COVID-19 has been good for Virginia’s billionaires

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Virginia’s seven billionaires have done well for themselves since mid-March, growing their collective wealth $6.5 billion – 15.8 percent.

Not bad for those folks, while many of the rest of us were losing their jobs, businesses, seeing their kids’ educations go all to hell.

The analysis comes from Americans for Tax Fairness, the Institute for Policy Studies and Health Care for America Now.

The $6.5 billion increase in wealth of the state’s billionaires over the last seven months is five times more than the $1.3 billion state revenue shortfall in fiscal year 2021 due to the pandemic.

The 2021-2022 two-year budget shortfall is $2.7 billion.

Between March 18 — the rough start date of the pandemic shutdown, when most federal and state economic restrictions were put in place — and Oct. 13, the total net worth of the state’s billionaires rose from $41.2 billion to $50 billion, based on this analysis of Forbes data.

The total net worth of the nation’s 644 billionaires has risen by $931 billion, or nearly 32 percent, since March 18—from $2.95 trillion to $3.88 trillion.

Forbes’ annual billionaires report was published March 18, and the real-time data was collected Oct. 13 from the Forbes website.

Needless to say, ordinary workers did not fare as well. From mid-March to mid-September, the collective work income of rank-and-file private-sector employees—all hours worked times the hourly wages of the entire bottom 82 percent of the workforce—declined by 3.5 percent, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics national data.

While here in Virginia:

“In Virginia we face an eviction crisis as unemployment grows as a result of the pandemic,” said Ladelle McWhorter, chairperson of Virginia Organizing. “Schools in Richmond where I work have not been able to reopen in person. People cannot pay their utility bills or afford food or the medicine they need to survive. Many small businesses have gone under. Meanwhile, these billionaires in Virginia profit off of this crisis, and the Senate Majority Leader refuses to provide communities with any relief.”

Story by Chris Graham


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