Gates, Buffett, And Bezos Are As Rich As The Bottom Half Of America

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Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and business magnate Warren Buffett — the three richest people in the world — are as wealthy as the bottom half of the U.S. population combined, according to a report from the Institute for Policy Studies.

The poorest 50 percent of America amounts to roughly 160 million people or 63 million households.

America’s top 25 billionaires has as much wealth as 56 percent of the population, equivalent to 178 million people or 70 million households, according to the Institute for Policy Studies’ report.

The 400 richest people in the U.S. have a combined wealth of $2.68 trillion and collectively have more than the gross domestic product of Britain, the study found. Furthermore, that group owns more wealth than the bottom 64 percent of the U.S. population (240 million people or 80 million households). This is more people than Canada and Mexico have combined.

“The elite ranks of our billionaire class continue to pull apart from the rest of us,” the study’s conclusion reads. “We have not witnessed such extreme levels of concentrated wealth and power since the first Gilded Age a century ago. Such staggering levels of wealth inequality threaten our democracy, compound racial and class divisions, undermine social cohesion, and destabilize our economy.”

Buffett, who is outspoken about wealth inequality in America, says that despite his personal concerns of the large disparity, generations are still always going to live a better life than the ones immediately before.

“In every respect, we’re living better than Rockefeller, a fellow who was alive in my lifetime,” Buffett said in a February interview with The Atlantic. “And you would think that people would be happy in this utopia, but they’re in a funk. They think their children are going to be worse off than they are. They’re absolutely wrong. Their children are going to live better and their grandchildren are going to live even better. We’ve got half as many people in the world under five dying, and that number is going to get cut in half again.”

After being asked why people “can’t be happy,” Buffett said he thinks it’s the income disparity that also bothers him.

“Nobody can name the person who topped the Forbes list in 1982,” he continued. “It was Dan Ludwig. He had two billion dollars in 1982. It put him on top of the list. He’d barely make the cut today. The aggregate wealth on that list has gone from $93 billion to $2.4 trillion and the disparities are extraordinary.”

There are many examples of life getting better for all, even if the top one percent are also getting disproportionately richer in comparison to the rest. In fact, Marian L. Tupy, a senior policy analyst at the Cato Institute, created a one-stop resource for people to see how much societies have exponentially grown over time called HumanProgress.org.

Nevertheless, it is clearly a worry for the Institute for Policy Studies.

The study concludes: “A century ago, a similar anti-inequality upsurge took on America’s vastly unequal distribution of income and wealth and, over the course of little more than a generation, fashioned a much more equal America. We can do the same.”

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  • NonYo Business

    And these puppets are not even close to the top .7 wealthiest.

  • elbustaroyjetspeekerson

    Light the torches! Where’s my pitchfork?

    • If you can’t find your pitchfork, how would you know what to do with it? What if the batteries in the torch are dead?

  • When the rest of us are truly busted, they can just sell stuff back and forth?

  • Rey d’Tutto

    What I hate about when your site provides direct links to stories on other websites instead of your summary with links: I have to comment here about the chainsaw-bayonet, and not on a relevant page. Also, backtracking & looking up the next story is a first-world PITA and breaks the flow.
    Anyhoo, I’ll be keeping an eye out for the lightsaboyonet. I’ll finally be able to toast my bread when I cut it…

  • dav1bg

    Reenact Glass Stegal, and get some of the wealth back to the people.

  • Laurence Almand

    So what does the “bottom half” of the population do besides live on welfare, drink beer, and breed children?
    These people are rich because they have worked for their wealth and have been productive. There is nothing wrong with being rich if you have earned the money.

  • Tatiana Covington

    Three cheers for capitalism! I’m serious!

  • Jimmy Yost

    There are three verses in the story of the temptation of Christ that explain this very simply, which are as follows:

    And the devil taking him up into an high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him “All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me (via the fall of Adam and Eve); and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.” (Luke 4:5-7, King James Version, parenthesis mine).

    Interestingly enough, this is very hard for most people to believe. I can well imagine that if Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, and most of the rest of the one percenters were to read what I’ve written here they’d laugh out loud. What they fail to foresee is that in the not-too-distant future they’ll be wishing they had never been born.

  • Billy Sharpshooter

    What about us lot living paycheck to paycheck? After covering bills we just hope we can afford food. Then what about those in debt? They got into debt not to buy the latest technology and gadgets but to pay bills. How do these people measure up to the Bill that is Gates?
    Then what if an unexpected expense e.g. medical, dental arises for you or your children? How do you cope? How do researchers measure these things against Gates?