Even in a Pandemic, the Billionaires Are Winning

When I called up Chuck Collins on Tuesday afternoon, I found him glued to one of the grimmest new metrics documenting America’s economic and social unraveling. Collins is a scholar of inequality at the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank, and since March he has been tracking how the collective wealth of American billionaires has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. In previous recessions, Collins said, billionaires were hit along with the rest of us; it took almost three years for Forbes’s 400 richest people to recover losses incurred in 2008’s Great Recession. But in the coronavirus recession of 2020, most billionaires have not lost their shirts. Instead, they’ve put on bejeweled overcoats and gloves made of spun gold – that is, they’ve gotten richer than ever before. On Tuesday, as the stock market soared to a record, Collins was watching the billionaires cross a depressing threshold: $1 trillion. That is the amount of new wealth American billionaires have amassed since March, at the start of the devastating lockdowns that state and local governments imposed to curb the pandemic. On March 18, according to a report Collins and his colleagues published last week, America’s 614 billionaires were worth a combined $2.95 trillion. When the markets closed on Tuesday, there were 650 billionaires and their combined wealth was now close to $4 trillion. In the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, American billionaires’ wealth grew by a third.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.

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Author: {Want To Know}

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