USA - Billionaires Got $280 Billion Richer Since COVID-19

Arno Froese

Though the coronavirus itself may not discriminate in terms of who can be infected, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from a great equalizer. In the same month that 22 million Americans lost their jobs, the American billionaire class’s total wealth increased about 10%—or $282 billion more than it was at the beginning of March. They now have a combined net worth of $3.229 trillion.

These “pandemic profiteers,” as a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank, calls them, is just one piece of the wealth inequality puzzle in America. In the background is the fact that since 1980, the taxes paid by billionaires, measured as a percentage of their wealth, dropped 79%.

Another key finding of the report is that after the 2008 financial crisis, it took less than 30 months for billionaire wealth to return to its pre-meltdown levels. That wealth then quickly exceeded pre-2008 levels. But as of 2019, the middle class in America has not even yet recovered to the level of its 2007 net worth. “People went into the pandemic with the economic hangover from the Great Recession,” he says.

For the millions of Americans struggling to pay rent, buy groceries, and just trying to survive this pandemic, Collins notes that times of disaster do especially highlight the “unseemly underbelly of inequality.” But he also sees this time as somewhat of an awakening. “The good news is most people understand this. They actually support the public policies that would move us in the other direction,” he says, such as a wealth tax or progressive inheritance tax, or even a $15 minimum wage for grocery store employees and other workers. “Our politicians might catch up to where the general public is when it comes to addressing these inequalities.”

-www.fastcompany.com, 23 April 2020

Arno's commentary

The above excerpt from FastCompany.com, authored by Kristin Toussaint, reminds us of the infamous words of Leona Helmsley, “We don’t pay taxes; only the little people pay taxes.” Depending on which criteria is being used to estimate real taxes paid, it is quite evident that those with means know how to utilize loopholes, mostly by legal avenues available to them.

A recent story one of my sons sent me featured the well-known newscaster John Stossel, who admitted he was a freeloader, taking advantage of the most generous government subsidies available—but only to the rich.

This, of course, is not news; it has always been the case. The rich get richer, and the poor pay the bill. However, we have to admit that the average worker, virtually anywhere in the world, is significantly better off than 100-200 years ago. 

How do other countries manage? Switzerland, for instance, is not known for many billionaires—their lower income class is relatively rich when compared to any other country. The 10% lowest income segment consumes 7.5% of the Swiss national product, with the highest 10% receiving 19%. In the US, it is only 2% for the lowest segment and 30% for the highest segment.

But what does the Bible say? That’s really the only thing that counts. Here we must quote the first five verses of James 5: “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.” That is why the believer is warned, “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition” (1 Timothy 6:9).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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