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(from Left)Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. (Wealthiest people in the United States according to Forbes, as of November 2020)

US billionaires’ fortune soars during pandemic

America’s billionaires have seen their wealth rise by more than $1 trillion since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent study, fueling debate about higher taxes on the rich. 

The collective wealth of the 651 billionaires in the United States soared from $2.95 trillion on March 18 to $4.01 trillion, said the Institute for Policy Studies and Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF). 

“Never before has America seen such an accumulation of wealth in so few hands,” said Frank Clemente, ATF’s executive director, noting that the gain exceeds a relief package being considered by Congress. 

“Their pandemic profits are so immense that America’s billionaires could pay for a major COVID relief bill and still not lose a dime of their pre-virus riches,” he added. 

The White House unveiled a $916 billion stimulus proposal in a final dash to break a months-long logjam over new aid for the coronavirus-stricken US economy before President Donald Trump leaves office in January. 

The new proposal is slightly larger than a $908 billion compromise unveiled by a bipartisan group of senators last week. 

The authors of the study say that the $1 trillion wealth gain would pay for stimulus checks of $3,000 for all of the roughly 300 million Americans.

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