Seventeen of the top 25 most profitable US corporations including Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Facebook, Pfizer, and Visa, are expected to make almost $85 billion more in 2020 than in previous years amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new study of Oxfam.
The study titled "Pandemic Profiteers Exposed", published on July 22, revealed that the dramatic profit of these corporations owned by mostly "white male shareholders" is further exacerbating existing inequalities.
Oxfam called for a resurrection of the WWII-era excess profits tax to limit pandemic price-gouging, level the playing field between companies, and raise much needed funds for Covid-19 relief and recovery.
"The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed deep inequalities and massive failures in our economic system, leaving tens of millions of people in the United States without jobs, devastating public services, and bankrupting countless small businesses," said Irit Tamir, director of the private sector department at Oxfam America.
"Yet at the same time, thanks to a combination of government assistance and pure luck, a handful of corporations are raking it in and making already rich shareholders even richer," he added.
While these profits could have been invested in protecting workers and in innovation, Oxfam found that in 2020 the top 25 most profitable US corporations are set to distribute 99 people of net profits to shareholders.
The organisation also found that more than 9 out of every 10 dollars of excess pandemic profits are likely to end up in the hands of white Americans, with only 32 cents for Black and Latino communities.
It called for policy makers to institute a Pandemic Profit Tax on excess corporate profits during this crisis to level the playing field and prevent super-profitable corporations from manipulating their position of strength.