As the Quarantine Guts the Economy, America’s Five Wealthiest People Have Gotten 75 Billion Dollars Richer
At the quarantine’s outset, I warned that despots and billionaires would leverage the crisis to ratchet up surveillance and authoritarian control. They would transform America into a National Security State, engineer the final liquidation of America’s middle class and transfer its wealth to a plutocracy of digital and Pharma billionaires.
Sure enough, at breakneck speed we have devolved from the world’s exemplary democracy to a tyrannical near-police state operating at the direction of Big Data/Big Telecom, the Medical Cartel, and the Military/Industrial/Intelligence Complex.
This nationwide, extended quarantine has permanently shuttered over 100,000 small businesses, cost 38 million jobs and 27 million Americans their health care. The Super Rich elite are flourishing while a despairing middle class flounders. According to a report by Americans for Tax Fairness, billionaires are watching their wealth compound beyond imagination.
Between March 18, when lockdown began, and May 19, the combined net worth of Bill Gates (Microsoft), Jeff Bezos (Amazon) Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway) and Larry Ellison (Oracle) grew by $75.5 billion. According to Forbes data, the total wealth of the 630 U.S. billionaires jumped by $434 billion—15%—from $2.948 trillion to $3.382 trillion. Tech stocks are the most bullish about the Surveillance State. Microsoft (Bing), Facebook and Amazon are facilitating our devolution into militarized oligarchy by enforcing censorship against all expressions of dissent.
Zuckerberg’s wealth increased by 46.2 percent (up $25.3 billion); Bezos’s by 30.6 percent ($34.6 billion); Gates’s by 8.2 percent ($8 billion). Their stocks hit all-time highs this week. Amazon shares were up 29% since January and Facebook spiked 10 % in lockstep with the Lockdown.
Other Tech Titans also watched their portfolios peak; Buffett by 0.8% (up $564 million) and Larry Ellison’s by 11.9% (up $7 billion) Musk by 48% (up $11.8 billion). Other billionaires growing wealth on public misery include tech billionaire Michael Dell; Pharma/media baron Rupert Murdoch. These kingpins will need a Surveillance/Police State to protect their obscene winnings from public rage.