Elon Musk, the world’s richest person, alone gained nearly $118 billion in just the last 12 months. Meanwhile, the United Nations estimated 150 million people fell into poverty in 2021.
Other big gainers in the billionaire bunch: Luxury goods magnate Bernard Arnault (up $62.7 billion) and Google buddies Larry Page and Sergey Brin (up $47 billion and $45 billion, respectively). Mark Zuckerberg’s year was the stuff of tech titan nightmares, but he’s still about $25 billion richer for it.
The S&P 500 gained nearly 27% last year, while the Dow gained about 19% and the Nasdaq ended the year up 21%.
Valuations on other assets such as cryptocurrencies, commodities and property also soared, further bolstering the uber-wealthy’s coffers.
Democrats argue that billionaires’ windfall alone over the past two years would be enough to pay for President Joe Biden’s social infrastructure plan. But the billionaire tax legislation was dead on arrival this fall when Senator Joe Manchin voiced concerns about penalizing “people in the stratosphere.”