I'll take you down the only road I've ever been do
Eight of Connecticut’s 14 billionaires have seen their wealth increase amid the coronavirus pandemic even as 400,000 people in the state lost jobs, according to a report by a consortium of advocacy groups based on Forbes estimates.
The wealth analysis by the political advocacy groups Americans For Tax Fairness, Health Care for America Now and the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, compares data from Forbes World’s Billionaires List and Forbes real time billionaires estimates between March 18 and June 17 of this year.
The data shows four Connecticut billionaires — investment manager Mario Gabelli, and heirs Karen Pritzker, Alexandra Daitch and Lucy Stitzer — saw their wealth grow by 11.9 percent to 20.5 percent. Bradley Jacobs, the chairman and CEO of Greenwich-based XPO Logistics, a supply chain management company, increased his wealth by more than 42 percent, the database shows.
The report includes data on billionaires in all states, including President Donald Trump, whose $2.1 billion fortune is said to have decreased by about 1 percent this spring. In all, the compilation shows a wealth gain of $536 billion, or 18 percent, for more than 600 U.S. billionaires.
The gains are estimates by Forbes, which bases its figures on publicly available data and its own reporting.
In some ways the gains are not surprising, as the period aligned almost exactly with the recovery of battered stock markets. Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up by 31 percent during the period the groups examined.
Steve Cohen, founder of the hedge fund Point72 Asset Management, grew his wealth by $79 million (about half a percent of his overall wealth), and Vincent McMahon, chairman and CEO of Stamford-based WWE, is now worth an estimated $1.98 billion, a nearly 10 percent increase.
McMahon also jointly owned the XFL football league, which folded and declared bankruptcy after the inaugural season was cut short due to the global health pandemic.
Connecticut’s wealthiest resident, Ray Dalio, founder of the Westport-based hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, saw his wealth unchanged at $18 billion, the report showed.
Pratt, at the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, attributed the wealth increases to “inequitable and unfair tax structures that give billions and billions of dollars to the 1 percent and the wealthiest in this country and continues to impact jobs, funding, schools, infrastructure, livelihoods for so many people, healthcare.”
The groups are pushing for more progressive tax structures, as well as the passage of the HEROES Act, a $3 trillion COVID response plan that passed the House of Representatives in May, but was declared “dead on arrival” in the U.S. Senate according to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.
Pratt said the HEROES Act would provide $7.1 billion in direct aid to Connecticut’s state government, $4.8 billion would be distributed to municipal governments, $1.9 billion would go to federal Medicaid funding and $800 million would fund public schools in the state.
“This report is a stark reminder of the level of inequality in Connecticut. It also makes clear that any austerity arguments are disingenuous when the legislature begins to grapple with Connecticut’s legacy of white supremacy and looming budget challenges,” said Tom Swan, CCAG executive director, in a written statement.
Advocates say the growing fortunes of the state's billionaires, shown by Forbes reporting in the coronavirus crisis, reflects larger economic and social disparities.
And the rich get richer.