Sep 25 2011
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Forbes' Richest Americans
25 September 2011
As unemployment in the United States remained stubbornly over 9 per cent, the rich got richer - except of course for Warren Buffett who lost $6-billion, according to Forbes List of 400 Richest Americans.
Altogether the Forbes 400 got 12% richer over the past year, with Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg leading the gainers with a whopping $11 billion. At the same American poverty surged to new levels. More than 46 million Americans lived in poverty in 2010 and the average American household income is $49,445 in 2010, two per cent below the year before.
The list comes at a time when U.S. President Barack Obama has been fighting hard to slap a higher tax bill on American millionaires, but Congress argues that higher taxes will discourage millionaire 'job creators' from hiring people. It is also important to note that since 1995 taxes on individuals in the highest tax bracket in the U.S. has fallen... even as unemployment figures have ramped up, which runs counter to the Republican argument.
As the rich got richer last year, the wheels came of the American economy. For many, the American dream is broken.
"Our Statue of Liberty proclaimed "give us your tired, your poor..." and sent many of them West to build a little house on the prairie or strike it rich in the goldfields of Sacramento, California or Skagway, Alaska. Many of them did and a century later, the option-laden fields of Silicon Valley provided modern-day examples of rags to riches fairytales come true. But this odd couple marriage of rich (and poor hoping to be rich), now seems on rather shaky ground. Instead of boundless opportunity, the nursery rhyme describing Jack Sprat - who could eat no fat - and his wife - who could eat no lean - appears to be the starker of the two realities. There are the poor and there are the very rich, with the shrinking middle class resembling Mr. Sprat rather than his wife."
Gross says that during this country's recent economic "recovery," real corporate profits increased by four times the amount of working wages in dollar terms, and, as the chart below shows, are 50% higher than at the turn of the century while wages remain relatively unchanged, something that has not occurred since this country's nuptials were concluded over three centuries ago...
Obama hopes to address these gaps by implementing the Buffett Rule - which basically states that millionaires should pay the same tax rate if not more than their non-millionaire compatriots. The name came about after the Berkshire Hathaway chief said it was ridiculous that he paid a lower tax rate than his secretary.
So who was at the top of the heap in Forbes Richest American list?
Bill Gates retained his position as the richest man in America with $59 billion - not bad for a man who hasn't done anything for the past year or so - in a work sense that is. Of course he has been active with his charity, which is a work of a much higher calling than fixing Windows bugs.
Even though he lost $6-billion, a 'poorer' Warren Buffett still managed to earn $39 billion - still quite a distance from his bridge buddy Gates. He is now the second richest man in the world. Having said that, nobody in the Forbes list lost as much money as he did.
Oracle chief Larry Ellison was the third richest man in America with $33-billion.
Brothers David & Charles Koch of Koch Industries are fourth and fifth richest with $25-billion. Koch Industries is involved in commodity trading, petrochemicals, ranching, polymers and fertilizers.
Christy Walton & Family, the powerful family behind retail giant Wal-Mart is at sixth with $24.5 billion.
George Soros, investing superstar, has managed to break into the top 10, with $22-billion, no doubt making bets against the falling market.
With $21.5 billion casino magnet Sheldon Adelson is eighth richest American.
Jim Walton, another Wal-Mart beneficiary, is ninth $21.1 billion, while Alice Walton is tenth with $20.9 billion. Together the Waltons are worth $66.5-billion.
© alifarabia.com 2011
© Copyright Zawya. All Rights Reserved.
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