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The Rich Got Richer During the Pandemic, Bailed Out by the Fed. How it Happened and Why That’s Bad for the Economy

Over 30 million people lost their jobs while the wealth of America’s 600-plus billionaires ballooned by $434 billion, to $3.4 trillion.

By Wolf Richter | 19 August 2020

WOLF STREET — This is the transcript of my podcast last Sunday, THE WOLF STREET REPORT. You can listen to it on YouTube, and you can find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts,  iHeart Radio, and others.

The examples are all over the place. The wealth of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos soared by $74 billion so far this year, according to Bloomberg. Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth jumped by $20 billion so far this year. Elon Musk’s wealth soared by around $50 billion. The wealth of Microsoft founder Bill Gates jumped by $8 billion. Rob Walton, Jim Walton, and Alice Walton, of the Walmart family, saw their combined wealth jump by $14 billion. Chairman and CEO of mutual fund company Fidelity Investments, Abby Johnson, who owns nearly a quarter of the company, saw her wealth soar by $11 billion. The wealth of Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin soared by $7 billion a piece, and Oracle founder Larry Ellison’s by $5 billion.

These are the wealth gains just this year.

Between mid-March and mid-May, during the lockdowns, the wealth of America’s 600-plus billionaires ballooned by $434 billion, according to a report by Americans for Tax Fairness,  pushing the wealth of those 600 Americans to a combined $3.4 trillion.

And there is another layer of people who are not billionaires, but have a wealth of $50 million or $200 million, or $600 million, and they saw their enormous wealth balloon too during the pandemic. And there are millions of people of lesser wealth that also rode on their coattails up the boom of the financial markets. […]

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