A report published Wednesday by a coalition of advocacy groups entitled Billionaire Wealth vs. Community Health: Protecting Essential Workers from Pandemic Profiteers, focuses on 12 of the most egregious pandemic profiteers—the "Delinquent Dozen"—who include the owners of Walmart and the CEOs of Amazon and Target.
These companies and their owners and executives have benefited from their "monopoly positions," the report states, but their success "hasn't translated into better pay or safer working conditions for the employees showing up to work in a pandemic."
It's not just corporations—"private equity firms have bought up essential businesses in the healthcare, grocery, and pet care industries, only to aggressively cut costs, skimp on worker safety, and load companies up with debt to boost their own profits," the report notes.
Among its key findings:
- 1) As of November 17, the combined wealth of 647 U.S. billionaires increased by almost $960 billion since mid-March, the beginning of the pandemic lockdown.
- 2) Since March, there are 33 new billionaires in the U.S. Driving this exploding inequality are 12 companies whose profits are coming at the expense of workers and communities, including retailers like Walmart, Amazon, Target, and Dollar Tree, and Dollar Store, gig economy companies like Instacart, and food producers like Tyson Foods.
- 3) Also included is the investment giant BlackRock and private equity firms like Leonard Green Partners, Blackstone, Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts & Co., Cerberus Capital, BC Partners, and CVC Capital Partners. These private equity firms own several essential healthcare, grocery, and pet supply companies.
- 4) Ten billionaire owners of "Delinquent Dozen" companies have a combined worth of $433 billion. Since March 18, their combined personal wealth has ballooned by $127.5 billion, a 42% increase. These 10 billionaires are: Jeff Bezos (Amazon); Alice, Rob, and Jim Walton (Walmart); Apoorva Mehta (Instacart); John Tyson (Tyson Foods); Steve Schwarzman (Blackstone); Henry Kravis and George Roberts (KKR); and Steve Feinberg (Cerberus).