From Virginia Organizing:
VIRGINIA BILLIONAIRES GOT SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS RICHER OVER FIRST TEN MONTHS OF PANDEMIC, THEIR COLLECTIVE WEALTH JUMPING BY 17 PERCENT
Gains of Richest Residents Could Pay For Relief Checks of $820 for All 8.5 Million Virginians & Still Leave Billionaires as Rich as They Were Before COVID
Richmond, Va. — The collective wealth of Virginia’s eight billionaires jumped by seven billion dollars, or 17 percent, between mid-March of last year and Jan. 29 of this year, according to a new report by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), Health Care for America Now (HCAN), and Virginia Organizing. These pandemic profits of the state’s richest residents could pay for a COVID relief check of over $820 for all 8.5 million Virginians and still leave the billionaires as wealthy as they were before the pandemic hit.
Between March 18—the rough start date of the pandemic shutdown, when most federal and state economic restrictions were put in place—and Jan. 29, the total net worth of Virginia billionaires rose from $41.2 billion to $54.3 billion, based on this analysis of Forbes data extracted in the table below. (Even though the increase in total billionaire wealth was $13.1 billion, the figure has been adjusted to $7 billion because software developer Matthew Calkins—worth $6.1 billion last month—was not on the Forbes list in 2020.)
The private gain of Virginia billionaires contrasts sharply with the health and economic struggles that average Virginians are facing because of the pandemic. Over those same tough 10 months, nearly 500,000 state residents fell ill with the coronavirus, nearly 6,500 died from it and 1.4 million lost jobs in the accompanying recession.
While federal lawmakers debate more cash payments to people and families in the next relief package, the state’s eight billionaires have amassed enough new wealth during the pandemic, a $7 billion leap, to send every one of the state’s 8,535,519 residents a relief check of roughly $822 each. A family of four would get $3,287.
Nationwide over the same 10-month period, the total wealth of the nation’s 661 billionaires leaped by $1.2 trillion, or 40 percent—more than the $900 billion federal pandemic relief package enacted in Congress in December. At $4.1 trillion, the total wealth of America’s 661 billionaires is two-thirds higher than the $2.4 trillion in total wealth held by the bottom half of the population, 165 million Americans.
Sources: All data is from Forbes and available here. March 18, 2020, data is from the Forbes World’s Billionaires List: The Richest in 2020. Jan. 29, 2021 data was taken from Forbes real-time estimates of wealth that day.