The 500 or so U.S. billionaires should make an extra contribution to the public health and economic needs of a country in crisis.
Elon Musk, May 30, 2020. Getty Images
Nothing symbolizes the inequality of sacrifice during the Covid-19 pandemic more than watching a few hundred billionaires gain while everyone else struggles through job losses, debilitating illness, or death.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died from Covid-19 and over 32 million have lost their jobs. U.S. households lost an estimated $6.5 trillion in wealth during the first quarter of 2020 alone.
But billionaire wealth is surging. Since March 18, the beginning of the pandemic lockdown, the 467 U.S. billionaires have seen their wealth increase by over $730 billion, or 30%, according to an analysis of Forbes data by Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies.
The Fed has used emergency measures to prop up the economy that reversed the stock-market crash caused by the pandemic, even as the rest of the economy falters. The biggest beneficiaries have been the billionaire class, which keeps on growing wealthier.
It is time to levy an emergency wealth tax on billionaire profiteers and direct the funds to offset the cost of the nation’s health-care costs.
Read the full op-ed in Marketwatch.
Read regular Institute for Policy Studies updates on U.S. unemployment and billionaire wealth during the pandemic.