, an Amazon Fresh warehouse worker in New Jersey and leader with United for Respect, reportedly said.
‘As the virus spikes, we get more and more orders, and Amazon expects us to work at inhumane rates, Brown continued. The pace is blistering, and people get injured on the job a lot, people get sick, people are scared of catching COVID, and Amazon is not doing enough to protect our lives.
‘It’s time for Amazon’s workers to get some actual compensation for the essential work we’re doing — we don’t need feel-good TV commercials thanking us for being heroes, we need $5 an hour in hazard pay, paid sick leave, and workplace protections from this dangerous virus.’
‘These billionaire owners are like military generals sitting in protected bubbles sending their workers into the viral line of fire with insufficient shields,’ added Chuck Collins from the Institute for Policy Studies and co-author of the report.
‘It is sordid and unseemly for some to reap such rewards when millions risk their lives, their long-term health, and their livelihoods.’