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Did you have a good pandemic?

Monday/Tuesday blog

How was your pandemic? Did you become a lot richer? Probably not.

America – From billionaires to squillionaires

As the U.S. crossed the grim milestone of 1 million deaths from Covid-19, U.S. billionaires have seen their combined wealth rise over $1.7 trillion, a gain of over 58 percent during the pandemic. While billionaires have seen their wealth surge, a million have lost their lives and millions more lost their livelihoods.

On March 18, 2020, at the beginning of the formal lockdown, U.S. billionaires held a combined $2.947 trillion. On May 4, 2022, as the U.S. crossed the 1 million death mark, according to an analysis by NBC, 727 U.S. billionaires were worth $1.71 trillion more, according to Forbes.

Elon Musk, who had wealth valued just under $25 billion on March 18, 2020, saw his wealth increase to $255 billion as of May 4, 2022.

Between March 18, 2020 and May 4, 2022, the following increases in wealth have occurred:

  • Jeff Bezos saw his wealth rise from $113 billion to $150 billion.
  • Bill Gates experienced a wealth increase from $98 billion to $129.8 billion.
  • Three members of the Walton family — Jim, Alicem and Rob — have seen their combined assets rise from $163.1 billion to $207.7 billion.

(left-click on chart, then left-click again to see more clearly)

Not only did the wealth of U.S. billionaires grow, but so did their numbers: in March 2020, there were 614 Americans with 10-figure bank accounts. Two years of pandemic later, there were at least 727, though other estimates put the number at 745.

Britain – The rich get richer

There has been a similar pattern in Britain.

Britain created a record number of billionaires during the coronavirus pandemic as wealth surged despite a year of economic turmoil for ordinary people. In 2021 there were 171 billionaires in the UK, 24 more than before the pandemic and associated lockdowns. Moreover, the combined wealth of billionaires in Britain grew by more than one-fifth.

It’s the same the whole world over

In fact, across the world, the ultra-rich seem to have had a wonderful pandemic

Fleeced again and again and again?

While the rich now have so much money they would need a supercomputer to count it all, ordinary people are being crushed by rising fuel and food prices. And anyone with savings is seeing the value of their money evaporate. Yet while forcing this destruction on us, our rulers are telling us that we all (not them) have to make sacrifices and accept a lower standard of living.

Here’s Tory MP Therese Coffey:

A few days ago, she suggested that ‘wealthy pensioners’ should hand back their next year’s pension increase of about £1,000 to HMRC if they felt they didn’t need it. Hey Ms Coffey, how about all MPs with a Bodily Mass Index (BMI) putting them in either the ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’ categories hand back 20% of their salaries to HMRC? That might help the MPs lose weight and become a lot healthier.

As the old rugby song put it:

It’s the same the whole world over

It’s the poor wot gets the blame

It’s the rich wot gets the pleasure

Ain’t it all a bleeding shame? 

Although most people won’t be aware of how much richer the rich have become while the rest of us were imprisoned in our homes being increasingly impoverished, there seems to be a feeling that somehow ordinary people are being exploited and abused by our preachy rulers and their hypocritical jet-setting multimillionaire chums. Perhaps that’s why Mick Lynch of the RMT is probably more popular than any of our Westminster rulers?

Once again Neil Oliver tells it as it is

Here’s the brilliant Neil Oliver from a couple of weeks ago explaining the new facts of life:

(I don’t quite understand the piece about writing off debts towards the end of the video, but I believe the rest of the video is pretty well-aimed)

 

 

 

4 comments to Did you have a good pandemic?

  • Paul Chambers

    The reaction of apparently independent central banks helped cause this by slashing interest rates to zero and printing money. The result being US tech stocks trading at vast multiples of earnings. However, these are now falling and with Powell determined to crush euro dollar its likely they will fall further as his plans are realised and the market stops waiting for the pause.

    I would be eternally grateful if US interest rates move to 2.5% and stay there for a couple of years. Drive the excesses out of the system and bring values back to reality. Free money has fueled mad government and forcing discipline will stop a lot of stupidity like net zero and esg.

  • A Thorpe

    Isn’t it also true to say that anybody with fixed assets such as a house and investments will also have seen their wealth increase in this period. However, for us ordinary mortals we are now seeing prices increase and it has a bigger impact on us than billionaires. It would be interesting to see a detailed analysis of how their wealth has increased during a period of economic shutdown. It is also often said that more people are being taken out of poverty and we should also look at that. But is this going to be reversed with inflation and possibly recession.

    Neil Oliver makes some interesting points, but if you look what Mattias Desmet says, he believes the state is having more influence and control because this is what people want. They want to be told what to do. They believe the message that the state and various institutions are looking after us and they are willing to give up their freedoms in return. Oliver hasn’t considered that aspect.

    I think Oliver is right about collapse when debt gets too high. This was a factor in the collapse of the Western Roman Empire when it stopped expanding and the economy could not support the state spending.

    There was a problem in Tudor times because of Henry’s spending and debasement of the currency. I understand that Elizabeth restored the currency, I assume by withdrawing all the clipped and base metal coins and replacing them by silver and gold. I don’t know any of the details.

    Oliver talks about cancelling all the debt, but he hasn’t considered the consequences. If the debt is cancelled then the banks will not have the money to pay out savers. The savers will have nothing and the debtors will be better off. Who will own the assets when debt is cancelled? There is no encouragement to save and take responsibility and that is a major problem. It is part of the picture painted by Desmet, people trust the state and experts and want the state to provide for them. The lack of savings might be a bigger problem than the debt.

  • Stillreading

    We know for certain now that apart from the one in March 2020, when no one could know for certain how genuinely lethal was covid-19, successive lock-downs and idiotic mask-wearing (some in my small seaside town are STILL ostentatiously sporting them, even in the streets) were mainly and almost entirely about control. I remember commenting on this blog at the very start, observing how compliant and obedient was almost the entire population, that if any government wished to run an experiment to discover how easy it might be to execise total control over an entire nation, they were rapidly and gratifyingly finding out. Just put literally the fear of death up people and they will do anything to stay alive, then when the habit of total compliance eith restriction of personal liberty has become customary and ingrained, embark upon further controls and restrictions. We are fortunate in England that, thanks to Bungling Boris, we are relatively free. If Whitty et al had their way, we’d all still be cowering behind masks and toddlers would never have seen a complete human face. I believe it is still impossible in Canada to travel on a train or eat in a restaurant or even to LEAVE the country unless you are “fully vaccinated”! This in spite of the now acknowledged sometimes lethal side effects caused by the mRNA “vaccines”. Drakeford in Wales and Sturgeon in Scotland were still mandating masks in public until just a few weeks ago and doubtless would both have dearly loved, power-hungry as they are, to prolong it even further but in view of England’s freedom were in effect forced into releasing their own populations. Arden in NZ completely lost the plot and the conduct of the Police in Australia against anyone suspected of leaving home for almost any reason was deplorable, uncontrolled violence. As for China, the Rulers seem nothing short of insane. One can only suspect that they have some hidden, and as yet unsuspected by the rest of the world, agenda. All this worldwide control of the citizenry of the erstwhile developed world, for something which, were it not for the initial panic, would now be regarded as no more remarkable or life-threatening than a heavy cold, is leading us to a very dark place, where we shall find ourselves ever more restricted. Car ownership will be next, almost certainly, given the unaffordability to most people of electric cars allied to the high cost of fuel for the internal combustion engine. And do the short-sighted idiots who are buying electric cars “because they are cheaper to re-fuel” really think that once all those who wish to have personal transport have been forced, at severe financial sacrifice, into electric vehicles, their refuelling will remain “cheap”? Get real! The tax on electricity – always assuming there is still some after the greenies and Greta have had their say – will go sky high for everyone, regardless of whether it’s for a car or to cook the kids’breakfast, in order to recover what will have been lost on carbon fuels. Your revelation of just how rich and hoping to become richer are those who exert control over us goes towards explaining a lot. Corrall us plebs into our small and getting smaller homes on our increasingly over-populated island, make air travel so stressful and expensive that only the most well off can afford to do it, restrict on “health” grounds what we can eat and drink, tell our children what to think rather than teaching them how to think, so that they grow up giving not a thought to rebellion against the accepted mantra. What’s not to like for the privileged super-rich of the world? Bring on the next pandemic!

  • AThorpe

    In relation to Stillreading’s comments, Prof Ferguson said something along the lines of they didn’t think they would get away with imposing restrictions on us.

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