The pandemic has seen billionaires' wealth reach a record $10.2 trillion

midian182

Posts: 6,072   +50
Staff member
TL;DR: Covid-19 has decimated many economies and several industries, costing millions of people their jobs. For the world's billionaires, however, the pandemic has helped their fortunes grow, up by more than a quarter to a record high of over $10 trillion.

A study by Swiss bank UBS and accounting firm PwC found that at the start of April, global billionaire wealth stood at $8 trillion. By July, following the height of the coronavirus pandemic, it had reached $10.2 trillion. The previous peak was $8.9 trillion recorded at the end of 2017.

A lot of that increase came from billionaires betting on the recovery of global stock markets when they slumped during the lockdowns (between March and April). With many governments launching stimulus packages, the markets have rebounded, leaving the rich ever richer.

Josef Stadler, the head of UBS' global family office department, said (via The Guardian) that billionaires had "the stomach" to buy more company shares when equity markets around the world crashed. Tech company shares have risen sharply, thanks to increased demand for delivery services, work-from-home products, and video-calling software.

Back in July, Amazon overlord Jeff Bezos saw the largest single-day increase to his net wealth since the Bloomberg Billionaire Index was created eight years ago. As Amazon shares jumped 7.9 percent, Bezos' worth surged by $13 billion to $189.3 billion.

Bezos has seen his fortune increase by $74 billion this year, but that still isn't as much as Elon Musk. The Tesla boss is $76 billion richer since the start of 2020 and is now worth $103 billion.

US senator and former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said he plans to introduce a tax on "obscene wealth gains" made by the super-rich during the pandemic. The "Make Billionaires Pay Act" would put a 60 percent tax on the increase in billionaires' net worth from March 18 through to the end of the year. Many of PwC's clients are expecting new wealth taxes and an increase in direct taxation this year as a way of funding government support packages.

A number of billionaires have donated some of their wealth to help those impacted financially by Covid-19. In the US, 98 billionaires donated a total of $4.5 billion, putting the UK to shame—nine of the country's billionaires have donated just $298 million.

The UBS/PwC report covers 2,000 billionaires from 43 markets, accounting for around 98 percent of total billionaire wealth.

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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 3,496   +3,334
Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Tesla... Most of this gain has been due to stock buybacks using Trump's tax discounts and the newer money has been thanks to people mindlessly spending money at Amazon, buying into subscription services or directly investing their stimulus welfare checks into the market.

What great timing for Tesla and Apple to time their stock splits around tax returns.

The companies on the DOW represent more than 80% of ALL stock value.

These billionaires gain and lose millions of dollars each and every day as the market rises and falls.

The loses are going to be socialized.

$27,000,000,000,000 and counting.
 
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BadThad

Posts: 309   +228
Leave it to the communist Sanders to demand confiscation of other peoples money. I'm always amazed by how leftists think that money earned by someone else is somehow their money. While I generally dislike the people on the list above, they earned their money and we have no right to demand it for ourselves.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 3,496   +3,334
Leave it to the communist Sanders to demand confiscation of other peoples money. I'm always amazed by how leftists think that money earned by someone else is somehow their money. While I generally dislike the people on the list above, they earned their money and we have no right to demand it for ourselves.

Pray-tell, how much did Sanders increase the National Debt by this year.

It rose by 4 Trillion this year alone.

Who was President when that happened?
 

koblongata

Posts: 325   +131
In a civilized would we basically live the same life after a couple of millions really. There are exceptions but I am sure (?) these guys live a normal life (because they'd be so busy creating the difference).
 
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R00sT3R

Posts: 298   +704
Utterly obscene, America.

Allowing this kind of wealth to accumulate in the hands of so few is nothing to be proud of but a sign of a fundamentally corrupt and broken business model and it will eventually bring your country to its knees and there maybe no getting up.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 208   +198
Sometimes I wonder to myself "How many people must be made poor for one billionaire to exist?" but then I realise that the question itself is irrelevant because the range of the level of wealth involved makes the term essentially meaningless. Someone with one billion dollars would theoretically have more in common with a typical person than with Jeff Bezos based on wealth difference. The level of wealth that these people control makes them so powerful that a much better term for them would be "oligarchs". A tiny percentage of absurdly powerful people who can literally bend the economy and the public narrative to their advantage (and do).

The oligarchs grabbed control of the governments and economies and that's why they went from paying close to 80% tax in the 1950s to literally 0% by 2000. Ask anyone who was alive during the 50s in the USA and they'll tell you just how prosperous a time it was for the American majority (WASPS). Instead of a tiny minority being able to comfortably raise children and send them to university while owning a house and buying a new car every three years, it was a tiny minority that couldn't. The reason for this is that people (the rich included) saw money then as a means to an end, not an end in itself. Back then, corporate executives were expected to perform and didn't believe that they deserved their jobs if they were incompetent. Today, corporate stupidity and incompetence are the norm.

An economy that makes it possible to amass that much money is a terminally ill economy. For those who disagree, look what happened to King Louis XVI of France and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. They were both deposed and were summarily executed with their families. This is the path that some countries are currently on but refuse to accept the truth.

Unregulated capitalism has reached the end of its useful life and has turned into an economic cancer. The pandemic has only made it far easier to see.
 

doakills

Posts: 9   +11
Leave it to the communist Sanders to demand confiscation of other peoples money. I'm always amazed by how leftists think that money earned by someone else is somehow their money. While I generally dislike the people on the list above, they earned their money and we have no right to demand it for ourselves.
Most confusing and backwards statement I've ever read... You mean to tell me, unless your in this billionaire category, that your ok with these companies doing and paying less than the general public for there contributions. Money earned, should always be money taxed regardless of where you fall on the bracket. In the most ideal sense these folks/companies would be flipping more of the tax burden to then help run programs like Medicare, ssi, etc instead they walk away from all these moral programs. Its easy to blame one party and label "left" "Right" but its a fundamental that this country has absolutely let get out of control on both sides. We at this point stand no chance in 20-30 years in my age group to having any moral retirement because the people in our past have screwed this system so hard. Then you throw in technology, automation and evolving trends and this pattern only gets worse over time. Eventually something will break, but your obvious message does nothing to support a positive change, rather just blame the left, typical A-Game of republic - Right or Left.
 

candle_86

Posts: 542   +452
Sometimes I wonder to myself "How many people must be made poor for one billionaire to exist?" but then I realise that the question itself is irrelevant because the range of the level of wealth involved makes the term essentially meaningless. Someone with one billion dollars would theoretically have more in common with a typical person than with Jeff Bezos based on wealth difference. The level of wealth that these people control makes them so powerful that a much better term for them would be "oligarchs". A tiny percentage of absurdly powerful people who can literally bend the economy and the public narrative to their advantage (and do).

The oligarchs grabbed control of the governments and economies and that's why they went from paying close to 80% tax in the 1950s to literally 0% by 2000. Ask anyone who was alive during the 50s in the USA and they'll tell you just how prosperous a time it was for the American majority (WASPS). Instead of a tiny minority being able to comfortably raise children and send them to university while owning a house and buying a new car every three years, it was a tiny minority that couldn't. The reason for this is that people (the rich included) saw money then as a means to an end, not an end in itself. Back then, corporate executives were expected to perform and didn't believe that they deserved their jobs if they were incompetent. Today, corporate stupidity and incompetence are the norm.

An economy that makes it possible to amass that much money is a terminally ill economy. For those who disagree, look what happened to King Louis XVI of France and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. They were both deposed and were summarily executed with their families. This is the path that some countries are currently on but refuse to accept the truth.

Unregulated capitalism has reached the end of its useful life and has turned into an economic cancer. The pandemic has only made it far easier to see.
I'm sorry but no, flat 15% tax for everyone is more correct, and it's what we should do, you make a buck for an entire year uncle sam gets 15 cents, no exemptions no nothing, you make 1 billion dollars uncle sam gets 150 million no questions. It's time we treat everyone fairly.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 298   +341
This change in net worth isn’t only attributable to billionaires, it’s anyone who had money invested in the stock market. My net worth nearly doubled since the year ago period, yet my bank account has barely fluctuated. Does that mean I should pay taxes on these gains before even selling my shares?

Much of the change in my net worth is also in my retirement account, and so is a large number of middle class Americans. That alone dwarfs the wealth gained during the pandemic by billionaires. Should regular Americans also be taxed on money they don’t currently have access to?

Most of these billionaires have always had their entire wealth tied to shares of their own company and sell only minute portions. It doesn’t mean they have billions of dollars of cash sitting around. When they do sell shares of their company, then they will be taxed 20% of all the profit they take out.

But to change the code to tax company founders based on unrealized gains means they lose ownership of their own companies, solely because other people decide to put money into their stock. This forces the founders to sell shares only to pay taxes based on those gains. If their company’s stock price is volatile, it’s the worst as they’d be forced to sell more stock and have a decreasing net value over time with no real gains in wealth long term.

In the end, this tax is based on taxing the rich getting richer with no real understanding of how they got rich. Why not just change capital gains tax from 20% to 50% or more when your net worth is above $500 million dollars? That would actually be fair.
 
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dirtyferret

Posts: 636   +730
Utterly obscene, America.

Allowing this kind of wealth to accumulate in the hands of so few is nothing to be proud of but a sign of a fundamentally corrupt and broken business model and it will eventually bring your country to its knees and there maybe no getting up.
Hey Pal, we might not have well paying jobs, healthcare, higher education without a lifetime of debt, or the right to have our votes count but as long as America has a fanatical belief in trickle down economics,a steady supply of minimum wage jobs with no benefits, a supreme court to control women's bodies, the bible to teach us history (but only the new testament part), and right to purchase a M-16 (aka AR-15) the same day and go shoot up a school we Americans will be A-OK!
 

Michiel

Posts: 51   +31
Utterly obscene, America.

Allowing this kind of wealth to accumulate in the hands of so few is nothing to be proud of but a sign of a fundamentally corrupt and broken business model and it will eventually bring your country to its knees and there maybe no getting up.
These people have created and (partly) own big worldwide companies. Their wealth is mosty however much these companies are valued at by the market, which in turn is in part at least a result of how much we as consumers appreciate and use their products. As the world population increases and everyone is getting less poor (which is the case) and starts using such tech services more and more, the tech billionaires will get richer. There's nothing inherently wrong about that, as long as they do pay their fair amount of taxes and play by the rules of course. If they don't, then that is what needs to be rectified, not the fact that they have wealth in the first place. The economy is not a zero sum game.
 
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Adi6293

Posts: 583   +690
Nothing short of a flat tax and government spending cuts is ever going to change anything in America.
Flat tax right now would only mean the rich would pay less and poor would pay more. The government would have to seriously cut their spendings not just in USA to be fair but all around the world, they spend like there is no tomorrow and we pay for it.....
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 1,992   +2,447
I see a LOT of seething in this thread over wealthy people being wealthy.

Here's a hint: if you come after the billionaire's money the billionaires will find other ways to hide it. If you want people to stop being poor then outlaw stupidity.

Also to anyone who says the conspiracy theory about big businesses pushign for more lockdowns to put competitors out of business and make more money: still think that idea has no merit?
Pray-tell, how much did Sanders increase the National Debt by this year.

It rose by 4 Trillion this year alone.

Who was President when that happened?
Sanders is too busy buying a 4th house with "socialist" findung to care about the national debt.

And how much fo that 4 trillion is corona relief? Because if you want to count that then boy howdy do I have some bad news for you, you wont BELIEVE how much money Obama gave big banks while the common people went hungry.
 

p51d007

Posts: 2,517   +1,804
The people on this list, better be prepared to MOVE their wealth to another country. If the socialist end up winning the U.S. election in November, they will destroy what little capitalism in this nation, and confiscate these people's wealth for themselves, with a FRACTION spread to the subjects of this nation (as opposed to CITIZENS), to ensure they continue to grovel at the feet of the government barons.
 
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Evernessince

Posts: 5,413   +5,998
I'm sorry but no, flat 15% tax for everyone is more correct, and it's what we should do, you make a buck for an entire year uncle sam gets 15 cents, no exemptions no nothing, you make 1 billion dollars uncle sam gets 150 million no questions. It's time we treat everyone fairly.
I'm assuming there would still be deductions as businesses still need to account for the cost of their inventory as do regular people expenses. Of course you can't not have deductions, many business would be unable to operate. With those deductions, you end up right back where we are now as a majority of an accountants job is reducing taxable income. The only difference being you massively just reduced tax revenue for a country that is already is massive debt, brilliant.


I see a LOT of seething in this thread over wealthy people being wealthy.

Here's a hint: if you come after the billionaire's money the billionaires will find other ways to hide it. If you want people to stop being poor then outlaw stupidity.
Such an American thing to assume that every poor person is stupid, because we all know that intelligence is based on the size of your wallet. Nothing at all to do with environmental factors, what you start with, or to a small extent luck.

 

candle_86

Posts: 542   +452
I'm assuming there would still be deductions as businesses still need to account for the cost of their inventory as do regular people expenses. Of course you can't not have deductions, many business would be unable to operate. With those deductions, you end up right back where we are now as a majority of an accountants job is reducing taxable income. The only difference being you massively just reduced tax revenue for a country that is already is massive debt, brilliant.




Such an American thing to assume that every poor person is stupid, because we all know that intelligence is based on the size of your wallet. Nothing at all to do with environmental factors, what you start with, or to a small extent luck.

no deductions means no deductions, period. A flat tax rate is the anwser.
 
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Evernessince

Posts: 5,413   +5,998
no deductions means no deductions, period. A flat tax rate is the anwser.
That wouldn't work, period. You don't seen to have ever done taxes for any business before so let me explain this to you:

The average margin for grocery stores is 2 to 3%. If you don't allow for deductions, taxes would greatly exceed profits.

Here's a list of other businesses that would cease to exist as well:


It makes zero sense to not have deductions. It's better to fix the loopholes than burn down the system.
 

candle_86

Posts: 542   +452
That wouldn't work, period. You don't seen to have ever done taxes for any business before so let me explain this to you:

The average margin for grocery stores is 2 to 3%. If you don't allow for deductions, taxes would greatly exceed profits.

Here's a list of other businesses that would cease to exist as well:


It makes zero sense to not have deductions. It's better to fix the loopholes than burn down the system.
so raise prices, thats a real simple anwser, no deductions, price so you have a bussiness, and attach a heavy tariff to prevent buying from over seas directly