From the Institute for Policy Studies
America’s 20 wealthiest people, a group that could fit comfortably in one single Gulfstream G650 luxury jet, now own more wealth than the bottom half of the American population combined, a total of 152 million people in 57 million households.
This is one of the many eye-popping findings of a new report, Billionaire Bonanza: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us, released by the Institute for Policy Studies.
“This updraft of wealth flowing to the ultra-wealthy is a clear and present danger to our democracy and national well-being,” said Chuck Collins, senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-author of the report with Josh Hoxie.
The report outlines the staggering gap between the wealthiest individuals atop the Forbes 400 and the rest of America. Some key findings from the report include:
- The Forbes 400 now own about as much wealth as the nation’s entire African-American population, plus more than a third of the Latino population, combined.
- The wealthiest 100 households now own about as much wealth as the entire African-American population in the United States. Among the Forbes 400, just 2 individuals are African American, Oprah Winfrey and Robert Smith.
- The wealthiest 186 members of the Forbes 400 own as much wealth as the entire Latino population. Just five members of the Forbes 400 are Latino including Jorge Perez, Arturo Moreno, and three members of the Santo Domingo family.
- With a combined worth of $2.34 trillion, the Forbes 400 own more wealth than the bottom 61 percent of the country combined, a staggering 194 million people.
- The median American family has a net worth of $81,000. The Forbes 400 own more wealth than 36 million of these typical American families. That’s as many households in the United States that own cats.
The report also proposes several solutions to close the growing gap between the ultra wealthy and the rest of the country. These policies include closing offshore tax havens and billionaire loopholes in the tax code that the wealthy exploit to hide their wealth.
“Our report underscores the need for a direct tax on wealth to slow and reverse these dangerous concentrations of wealth,” said Josh Hoxie, co-author of the report.
The report is available at www.ips-dc.org/billionaire-bonanza/