Bill Gates Now Owns the Most Farmland in the U.S., Increases Wealth
Researchers from The Land Report indicated that Bill Gates, and his wife Melinda, own 242,000 acres of farmland.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation attribute their decision to invest in land and agriculture to their interest in reducing poverty as well as encouraging sustainability.
“We invest in this sector because economic growth that focuses on agriculture and that increases the incomes of smallholder farmers is particularly effective in reducing poverty, more so than investments in other sectors,” their website reads.
In addition to this, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has developed a new non-profit called Gates Ag One, whose goal is to “speed up efforts to provide smallholder farmers in developing countries, many of whom are women, with access to the affordable tools and innovations they need to sustainably improve crop productivity and adapt to the effects of climate change.”
This is another development that shows billionaires are increasing their assets while Americans continue to struggle financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Institute for Policy Studies released a report that emphasized the importance in addressing these issues.
“In this report, we show how billionaire wealth has grown astoundingly over the last few decades — and, for some “pandemic profiteers,” even more dramatically since the COVID-19 crisis — even as billionaire tax obligations have plummeted,” the report said.
“If this inequality isn’t treated with both short and long-term tax reforms and oversight, America’s “pre-existing condition” of extreme inequality could overwhelm not only our economy, but our democracy itself.”
Unemployment in the U.S. from April to May 2020 reached higher than 14 percent.
“Between March 18 and April 10, 2020, over 22 million people lost their jobs as the unemployment rate surged toward 15 percent. Over the same three weeks, U.S. billionaire wealth increased by $282 billion, an almost 10 percent gain,” The Institute for Policy Studies said.
In addition, Gates’ billionaire contemporaries also significantly increased their net worths during the pandemic.
As of Mar. 18, 2020, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, had an estimated net worth of $113 billion. On Dec. 21, 2020, his estimated net worth was $187 billion, which marks a 65 percent increase.
The statistics for Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, show an even greater margin of increase. On Mar. 18, 2020, Musk had an estimated net worth of 25 billion, which increased to $154 billion by Dec. 2020. That is a 524 percent increase.
Some have estimated that in total, the U.S. billionaire class has increased their wealth by upwards of 600 billion since the start of the pandemic.
The Institute for Policy Studies laid out some actions that could be taken to address the disparity between the majority of people in the U.S. and the billionaire class.
Some of their recommendations include establishing “a Pandemic Profiteering Oversight Committee that goes beyond oversight of stimulus funds,” as well as making the federal estate tax more progressive in addition to instituting a wealth tax.