In our 37th episode of the Madness Chronicles, we’ll look at the madness of getting rich during a pandemic. Remember, madness is a state of being mentally ill, severely, extremely foolish behavior, and a form of frenzied or chaotic activity. Let’s take a look at the madness of pandemic profits.
As we begin this journey, keep in mind that businesses worldwide have been shuttered, restaurants closed, and millions of people out of work. With draconian lockdowns the norm, some creative people make gold lemonade from the sour lemons the rest of the world enjoy.
Take Elon Musk, for instance. A young entrepreneur, a billionaire creator of Tesla. You know that fancy electric car with the battery that costs more than most other vehicles. ZeroHedge reports that in the past year, think pandemic, lockdowns, and masks, Musks’ net worth quadrupled to over $100 billion. That’s a lot of money, no matter how you say it. Pretty impressive, wouldn’t you say?
Well, just like everything in 2020, this seems a bit off. While Tesla proves, ‘profitable’ a peak under the covers shows a strange 2020 story. From 2010 to 2020, while reporting ‘profits,’ Tesla has accumulated a staggering debt of $5.6 billion. But wait, weren’t there profits at Tesla? Of course, but it seems they come in the form of selling’ regulatory credits’. Which netted them a cool $397 million last year. So their profits came from ‘regulatory credits’ not selling new Tesla’s.
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Purely speculation on my part, but Musk is using the same accounting firm that Dr. Tony Fauci and the CDC use to calculate Wuhan virus deaths. I wonder how you get in on selling’ regulatory credits’? Nonetheless, Elon Musk is now the second richest man in the world to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
Speaking of Bezos, Forbes reports that since the pandemic began, Bezos’ fortunes have increased to over $230 billion, rising over $90 billion in the year of the pandemic. Keep in mind that is billion with a B. Other billionaires weren’t as fortunate. Take Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist, and self-proclaimed vaccine guru, Bill Gates. Their wealth jumped a paltry 20%, putting his net worth at $118 billion since March. The deer in the headlights Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg did much better than Gates with an 85% gain to $101.2 billion.
Overall the United States is home to 644 billionaires. The market must be as fickle as the virus itself because these billionaires’ wealth rose nearly $1 trillion. That puts these 644 individuals now worth $3.88 trillion. That would be with a T. During the pandemic their fortunes rose by an astounding $934 billion. The $3.88 trillion wealth of these 644 ordinary folks is nearly double the $2.1 trillion worth of the bottom 50% of our country’s population, whose net worth wasn’t growing.
Pandemics, it turns out, are funny things. According to the CDC, this would be the third pandemic in my lifetime. I had no idea the first two happened, and here we have this one where you can catch it if you go to church but not if you go to Walmart. The damn thing must impact the financial fortunes the same way. The small sliver of unmeasurable billionaires gains a fortune. At the same time, 50% of the rest are left sitting at the traffic light. Strange times this 2020 has been.
May we wake from this madness before it’s too late. I wish you good health, and until next time, have fun, enjoy life, and watch out for the madness amongst us. It’s 2020, and it’s getting out of hand.