The richest people in the world, whose fortunes were already straining understanding, collectively made $ 1 trillion last year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Elon Musk, the richest person in the world, alone has earned nearly $ 118 billion in the past 12 months. Meanwhile, the United Nations estimates that 150 million people fell into poverty in 2021.
Other big winners in the billionaire group include luxury mogul Bernard Arnault (up $ 62.7 billion) and Google pals Larry Page and Sergey Brin (up $ 47 billion and $ 45 billion, respectively). Mark Zuckerberg’s year was one of the tech titans’ nightmares, but he’s still richer by around $ 25 billion.
As much as 2021 will be remembered as the Year of the Worker, thanks to rising wages and renewed organizing efforts fueled by a tight labor market, the astronomical gains of 0.001% worldwide underscore the vastness of the gap in wealth between workers and the executives and shareholders they serve.
For the gazillionth year in a row, 2021 was a good time to be rich. Time and time again, Wall Street has ignored concerns about inflation, supply chain bottlenecks and newer variants of Covid-19 to keep the stock markets buzzing. On this front, the rich owe a big hat trick to the Federal Reserve, which has pumped tens of billions of dollars into financial markets every month while keeping interest rates close to zero – ultra-loose monetary policy designed to keep liquidity moving in financial markets as the pandemic rocked the global economy in 2020. This stimulus drive fueled a stock market windfall in 2020 and 2021, but the Fed’s gravy train will disappear in the first half of this year. This year.
The S&P 500 gained nearly 27% last year, while the Dow Jones gained around 19% and the Nasdaq ended the year up 21%.
The valuations of other assets such as cryptocurrencies, commodities and real estate have also skyrocketed, further bolstering the coffers of the very rich.
According to Bloomberg, the combined net worth of the 500 people on his Billionaire Index now exceeds $ 8.4 trillion. That’s more than the gross domestic product of any country on the planet except the United States and China.
Throughout the year, proposals by US lawmakers for a so-called billionaire tax have been derided, unsurprisingly, by super billionaires such as Musk. The CEO of Tesla, who in recent years has paid little or no income tax and whose trillion-dollar auto company has been partly founded on government aid, has spoken out particularly against a tax on the richest to finance a more solid social system. safety net in America.
Since the start of the pandemic, American billionaires have seen their collective fortunes climb by more than 70% to more than $ 5,000 billion, according to a report by Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies Program on Inequality , who analyzed data from Forbes.
Democrats argue that the billionaire windfall over the past two years alone would be enough to pay for President Joe Biden’s social infrastructure plan. But billionaire tax legislation was dead when it arrived this fall when Senator Joe Manchin expressed concern over criminalizing “people in the stratosphere.”
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