United States billionaires have grown $434 billion richer during the pandemic

Marco Green
May 23, 2020

According to the report, published on Thursday by the left-leaning think tanks Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies, the total net worth of all U.S. billionaires got a $434 billion boost since March 19, when many USA states were placed on lockdown.

Gates' wealth has jumped from $98bn to $106bn, while Zuckerberg's bounty has increased from $54.7bn to $80bn. Other billionaires who saw their financial portfolio grow include former presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg; tech billionaire Michael Dell; media titan Rupert Murdoch; and Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.

Microsoft's Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett saw comparatively paltry gains of 8.2 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively, according to the report.

Zuckerberg, 36, followed on the list with a whopping $25 billion additional fortune as data on America's more than 600 billionaires analysed between March 18 and May 19 of lockdown indicated.

"According to him, Jeff Bezos" wealth growth by $35 billion was nearly the same sum that the CARES Act is spending on education programs.

Director of the IPS Program on Inequality and co-author of the Billionaire Bonanza 2020 report Chuck Collins said that the surge in billionaire wealth during a global pandemic underscores the "grotesque nature of unequal sacrifice".

Tech stocks have continued to rise, with both Facebook and Amazon hitting new all-time highs this week. However, US billionaires got even richer during the same period of coronavirus pandemic.

The nation's No. 1 and No. 3 billionaires - Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg - added almost nearly $60 billion to their fortunes over two months, representing about 14 percent of the total growth, according to the think tanks' analysis of Forbes data. Ralph Lauren saw his wealth drop by $100 million to $5.6 billion, while hotelier John Pritzker saw his wealth drop by $34 million to $2.56 billion.

More than 38 million Americans lost their jobs along with over 30 million applying for unemployment benefits, as a result of the pandemic.

COVID-19 has killed at least 94,700 people in the USA where more than 1.5 million infections have been confirmed, according to an AFP tally.

With many states issuing stay-at-home orders in March, a majority of Americans were stuck inside their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic and found themselves relying on technology for needs like online grocery shopping.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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