As if it isn’t frustrating enough that most Americans are struggling to keep afloat right now as unemployment skyrockets and the federal government wastes time arguing over whether poor people making a hundred bucks more a week on unemployment than they did while employed is too scandalous to suffer through, billionaires are apparently gaining insane amounts of money during this whole crisis.
A new report by Americans for Tax Fairness [ATF] says that the net worth of all billionaires in the United States increased by a cumulative $434 billion in the two months since March 19, the approximate time at which many states began enacting stay-at-home regulations.
“The pandemic has revealed the deadly consequences of America’s yawning wealth gap, and billionaires are the glaring symbol of that economic inequality,” said ATF’s executive director, Frank Clemente. “Jeff Bezos’ wealth shot up by $35 billion, or nearly one-third, the last two months. That’s almost the $40 billion the CARES Act is spending on education programs.”
Bezos isn’t the only billionaire being called out. Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth reportedly grew by around $25 billion, while Elon Musk saw a 48% jump, increasing his net worth by $36 billion.
As pointed out by CNBC, this isn’t a complete picture, as the dates studied include watching the stock market plummet and bounce back after the government dumped a bunch of money into it, aka straight into the pockets of billionaires. But all the same, that these billionaires are tremendously increasing their wealth while the rest of us are being furloughed, wrestling with unemployment, or having to go seek out new, potentially dangerous jobs during a health emergency, speaks volumes about the state of our country.
People quickly came out swinging against the billionaires online.
And others took aim at what a lousy job the Trump administration is doing of making sure the non-billionaire citizens of the country are doing okay.
Some billionaire-defenders have enjoyed using this time to point out that Trump wants the economy to be reopened, and they think that would solve all our problems. But a system this deeply broken just isn’t looking out for us non-billionaires and we all know reopening the economy right now would just serve to fill up those billionaire pockets even more.