Since the start of the pandemic, U.S. billionaires have increased their collective fortunes by more than 70% in just 19 months. From a combined worth of $3 trillion in March of 2020 to an astonishing $5 trillion in October 2021, according to Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies Program on Inequality (IPS) who analyzed data from Forbes. The Federal Reserve Board also estimates the current wealth held by U.S. billionaires to be two-thirds more than the $3 trillion in wealth held by the bottom 50% of U.S. households.
At the other end of the spectrum lies poverty which many relentlessly remind us has been cut in half — a statement that will only hold true if the economic benefits during the pandemic are made permanent. Various studies using a diversity of processes concur that poverty reduction during the coronavirus was temporary. The United States began to see increases in poverty higher than pre-pandemic numbers almost immediately after benefits were distributed, according to a number of surveys.
Economically speaking, the outbreak of Covid-19 proved that eliminating poverty can be as simple as putting more cash in people’s hands. Despite the wide-ranging reviews on the topic of such programs, the negative impacts of cash benefits are minimal. Studies have concluded that providing monetary benefits to all but the wealthiest is far more beneficial to anti-poverty efforts than the trivial adverse impact of one less hour of work per week such programs could potentially create.¹ The results of programs such as those afforded to the poor during the pandemic could easily lift millions out of poverty if they were made permanent.²
So why then are the rich getting all the breaks and the poor are still, well, poor?
The answer to that is both simple and complicated.
Take Elon Musk. He likes to jump on Twitter and taunt the people’s will in the United States…