Meanwhile reports show that 26 million Americans are experiencing hunger.
"The increases in billionaire wealth continue to defy gravity in the real economy where millions have lost their jobs, health, and livelihoods," said Chuck Collins from IPS in a statement.
The $1 trillion growth in U.S. billionaire net worth since March represents an increase of more than one-third. Collins noted that 29 billionaires have seen their wealth double since the pandemic began, and the combined wealth of this super-rich class is now "twice the amount of wealth held by the bottom 50% of households combined, roughly 160 million people."
Collins warned that "we're at risk of the oligarchic death spiral," wherein "wealth concentrates and power concentrates, and the wealthy use their power to rig the rules to get more wealth and power."
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' wealth increased by nearly $70 billion over the past eight months, growing from $113 billion to more than $182 billion. Meanwhile, the Bezos-owned Washington Post on Wednesday published a harrowing photo essay documenting the worsening hunger crisis in the U.S., where "26 million now say they don't have enough to eat, as the pandemic worsens and holidays near."
The yawning chasm between the super-rich haves and the struggling have-nots is not a coincidence. Working-class immiseration is NOT an aberration but rather a feature of the concentration of wealth and power that characterizes capitalist class rule.
The impending expiration of federal unemployment benefits threatens further financial hardship for an estimated 12 million Americans the day after Christmas, and the end of the national eviction moratorium and student loan forbearance is also looming.