American billionaires added $1.1 trillion in wealth during the pandemic
billionaireshave added $1.1 trillion to their collective wealth during the pandemic.
- That brings the collective net worth of America's billionaires — including 46 new ones — to $4.1 trillion.
- Meanwhile, millions of Americans remain unemployed and have fallen into poverty.
American billionaires saw their collective net worth grow by $1.1 trillion over the past 10 months, according to a new report from the the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF).
In a press release, IPS and ATF said those gains could "pay for all the relief for working families" in President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package - all "while leaving the nation's richest households no worse off than they were before COVID-19 hit."
The collective net worth of American billionaires was $4.1 trillion as of January 18, 2021, according to the report, which uses data from Forbes. Currently, the bottom half of Americans hold around $2.36 trillion in wealth.
Overall, billionaires saw an almost 40% increase in their net worth since March. And that number is higher for some; Elon Musk, the list's second-richest
"While we can all rejoice that our nation's response to the terrible pandemic is now in steadier and more caring hands, we can only lament that America's billionaires are not making a meaningful contribution to that national effort, even as their wealth continues to soar," Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness, said in a statement.
The pandemic also minted dozens of new billionaires
America's billionaire class has also grown over the past 10 months, welcoming 46 new members into its ranks.
That stands in stark contrast to America's unemployment numbers: Over 75 million people have filed unemployment claims since the pandemic began. The week before Biden's inauguration, 900,000 Americans filed jobless claims - a lower number than expected.
As Insider's Ayelet Shaffey reported, 8 million Americans have fallen into poverty in recent months. As extra unemployment benefits lapsed, poverty rose by 2.4% from June to December.
It's an extreme example of America's K-shaped recovery, where higher-wage workers have seen growth in jobs and wages, while low-wage workers have seen the opposite.
"The COVID crisis is crushing people of color and low-income workers while billionaires who are nearly all white have seen fortunes skyrocket. This is why we need the fair-share taxes program Joe Biden ran on, won on and is now ready to pursue," Clemente said.
As Insider's Evan Sully reported, President Biden's tax plan follows the K-shape, with higher taxes for higher earners, and potential tax cuts for lower-income Americans.
"There is something broken when unemployment and Covid infections surge - and billionaire wealth continues to rise to unprecedented levels," Chuck Collins, director of the Program on
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