While Russian billionaires have been the focus of attention due to the ongoing fighting in Ukraine and the ensuing sanctions against Russian individuals and entities, their counterparts in the United States have accumulated an additional $1.7 trillion of net worth since the start of the pandemic two years ago. This marks an increase of 57 percent compared to March 2020 data from Forbes aggregated by U.S.-based organization Americans For Tax Fairness (ATF). As our chart shows, four of the six biggest earners are Big Tech CEOs.
Sitting on top of this specific bracket are Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Microsoft's Bill Gates with $165 billion and $130 billion, respectively. Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin claim ranks five and six with $114 billion and $109 billion, respectively, while head of the multinational conglomerate Berkshire-Hathaway, Warren Buffett stands at a net worth of $118 billion as of March 10, 2022. Arguably the biggest success story is Elon Musk's rise to riches over the course of the last 24 months. Tesla's CEO increased his net worth by 851 percent from $24.6 billion to $234 billion owing largely to the success of his company stock despite the auto maker having to rely on carbon credits to generate net income up until 2021.
While numbers this big might be hard to grasp, ATF compiled some comparisons to put this development into perspective. President Biden's Build Back Better plan, for example, is estimated to cost $2 trillion over the next ten years. The net worth gain of every U.S. billionaire combined over the last two years could finance a majority of the ambitious plan without the profiteers becoming any poorer in the process. The immense wealth disparity is also evident when comparing the U.S.' 704 billionaires with the 65 million households making up the bottom half of U.S. society in terms of income. The latter's combined net worth clocks in at around $3.4 trillion, that of the billionaire class adds up to $4.6 trillion.