The Bloomberg Rogue’s Gallery Billionaire’s Index
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
It’s a daily index of the world’s 500 richest individuals, Bloomberg saying their net worth is “updated at the close of every trading day” on Wall Street.
The latest figures are as of December 28, nearly year end 2017. Collectively, the richest billionaires never had things better, becoming $1 trillion richer in 2017, fourfold last year’s gain – a 23% increase in the past 12 months.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos gained most, his wealth increasing by $34.2 trillion to an obscene $100 billion.
Bill Gates (No. 2) and Warren Buffett (No. 3) ranked right behind him. Other well-known figures include Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg (No. 5), Charles and David Koch (co-Nos. 13 and 14), three Walton family members (co-Nos. 14, 15, and 16), Rupert Murdoch (No. 89), Google’s Eric Schmidt (No. 98), George Soros (way-underestimated at No. 198), and Ross Perot (No. 475).
Michael Bloomberg wasn’t on his own index. Forbes estimates his net worth at $49 billion as of near-year end 2017.
The 500 billionaires comprising Bloomberg’s index have a combined net worth of $5.3 trillion, up from $4.4 trillion last year.
Today’s super-rich have more concentrated wealth than any time since America’s Gilded Age of robber barons.
A Credit Suisse report found that the world’s richest 1% controls over half the world’s wealth at about $140 trillion, more than sevenfold current US GDP – the figure likely way-underestimated to prevent it looking even more obscene.
The world’s 3.5 billion poorest individuals have little or nothing, struggling daily to survive.
A previous article discussed outrageous wealth disparity in America, a study showing the nation’s 400 richest individuals with more total wealth than the bottom 64%.
America’s three richest billionaires are wealthier than the bottom 50%. The bottom 1% of Americans have a negative net worth of $196 billion. The top 1% have a combined net worth of $33.4 trillion.
Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet own more wealth than 63 million US households – 160 million people.
America’s wealthiest billionaires are as rich as 70 million US households – 178 million people.
Billionaires comprising Forbes’ 400 have more wealth than 64% of the US population – 204 million people.
One-fifth of US households have zero or negative net worth. Over 30% of Black households and 27% of Latino ones have no wealth or they’re underwater.
Wealth estimates likely way-understate the true level of concentrated wealth with so much of it offshored in tax havens or hidden in legal trusts.
Super-rich individuals have lawyers and accountants to shelter their wealth, enabling them to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
The great GOP tax cut heist assures increasing inequality further, a bonanza for corporate predators and the super-rich, nightmarish for America’s most disadvantaged with planned cuts in vital social programs coming.
Former US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said “(w)e can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”