Oligarchs Are Getting Disgustingly Rich During the Pandemic
Research that the Institute for Policy Studies published on August 17, 2020 indicated that the dozen richest Americans now own more than $1 trillion in wealth.
One analyst described this development as “a disturbing milestone in the U.S. history of concentrated wealth and power.”
Omar Ocampo, an analyst at the Institute for Policy Studies said, “The total wealth of the Oligarchic Dozen is greater than the GDP of Belgium and Austria combined. Meanwhile, tens of millions of Americans are unemployed or living paycheck to paycheck.”
Jake Johnson of Common Dreams highlighted some of the key findings from the progressive think tank’s research.
IPS noted that the 12 leading American billionaires have witnessed their combined wealth increase by 40 percent — $283 billion — since the Wuhan virus outbreak, which has propelled policymakers to implement economically devastating shutdowns.
“During the first stage of the pandemic, between January 1 and March 18, the collective wealth of the Oligarchic Dozen declined by $96 billion,” IPS analysts Chuck Collins and Omar Ocampo wrote. “But their wealth quickly rebounded and surpassed their September 2019 Forbes 400 wealth level. The only exception is Warren Buffett, who is still $2 billion below his September 2019 wealth, but is currently worth $80 billion.”
As of August 13, the billionaires’ total wealth reached $1.015 trillion. Johnson noted that is “the first time in U.S. history that the collective net worth of the top 12 American billionaires has topped the trillion-dollar mark.” According to IPS, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s wealth skyrocketed by $48.5 billion since the middle March. This surge in wealth made Musk the “biggest pandemic profiteer” of the billionaire bunch.
“This is simply too much economic and political power in the hands of twelve people,” Collins, director of IPS’ Program on Inequality and the Common Good, declared in a statement.
The 12 wealthiest American billionaires and their current net worth can be found below:
- Jeff Bezos—$189.5 billion
- Bill Gates—$114.1 billion
- Mark Zuckerberg—$95.5 billion
- Warren Buffett—$80.6 billion
- Elon Musk—$73.1 billion
- Steve Ballmer—$71.5 billion
- Larry Ellison—$70.9 billion
- Larry Page—$67.4 billion
- Sergey Brin—$65.6 billion
- Alice Walton—$62.6 billion
- Jim Walton—$62.3 billion
- Rob Walton—$62.03 billion
“The total wealth of the Oligarchic Dozen is greater than the GDP of Belgium and Austria combined,” remarked Ocampo. “Meanwhile, tens of millions of Americans are unemployed or living paycheck to paycheck, and 170,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the United States.”
Such disparities in wealth will generate a significant amount of resentment and calls for radical redistribution schemes. Conservatives will need to get serious about attacking central banking and the regulatory state — two institutions that prop up the wealth of the well-connected in America.
If conservatives drop the ball on addressing this inequality that is generated due to public policy, the radical Left will easily fill in the power vacuum and take over.