Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., lashed out at America’s richest individuals and families on Wednesday, some of whom he said had accumulated vast amounts of wealth as many Americans suffer severe financial setbacks due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sanders wrote in a Twitter post that Tesla CEO Elon Musk had made $111 billion during the pandemic, while Amazon’s Jeff Bezos had made $78 billion and the Walton family – which controls Walmart – made $66 billion. At the same time, the independent senator said “tens of millions” of families face “economic desperation.”
Data put out by Bloomberg this week showed that Musk overtook Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as the world’s second-richest person, second only to Bezos.
Sanders, who is a self-described democratic socialist, has made no secret that he believes the rich should pay more in taxes. He proposed a wealth tax to break up family fortunes, too.
The former U.S. Labor Secretary under President Bill Clinton, Robert Reich, made similar comments on Twitter Wednesday, criticizing a system that allows Bezos to grow his wealth by $66 billion over five months, while 40 million Americans face eviction.
Behind Bezos, Musk and Gates, Bloomberg ranked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as the world’s fourth richest person, followed by LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
The U.S. unemployment rate in October was 6.9%, and included about 3.7 million job losses that are expected to be permanent.
Some workers are bracing for another wave of coronavirus-related job changes – as an uptick in new cases has resulted in the imposition of renewed restrictions in places like Los Angeles, where outdoor, in-person dining is set to be banned starting on Wednesday night.