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COVID Pandemic Created New Billionaire Every 30 Hours, Reveals Oxfam Report

CC BY 2.0 / Jernej Furman / US Dollars and a face maskUS Dollars and a face mask
US Dollars and a face mask - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.05.2022
Earlier in January this year, Oxfam International observed that the wealth of world’s 10 richest people doubled from $700 billion to $1.5 trillion —at a rate of $15,000 per second or $1.3 billion a day— during the first two years of COVID-19 pandemic.
An Oxfam International report on Monday revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has seen one new billionaire emerging every 30 hours, while nearly one million people could be pushed into extreme poverty every 33 hours this year.
The report showed that 573 people became billionaires during the pandemic, at the rate of one person every 30 hours.
Releasing a report titled 'Profiting from Pain' in Davos, the rights group further said that the cost of essential goods is rising faster than it has in decades, while billionaires in the food and energy industries are increasing their fortunes by $1 billion every two days.
The report of the International Charity NGO also observed that now one million people could fall into extreme poverty at the same pace.
“We expect 263 million people to sink into extreme poverty this year, at a rate of one million every 33 hours, as soaring inflation has added a cost-of-living crisis on top of COVID-19,” Oxfam said in a statement.
Oxfam International Executive Director Gabriela Bucher said: “Billionaires are arriving in Davos to celebrate an incredible surge in their fortunes. The pandemic and now the steep increase in food and energy prices have, simply put, been a bonanza for them.”
“Meanwhile, decades of progress [in eradicating] extreme poverty are now in reverse and millions of people are facing impossible rises in the cost of simply staying alive,” Bucher added.
Citing the reasons behind the increase in the numbers of billionaires, Bucher said that it is not that the billionaires have worked harder or are smarter, rather the workers are working harder, for less pay and in worse conditions.
“The super-rich have rigged the system with impunity for decades and they are now reaping the benefits. They have seized a shocking amount of the world’s wealth as a result of privatisation and monopolies, gutting regulation and workers’ rights while stashing their cash in tax havens — all with the complicity of governments,” the Oxfam Executive Director said.
To support people facing soaring prices as well as fund a “fair and sustainable recovery” from COVID-19, the International Charity NGO called for a one-off "solidarity tax" on billionaires' pandemic windfalls.
“Argentina adopted a one-off special levy dubbed the ‘millionaire’s tax’ and is now considering introducing a windfall tax on energy profits as well as a tax on undeclared assets held overseas to repay IMF debt. The super-rich have stashed nearly $8 trillion in tax havens,” Oxfam said.
In order to end crisis profiteering, it said that a temporary excess profit tax of 90 percent should be introduced to capture the windfall profits of big corporations across all industries.
According to an Oxfam estimate, such a tax on just 32 super-profitable multinational companies could have generated $104 billion in revenue in 2020.
It also advocated of introducing permanent wealth taxes to rein in extreme wealth and monopoly power, as well as the outsized carbon emissions of the super-rich.
An annual wealth tax on millionaires starting at just 2 percent, and 5 percent on billionaires, could generate $2.52 trillion a year —enough to lift 2.3 billion people out of poverty, make enough vaccines for the world, and deliver universal healthcare and social protection for everyone living in low- and lower middle-income countries, it added.
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