While the wealth gap between the one percent and the rest of society has been long reported in the Trends Journal, since the COVID Lockdown, in the United States, the rich have gotten even richer.
According to a late April report from the Institute for Policy Studies, “Billionaire Bonanza 2020: Wealth Windfalls, Tumbling Taxes and Pandemic Profiteers,” U.S. billionaires have seen their wealth increase 20 percent since the lockdown to $3.5 trillion.
While the vast majority of Americans struggle (over 40 million filed for unemployment; millions of small businesses destroyed with little chance of recovery), the stock market is now booming, especially Fortune 500 corporations.
New York University professor Edward Wolff confirmed the reason a booming stock market bolsters the richest of the rich is due to the fact that those in the top 10 percent of wealth owned 84 percent of all stocks when analyzed in 2016.
Kristina Hooper, Chief Global Market Strategist at Invesco, put it bluntly: “The stock market taking off – and decoupling from the real economy – is exacerbating inequality.”
The Institute for Policy Studies report also showed:
- “Between January 1, 2020 and April 10, 2020, 34 of the nation’s wealthiest 170 billionaires saw their wealth increase by tens of millions of dollars. Eight have seen their net worth surge by over $1 billion.
- Jeff Bezos’s fortune had increased by an estimated $25 billion since January 1, 2020… which in itself is larger than the Gross Domestic Product of Honduras, $23.9 billion in 2018.
- Between March 18 and April 10, 2020, over 22 million people lost their jobs as the unemployment rate surged toward 15 percent. Over the same three weeks, U.S. billionaire wealth increased by $282 billion, an almost 10 percent gain.
- Billionaire wealth rebounded quickly after the 2008 financial crisis. Between 2010 and 2020, U.S. billionaire wealth increased 80.6 percent, more than five times the median wealth increase for U.S. households.
- Between 1990 and 2020, U.S. billionaire wealth soared 1,130 percent— an increase more than 200 times greater than the 5.37 percent growth of U.S. median wealth.
- Measured as a percentage of their wealth, the tax obligations of America’s billionaires decreased 79 percent between 1980 and 2018.”
TREND FORECAST: “Off With Their Heads 2.0” is going to be a global trend as the rich get richer while billions fall deeper into financial hardship.
When the deep pain of the “Greatest Depression” heavily hits Main Street, riots and protests will expand far beyond racial barriers, and the enemy of the people will be the one percent.
As we have noted with facts and data, the shutdowns are going to put countless small businesses out of business, and the Bigs will grow bigger eating up market shares as their competition evaporates.
Good, bad, right or wrong, new political parties will be formed, directed toward income re-distribution, anti-monopolization, higher wealth taxes, and heavily government subsidized health and higher education.