Three billionaires richer than half the United States population together


Wealth share by wealth decile in the USA. Credit: People’s Policy Project

By Eric London in the USA:

Three billionaires are wealthier than half the US population

10 November 2017

According to a report published Wednesday by the Institute for Policy Studies, the three richest Americans—Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett—now own more wealth than the poorest half of the US population, some 160 million people.

America’s “60 families,” whose massive wealth was documented in journalist Ferdinand Lundberg’s 1937 exposure, have been replaced by just three billionaires whose combined wealth is over $264 billion.

The Institute for Policy Studies report, “Billionaire Bonanza: The Forbes 400 and the rest of us,” reveals that the richest 25 Americans are wealthier than the bottom 56 percent of the US. The net worth of the 400 richest is roughly equal to that of the bottom two thirds of the country, a total of 200 million people. According to the report’s authors, the US has become “a hereditary aristocracy of wealth and power.”

The unprecedented concentration of wealth is an international phenomenon. Oxfam reported in June 2017 that the world’s 5 richest people own as much as the poorest half of the world’s population, down from 80 people in 2015. Today, each of the top 5 billionaires owns as much as 750 million people, more than the total population of Latin America and double the population of the US.

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