While the Coronavirus, still on the rise in many U.S. states, has had devastating public health effects, necessary business shutdowns have also left many out of work and struggling financially. However, the effects of the stifled economy have not fallen evenly.
While many are scrambling for jobs or wondering about the next round of stimulus checks, Jeff Bezos is doing better than ever. Bloomberg Billionaire Index recently announced the Amazon CEO has set a new wealth record, surpassing the previous one he held before his divorce with ex-wife Mackenzie.
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Bezos is now reportedly worth $172 billion. Much of this wealth is tied to Amazon, of which Bezos owns roughly 57 million shares (about 12% of the company). While most businesses are struggling amidst the pandemic, Amazon has actually seen its stock soar 56% this year, as many consumers have been forced to shop exclusively online during the quarantine.
Bezos’ staggering bank account numbers raise questions about income inequality and excessive wealth, especially at a time when many are struggling more than ever. Amazon, which has also been criticized for its employee safety and pay wages, says it will give out over $500 million in bonuses to frontline workers, as it recently eliminated a $2 hourly wage bump and double overtime pay for these employees.