Since the start of the COVID pandemic, the billionaires in California have seen their wealth soar – by more than 45 percent – as millions of residents are in desperate poverty and the state faces a massive budget deficit, a new study shows.
The study, which ought to be the center of all political discussion in the state this fall, shows that the wealth of the richest 161 Californians increased by seven times the size of the state budget shortfall for 2020 and 2021.
The top billionaires saw their wealth increase by $312 billion since March, while almost 9 million Californians lost their jobs, 14,000 businesses closed, and 14 million families lacked enough food for their kids.
It’s mind-boggling. And so far, Gov. Gavin Newsom has refused to push for increased taxes on the very rich.
Check out the data here. It’s enough to make you sick. Mark Zuckerberg made $46 billion while people died and homelessness careened out of control. Elon Musk is $68 billion richer while COVID spreads through his factories.
One in six renters in California can’t afford their housing payments.
“California billionaires make money hand over fist, while Californians are struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads,” said Sasha Graham, state board chair of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.
“For a just recovery, it’s time for billionaires to pay their fair share so that there is the monthly financial help, rent forgiveness and other supports we need in order for families to get back on their feet.”
And there is a vast pool of money to fund it. But nobody in state government seems to want to talk about it.