Pandemic or no pandemic, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett and the rest of the American billionaires have actually had a pretty good last few months. Over the last six months, U.S. billionaires have seen their wealth jump by 29 percent — about $845 billion. Musk is now worth $92 billion, a 273 percent leap from where he was at before the pandemic. Bezos is worth $73 billion more now than we was when the pandemic started, with $113 billion in wealth. The enormous wealth shift, which comes as 13.5 million Americans are out of work, is likely to fuel more conversations about the wealth gap in the U.S. and just how much money one person should have.
The huge wealth jump was assisted by low interest rates as the Fed juiced the economy with trillions of dollars, but it’s not all a post-crisis bounce. “The stock market in which billionaires have much of their money invested dropped sharply in the month before the pandemic lockdown. But the six months of gains that followed were not merely a reversal of those losses: billionaires are also $680 billion, or 22%, richer today than they were in February 2019,” said the report, which was compiled by The Institute for Policy Studies and Americans for Tax Fairness, using data from Forbes.
Chuck Collins is director of the Institute for Policy Studies’ Program on Inequality, and he told Business Insider the huge gains are part of a troubling trend. “The difference is stark between profits for billionaires and the widespread economic misery in our nation,” he said. “Clearly, the priorities of our elected officials in Washington, DC are completely upside down.”