Throughout the past four decades, and even more apparent during the current coronavirus pandemic, wealth inequality in the United States has intensified. Since the pandemic began back in March the wealth of the richest billionaires just hit $1 trillion.
According to Inequality.org, some of the big gains include:
- Elon Musk’s wealth grew over $100 billion since the start of the pandemic, from $24.6 billion on March 18 to $126 billion on November 24, an increase of 413%, boosted by his Tesla stock. His wealth now surpasses Bill Gates of Microsoft
- Jeff Bezos’s wealth grew almost $70 billion from $113 billion on March 18 to $182.4 billion.
- Dan Gilbert, chairman of Quicken Loans, saw his wealth rocket by over $37 billion, from $6.5 billion in March to $43.9 billion on November 24, 2020, an increase of 575 percent.
BREAKING: During the #pandemic that has taken everything from millions, U.S. #billionaires have now collectively gained over $1 TRILLION.— Institute for Policy Studies (@IPS_DC) November 25, 2020
There is no “equal sacrifice” of #COVID. The ultra-wealthy continue to win.https://t.co/1TSFhlhmW2
This news comes at a time when 26 million Americans are experiencing hunger with not enough food to eat and the pandemic worsening, as The Washington Post reports.
“The increases in billionaire wealth continue to defy gravity in the real economy where millions have lost their jobs, health, and livelihoods,” says Chuck Collins, a scholar of inequality at IPS.
Yesterday, Trump took full credit for the 30,000 Dow Jones, but took zero credit for 260,000 Americans who died from COVID, 40 million who face eviction or 26 million who don’t have enough food to eat on Thanksgiving.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 25, 2020
No, Mr. President. The stock market is not the economy.
The Dow hits a record high when American families hit the highest rate of hunger in 22 years. American capitalism is totally off the rails.— Robert Reich (@RBReich) November 25, 2020
Some of these corporations and billionaires are also featured in another report unveiling even more greed. As they continue to profit, their frontline workers remain expendable and are compensated unfairly (many no longer receive extra pay despite their health risks while working).
Starting in March and April, these companies offered workers additional compensation. Sometimes called “hazard pay” or “thank you bonuses,” some added as much as $2 to employees’ hourly wage while others offered occasional lump sum bonuses, according to Public Citizen. But many corporations have discontinued this extra pay.