- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 18, 2020

Thanks to COVID-19 shutdowns, America’s middle class may be suffering — American small business owners may be gasping for last breaths, limping on their last legs — but the billionaire class is making out like a bandit.

“America’s billionaires saw their wealth increase by 20%, or $584 billion, roughly since the beginning of the pandemic,” according to a new joint study by Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies’ Program on Inequality.

Well, bully for them.

In this corner, stand 45.7 million Americans busily filing for unemployment. In that corner, stands — Bill Gates, one of the leading voices to shut down the U.S. and world economies for coronavirus-related reasons, who grew his $98 billion March net worth to a $109 billion June net worth.

That’s an 11-plus percentage growth — or, more than $11 billion. In three months.

Economic shutdowns are good for billionaires, it seems.

Joining Gates in his corner of luxury, according to this study, are Jeff Bezos, who saw his March net worth of $113 billion jump by almost 38% in three months, to nearly $157 billion in June; Mark Zuckerberg, who grew his almost $55 billion in March to almost $87 billion in June — for a dramatic near-59% hike in revenues; Warren Buffett, who came out of March with almost $68 billion but entered June with nearly $72 billion; and Larry Ellison, who grew his March net worth of $59 billion by 17% to $69 billion by June.

And they’re not the only ones.

The study found that an estimated 600 billionaires, in three months’ time, increased their bottom lines more than the total amounts governors around the nation say they need to keep their services going for citizens — for all of America’s 330 million or so citizens, that is.

That’s a lot of cash.

ATF’s Executive Director Frank Clemente painted the situation as one of income disparity, and said in a written release, “If this pandemic reveals anything, it’s how unequal our society has become and how drastically it must change.”

And IPSPI director Chuck Collins said this: “The surge in billionaire wealth and pandemic profiteering undermines the unity and solidarity that the American people will require to recover and grow together, not pull further apart.”

But the real interest here is not how much money billionaires can make, but rather, how frequently Democrats and their left-leaning friends in the funding world always pretend to hate capitalism, frequently speak of the evils of capitalism, often agree with those who want to replace capitalism with some other so-called fairer, socially just system — all the while earning billions and billions off the very system they say they hate.

“Campaign finance records show that Bezos has mostly given to Democratic candidates for federal and state office,” The Washington Post reported in 2013.

Then there’s this, from ThoughtCo.Com in 2019: “Zuckerberg is a major contributor to Facebook’s political action committee, called Facebook Inc. PAC,” which has historically donated to both parties’ candidates, an edge given to Republicans. But: “Zuckerberg did, however, give his largest one-time donation to the Democratic Party in San Francisco when he cut a check for $10,000,” ThoughtCo.com wrote.

Then there’s this, from Reuters, a headline from February: “Warren Buffett says ‘I’m a Democrat,’ and would have ‘no trouble’ voting for Bloomberg.”

Ellison is a Trump supporter — now. But he used to be a Bill Clinton supporter.

“He was backing Democrats like Harry Reid as recently as 2013,” Vox wrote in February. “In 2015, he hosted Barack Obama at … golf. Ellison didn’t even donate to Trump in 2016. (He was a major donor to a Super PAC backing Sen. Marco Rubio in the Republican presidential primary.)”

If anything can be drawn from billionaires’ political contributions, it’s maybe this: They go where the winds blow, in deference to what might best bolster their own businesses’ bottom lines.

That’s fine.

That’s capitalism and free market and First Amendment fine.

If only Democrats and the anti-capitalism socialists who’ve taken over the Democratic Party would allow the rest in America the same ability. Americans just want to get back to work; Americans want the same chance to earn money and grow wealth as the billionaires.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.

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