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10/13/2020 | Holding Wall Street Accountable

Pandemic Profiteers: Under Trump Michigan Billionaire Wealth Soars, Local Communities Suffer

While communities across Michigan have been ravaged by the health and economic crises created by Trump’s botched COVID-19 response, the state’s billionaires have actually increased their collective wealth since the start of the pandemic.

    Since confirming the state’s first case on March 10th, over 122,000 Michiganders have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and nearly 7,000 people have died. The State’s pre-pandemic unemployment rate was just 2.1%, but as of August 15th it stood at 10.7% and went as high as 24% in April.

    Michigan’s Black communities have been hit the hardest. The results of years of divestment and systemic racism coupled with COVID-19 have been brutal. In the second quarter of 2020, Michigan had the highest Black unemployment rate of any US state, a staggering 35.5%. This job loss was against the backdrop of the pandemic, which has also hit Michigan’s Black communities hardest. Despite making up 14% of the state's population, Black community members represent over 40% of Michigan’s COVID deaths.

    Meanwhile, five of Michigan’s eight billionaires saw their net worth surge by an estimated $43.6 billion, a 360% increase, since the beginning of the pandemic. Two of Michigan’s billionaires with some of the largest increases in their wealth are well connected to the Trump Administration. Recent revelations about Trump’s decades-long tax avoidance schemes put his economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic and his 2017 tax cuts for the wealthy into perspective: He is aligned with and caters to the interests of the ultrarich, not struggling communities. Download the brief to learn more.