$50 billion made over the course of 198 days amounts to approximately $252.5 million made every day. Which equals around $10.5 million per hour, or $175,364.75 per minute, or $2,922.74 per second.
Assuming the above two paragraphs took you 20 seconds to read, that means Jeff Bezos made $58,454 since you clicked on this article. 2015 data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that median income for the average American household is $56,516. Jeff Bezos made more that that since you started reading this article.
The source of Bezos’ wealth is his shares of Amazon stock, which is currently trading at just over $1,843 per share as of 3 PM Eastern Time on Wednesday. Jeff Bezos’ net worth hit the $150 billion mark thanks to “Prime Day,” a 36-hour summer sales event on Amazon that conveniently happened at the same time as thousands of Amazon employees in Europe went on strike to protest low wages and poor working conditions and others around the world were boycotting the online sales giant on solidarity with striking workers.
Despite his astronomical wealth, and officially becoming the richest person in the world since at least 1982, Bezos is planning on blasting the bulk of his money into space. In a May interview with Business Insider, Jeff Bezos announced the creation of a company called Blue Origin, which he aims to use to put human beings into space to eventually colonize other planets.
However, if he chose to, the Amazon chief could use $130 billion of his wealth to provide all 566,000 Amazon employees with a $23,000/year pay raise over the next decade while still keeping $20 billion for himself. Or he could build $200,000 homes for all 554,000 homeless people in the United States while still having $39 billion to his name. Bezos could also provide nearly 5.9 million full-ride, four-year scholarships at public universities — assuming the average public university college tuition of $25,290 per year — while still being a billionaire.
If, hypothetically, all federal campaign donation limits were abolished, and Bezos used his wealth to purchase Congress to do his bidding, he could do so for a paltry $1.1 billion per two-year cycle, according to the sum total all U.S. House and Senate candidates raised in the 2015-2016 cycle. This means that Jeff Bezos could use his net worth to singlehandedly fund all federal candidates’ campaigns for the remainder of his lifetime.
Regardless of how you slice it, Jeff Bezos has won the wealth acquisition game. The morally responsible choice would be for him to use that money to fairly compensate his workers, solve homelessness, pay for cancer treatment for low-income patients, or any combination of the above proposals. It remains to be seen what he’ll do with his wealth aside from investing in space travel.
Logan Espinoza is a freelance contributor specializing in economic issues. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and daughter. Contact him at logan DOT espinoza AT yahoo DOT com.