August 23, 2021 Update: US Billionaires 62% Richer During Pandemic, up $1.8 Trillion; Wealth gain could pay for half of Biden’s $3.5 trillion package
U.S billionaires have seen their wealth surge $1.8 trillion during the pandemic, their collective fortune skyrocketing by nearly two-thirds (62 percent) from just short of $3 trillion at the start of the COVID crisis on March 18, 2020, to $4.8 trillion on August 17, 2021, according to a report from Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies Program on Inequality (IPS). A table of the top 15 billionaires is below and the full data set is here.
Elon Musk has seen his wealth increase by an eye-popping $150 billion during the pandemic, a gain of over 600 percent.
America’s billionaire bonanza demonstrates the flaws in our current economic and tax systems President Biden and Democrats in Congress are trying to remedy by advancing a $3.5 trillion budget package, which has already passed the U.S. Senate and is being considered in the U.S. House today. If it becomes law through the budget reconciliation process this fall, it will aid communities and working families by making healthcare, eldercare, childcare, housing and education more affordable, investing in clean energy, expanding the Child Tax Credit and providing 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. It will be paid for by making the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share of taxes, and it will not raise taxes on anyone making under $400,000 a year.
Not only did the wealth of billionaires grow, but so did their numbers: in March of last year, there were 614 Americans with 10-figure bank accounts; this August, there are 708. Their $1.8 trillion of increased wealth alone over 17 months, which will not be taxed unless they sell their assets, would pay for more than half of Biden’s 10-year $3.5 trillion investment package.