The collective wealth of America’s billionaires increased by one-third since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. New data collected by Forbes and analyzed by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) showed the total net worth of America’s 644 billionaires went from $2.95 trillion on March 18 to $3.88 trillion on Oct. 13.
According to the new analysis, a group of “pandemic profiteers” have seen their net worth jump more than 31 percent while the majority of Americans are unemployed and struggling economically. Many of these billionaires are profiting from the “increasing dependence on cloud-based technologies, online retail, drug research, telemedicine, video-conferencing,” which have all become “essential services during the pandemic,” Inequality.org reported.
Those who have profited from the pandemic include Jeff Bezos, who’s wealth grew from $113 billion on March 18 to $203 billion on Oct. 13, Elon Musk, who’s wealth went from $24.6 billion on March 18 to $92.8 billion on Oct. 13, and Mark Zuckerberg, who’s wealth went from $54.7 billion on March 18 to $101 billion on Oct. 13.
Since video conference technologies is the current way of work and life, Eric Yaun, Zoom’s founder’s, wealth increased 300 percent since March 18 now making him a billionaire with a net worth of more than $22 billion. Steve Ballmer, owner of Microsoft and TEAMS video conferencing, saw his wealth increase by $22 billion since March 18 increasin his net worth to $75 billion.
According to ATF’s analysis, the total collective wealth of American billionaires has “nearly double the $2.1 trillion in total wealth held by the bottom half of the population, or 165 million Americans.”
Not only have American billionaires become richer in the past six months, at the global level, the roughly 2,189 global billionaires’ net worth jumped from $845 billion to $10.2 trillion during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent UBS report.
“Sadly, the Gilded Age is here again,” Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), said. “We have extraordinary gains in wealth by a small sliver of the population while millions suffer, this time from the ravages of the pandemic, much of which could have been avoided.