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July 10, 2005
It's Good To Be Rich

Sept, 2004

The Forbes 400, Top Ten:

1. $48 billion Gates, William Henry III
2. $41.0 Buffett, Warren Edward
3. $20.0 Allen, Paul Gardner
4. $18.0 Walton, Alice L
4. $18.0 Walton, Helen R
4. $18.0 Walton, Jim C
4. $18.0 Walton, John T
4. $18.0 Walton, S Robson
9. $14.2 Dell, Michael
10. $13.7 Ellison, Lawrence Joseph

The Walton name appears five times in the list of the ten wealthiest. That's ninety-billion dollars.

And yet the company insists it can't stay in business if it pays its employees a living wage, or provides healthcare benefits.

The economy's recovery may be a little shaky, but you wouldn't know it from looking at this year's Forbes 400. In this, Forbes' 23rd annual ranking of the 400 richest people in America, the combined net worth of the nation's wealthiest climbed to $1 trillion, up $45 billion in 12 months.

$45 billion. In one year. Coincidentally, $45 billion is only $9 billion less than what it costs us to wage war in Iraq for a year, isn't it?

We'll assume coincidence.

But what about the Bush Administration? How has their war, and the above-mentioned economic slow-down, affected richest of the rich?

If you're familiar with America's 15 richest people, it's probably because most of them have been rich for a long time. All appeared on The Forbes Four Hundred Richest in America list ten years ago, although it took some of them a few years to move to the highest plateau. (Michael Dell dropped out of the 400s altogether after his company's stock plunged in 1993. He was back the following year.) But all of them eventually saw their fortunes explode: This year's top 15 had a total net worth of $211.5 billion, compared with their combined $28 billion in 2001.

Reviewing how many of those fortunes are tied to Microsoft, it's impressive that the dot-com bust didn't have a bigger impact at the top, isn't it?

(If you're in the mood, that first link, to the Forbes 400 Top Ten, will take you to some interesting information on the right-wingnuttery of some of the country's wealthier citizens. Check the "energy tycoons" and click some of the links.)

Also, this brief article on "the dynamic nature of American capitalism" is interesting. (The rich-rich-rich have bailed out of energy? Or just out of oil?)

Posted by AnneZook at 12:06 PM


I don't go to Walmart, ever.

Posted by: Lab Kat at July 11, 2005 09:05 AM

Neither do I, but I don't fault the people who need to shop there for financial reasons. I just become infuriated by the economic dishonesty.

Posted by: Anne at July 11, 2005 04:23 PM