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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 4/23/20

Billionaires Wealth Surges as Pandemic Continues

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Message Chuck Collins

As the pandemic-fueled U.S. unemployment rate approaches 15 percent, America's billionaire class is experiencing a wealth surge, according to a new Institute for Policy Studies report, Billionaire Bonanza 2020.

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Between March 18th and April 23th, as more 26 million U.S. workers lost their jobs, the combined wealth of America's billionaires increased by $308 billion, a 10.5 percent increase. After a brief decline, the collective wealth of 614 U.S. billionaires has surpassed than their 2019 levels.

The Jeff Bezos wealth surge is unprecedented in modern financial history. As of April 15, his fortune had increased by an estimated $25 billion since January 1, 2020. This is larger than the Gross Domestic Product of Honduras, $23.9 billion in 2018.

Between January 1, 2020 and April 10, 2020, 34 of the nation's wealthiest 170 billionaires have seen their wealth increase by tens of millions of dollars.

Eight of these billionaires the "pandemic profiteers have seen their net worth surge by over $ 1 billion. They are: Jeff Bezos (Amazon), MacKenzie Bezos (Amazon), Eric Yuan (Zoom), Steve Ballmer (Microsoft), John Albert Sobrato (Silicon Valley real estate), Elon Musk (Tesla and SpaceX), Joshua Harris (Apollo Global Management), and Rocco Commisso (Mediacom).

The Billionaire Bonanza 2020 report looks at several longer-term trends:

· Between 1990 and 2020, U.S. billionaire wealth soared 1,130 percent in 2020 dollars, an increase more than 200 times greater than the 5.37 percent growth of U.S. median wealth over this same period.

· Between 1980 and 2018, the tax obligations of America's billionaires, measured as a percentage of their wealth, decreased 79 percent.

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Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good (www.inequality.org). Chuck is also a co-founder of Wealth for the Common Good, a network of business leaders, (more...)
 
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