It’s worth delaying breakfast when you open up your computer to stories such as this one from CNBC:
The 400 richest Americans are now worth a combined $2 trillion, according to Forbes.
That sets a record, Forbes said, and marks a jump from last year’s total of $1.7 trillion.
The average net worth of a Forbes 400 member is now $5 billion—also the highest ever. And the costs of being part of the 400 Club rose to $1.3 billion.
But it’s the $2 trillion number that remains the most interesting. The 400 richest are now worth more than the GDPs of many nations—and they are worth more than most governments spend or tax.
The Economist September 14 edition has a round-up of financial news with this tidbit posted as its sixth item, showing the lack of importance of the declining incomes of the non-wealthy to the financial press:
An ongoing study of income distribution found that the richest 1% in America took 19% of national income last year, their biggest share since 1928. The top 10% of earners held a record 48.2%. During the recovery between 2009 and 2012 real family incomes rose by an average of 4.6%, though this was skewed by a 31.4% increase for the top 1%. For the other 99% incomes rose by just 0.4%.
Let’s repeat that last sentence: “For the other 99% [of Americans] incomes rose by just 0.4%.”
Now, let’s return to the CNBC article that “puts in perspective” what the richest 400 Americans are worth:
- $2 trillion is more than the combined net worth of half of all Americans. The bottom half, of course.
- $2 trillion is more than the annual GDP of Italy, Mexico or Canada.
- $2 trillion is equal to the Federal Reserve’s holdings of publicly traded U.S. Treasurys.
- $2 trillion is the estimated size of the underground economy, mostly unreported income.
- $2 trillion would fund all government spending through July of this year.
- $2 trillion is equal to about two-thirds of all taxes to be collected in the U.S. for 2013.
- $2 trillion would pay for all of the existing home sales in the U.S. in 2012 and 2013 year-to-date.
“Austerity” for the rich would be the best idea to implement as a public policy as you can see from these CNBC statistics. But instead, we have a Congress and White House ready to impose “austerity” on the other 99% of US citizens, even though their income is basically flat. Meanwhile, the wealth of the wealthiest continues to soar.
Anybody feeling any trickle down dollars out there?
It’s only raining money and jewels and bonds and dividends on the top 1%.
And they aren’t pulling out their umbrellas; they are stashing their money overseas and moving their factories to slave wage workforces in other nations.
Isn’t this the kind of arrogance, exploitation and gluttony that kindled the French Revolution?