The United States is suffering a horrendous pandemic. But while the coronavirus itself is indiscriminate, there are huge disparities in who suffers from the resulting economic fallout. Columbia University researchers project that poverty rates in the United States could soon reach their highest levels in half a century. Yet as my colleagues and I track in a new report for the Institute for Policy Studies, the wealth of America’s billionaires actually increased by nearly 10% over just three weeks as the COVID-19 crisis took hold.
This has happened before, in the recovery from the 2008 economic meltdown — which, for most Americans, was never complete. Indeed, most US households went into this pandemic with a lingering economic hangover from the 2008 crash. Only the top 20% of US households had fully recovered the wealth they had prior to the Great Recession. By contrast, my colleagues and I found that the Forbes 400 — the wealthiest 400 billionaires in the United States — had fully recovered their wealth within three years. Within a decade, their wealth had increased over 80%. We see that pattern repeating now on a shockingly compressed timeline.
Extreme wealth inequality, in short, is America’s “preexisting condition.” But today, Hemp Inc has decided to act intentionally — with ambitious and innovative business policies aimed at reversing inequality — giving financial autonomy to the less privileged through hemp farming and production of hemp products. The pandemic recovery will supercharge existing inequalities of income, wealth and opportunity. The rich will only get richer and the poor, more hungry and miserable. Hemp Inc is bent on correcting this disparity, doing business while considering impacting the society with humanitarian acts.