The United States is suffering a horrendous pandemic. But while the coronavirus itself is indiscriminate, there are huge disparities in who suffers from the resulting economic fallout.
Columbia University researchers project that poverty rates in the United States could soon reach their highest levels in half a century. Yet as my colleagues and I track in a new report for the Institute for Policy Studies, the wealth of America’s billionaires actually increased by nearly 10% over just three weeks as the COVID-19 crisis took hold.
Extreme wealth inequality, in short, is America’s “preexisting condition.” And unless we act intentionally — with ambitious public policies aimed at reversing inequality — the pandemic recovery will supercharge our existing inequalities of income, wealth and opportunity.