“Billionaire wealth is surging at the same time that millions face suffering, hardship, and loss of life. This is a grotesque indicator of the deep inequalities in U.S. society.”
Statistics released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor show that with 2.1 million new unemployment claims filed last week, a staggering 40.7 million Americans have lost their jobs over just the past 10 weeks as mass layoffs induced by the coronavirus pandemic continue.
“This is a grotesque indicator of the deep inequalities in U.S. society.”
—Institute for Policy Studies
During that same 10-week period, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), the combined net worth of America’s billionaires soared by nearly half a trillion dollars, bringing their total wealth to $3.4 trillion.
“Billionaire wealth is surging at the same time that millions face suffering, hardship, and loss of life,” IPS, a progressive think tank, said Thursday, noting that more than 100,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the United States. “This is a grotesque indicator of the deep inequalities in U.S. society.”
IPS, which has been publishing weekly updates on billionaire “pandemic profiteering,” found that the combined net worth of U.S. billionaires grew by $485 billion between March 18 and May 28, an increase of 16.5%.
Time for your steaming morning cup of rage:
We enter week 10 of #PandemicProfiteering.
40 million unemployed vs. $485 billion more for billionaires. pic.twitter.com/eTt7nM06BT
— Institute for Policy Studies (@IPS_DC) May 28, 2020
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos—the richest man in the world—and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg saw their combined wealth soar by $63 billion over the last 10 weeks.
Meanwhile, as Common Dreams reported, a $2-an-hour hazard pay increase for Amazon warehouse workers is set to expire at the end of the day Sunday.
IPS found that there are currently 16 more billionaires than there were in mid-March, when many U.S. states began locking down their economies as Covid-19 spread rapidly across the country.
“This isn’t just unsustainable,” IPS tweeted of the surge in billionaire wealth. “It’s unconscionable.”
‘Honestly, I think Trump wants to lose’: Bedminster press conference panned as campaign ‘self-sabotage’
President Donald Trump made lots of promises at a Friday evening press conference, but did not take any action.
The president made the comments from Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, where he arrived on Thursday for an extended weekend.
He held the press conference while allowing members of his private club to serve as an audience for his speech, which was announced by the White House but frequently veered into partisan electoral politics. Members were seen without masks and not social distancing, potentially in violation of New Jersey regulations.
Trump's comments came after White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin "did not make any progress" in negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
WATCH: Bedminster members cheer when Trump praises them for refusing to social distance
Donald Trump received loud applause from the members at his private club who had gathered as an audience for his presidential address.
Trump was asked why the audience at Bedminster Golf Club was not social distancing, with many seen without maks.
The leader of the free world replied that the event -- officially announced by the White House -- was a political rally and a peaceful protest.
The audience cheered his comments, as he complained about fake news.
Coronavirus deaths in Latin America hit global high
Latin America and the Caribbean surpassed Europe on Friday to become the region hardest-hit by coronavirus deaths, as India passed the sombre step of recording over two million infections.
The world's worst-hit region had reported 213,120 fatalities, 460 more than Europe, according to an AFP tally based on official data registered at 1700 GMT.
Worldwide there have been more than 19 million cases and over 715,000 deaths from the virus first reported in China at the end of last year.
The virus has flared up again in areas where it appeared to have been curbed, but it has steadily spread across sprawling territories in India and Africa.