Who Is Getting Wealthier During Covid-19?

Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos getting rich during Covid-19

Billionaires have a combined wealth of more than $3.6 trillion, and their collective wealth will soar by $1,130 between 1990 and 2020. Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett had the second-largest increase in their wealth during the pandemic. Bezos and Zuckerberg have added $35 billion and $25 billion to their fortunes, respectively. In total, the 20 richest people in the United States, including Bezos, Zuckerberg, Gates, and Buffett, as well as the rest of the world's ten largest billionaires, had a combined wealth of $3.6 trillion by August 5, 2020. 

This makes sense as retail is getting killed and Amazon benefits and Bill Gates gets to sell more vaccines to the world. Meanwhile, 40 million Americans filed for unemployment during the pandemic, but billionaires saw their net worth increase by half a trillion dollars.

First, the government disproportionately gave more aid to banks and corporations. In 2008, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act was signed into law, creating a $700 billion program to purchase devalued assets from banks. This was called the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Later, President Obama would direct $75 billion in funds from TARP to help reduce interest payments for homeowners. That means homeowners received around 10% of the direct relief that banks and corporations did.

And this leads to reason No. 2. When the stock market bounced back, the unequal bailouts meant that the wealthy still had money on hand to invest and thus profit, while the middle and lower classes did not. In 2008, the Federal Reserve lowered short-term interest rates to near zero. They would remain that low for nearly a decade. This paved the way for a historic bull market on Wall Street that began in 2009 and lasted until March 2020, when the pandemic hit. The Ponzi scheme continues with no restructuring of bad behavior insight