There is one very select group of Americans that have become significantly wealthier thanks to the COVID-19 virus. While tens of millions of American workers are no longer working thanks to the shuttering of the economy, the Institute for Policy Studies found that five American billionaires have seen their wealth increase by staggering amounts.
Let's start by looking at the growth in the number of unemployed Main Street Americans:
As you can see, the unemployment level in the United States has reached levels that have never been seen during any prior crisis. Over the eight week period between March 18, 2020 and May 14, 2020, over 36 million American workers lost their jobs.
On March 18, U.S. billionaires had a combined net worth of $2.947 trillion according to Forbes annual list of the wealthiest earthlings. As of May 14, 2020, these same billionaires saw their total wealth increase to $3.316 trillion. Here are some of the beneficiaries of the COVID-19 pandemic:
Jeff Bezos of Amazon – up $30 billion
Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook – up $21 billion
Steve Ballmer of Microsoft – up $11.6 billion
Elon Musk of Tesla et al – up $11.3 billion
Michael Bloomberg of Bloomberg LLP – up $10 billion
The world's most loved amateur virologist and vaccinologist, Bill Gates, also saw his fortune rise by roughly $6 billion.
Not only did these gentlemen see their net worth increase, over the eight week period, 14 new billionaires joined the United States billionaire list, bringing the total number up from 614 to 628.
Let's take a quick look at the world's wealthiest man and his business. According to Policy Matters Ohio, Amazon has become one of Ohio's largest employers. Back in 2018, Policy Matters found that 1,430 of Amazon's then 6,000 plus workers in Ohio were getting assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as shown in this press release:
The United States' richest people have seen their wealth increase by an amount that we can't even fathom since the COVID-19 lockdown began. That said, at least we can all be assured that we are subjects to an oligarchy that has our best interests in mind and that only a fraction (81.8 percent to be exact) of the CARES Act funding will go to 43,000 of America's wealthiest people as shown here:
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