Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the richest person in the world, is
also the richest person ("479.6 billion net worth) in the tech world,
according to the August 2015
Forbes World's Richest in Tech listing. Oracle founder Larry
Ellison ($50 billion) is second on the list and Amazon's Jeff Bezos ($47.8
billion) is third. Others in the top 10 are Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page,
Sergey Brin, Jack Ma, Steve Ballmer, Laurene Powel Jobs and family and
Michael Dell. American make up 51 of the top 100, and Asians, 33. Only
eight are Europeans -- and just seven, women. The average age is 53, a
decade younger than the average of all billionaires. Fifteen of the top
100 are under 40.
About 60 donations to 2016 presidential campaigns of $1 million or more
(Hedge fund biggie Robert Mercer
gave $11 million) accounted for a third of more than $380 million raised
in the first six months of 2015, according to the Associated Press on Aug.
Boeing Corporation is the biggest recipient of state and
local tax incentives, with more that $13 billion of them, according to
GoodJobsFirst.org as reported in the Seattle Times on March 17, 2015.
The former Seattle-based corporation compiled enough subsidies from
Washington state to make
Washington the second biggest tax-incentive provider (behind New York).
also was a winner of federal subsidies and loans, totalling more than $450
million in subsidies and $64 billion in loans.
The wealthiest 10% of Amercians owned about 80% of stock at the
end of 2014, according to the Federal
Reserve and as reported by the Seattle Times on March 13, 2015.
In March 2015, Forbes.com said the top 10 richest billionaires (see
below) are Bill
Gates ($79.2 billion), Carlos Slim Helu ($77.1 billion), Warren Buffet
($727 billion), Amanacio Ortega ($64.5 billion), Larry Ellison ($54.3
billion), the Koch brothers, Charles Koch ($42.9 billion) and David Koch
($42.9 billion) -- together, the richest by far -- and Christy and
Jim Walton ($41.7 and 40.6 billion), and completing the list Liliane
Bettencourt ($40.1 billion)
On Jan. 15, 2015, counterpunch.org published a chart showing that in the
last 40 years (since 1950), hourly compensation for American workers has
increased only 113.1%
while U.S. productivity has increased 254.3%.
The website's article quoted economist Lawrence Mishel, who noted that
1973 and 2011, the growth of "real hourly compensation of the median
worker" increased by just 10.7%. (In the same period, productivity
increased over 150%.)
In 2014, Earth's richest people added $92 billion to their
wealth. Citing Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Bloomberg News wrtiters
Peter Newcomb and Alex Sazonov noted on Jan. 4, 2015, in the Bellingham
Herald that the net worth of the top 400
billionaires on Dec. 29, 2014, stood at $4.1 trillion.
The biggest gain went to Jack Ma, co-founder of China's largest e-commerce
company, Alibaba Group -- he added $25.1 billion to his fortune.
Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway) added $13.7 billion to his wealth to become
the world's second richest person (passing Mexican
telecommunications billionaire, Carlos Slim, to
take over runnerup spot billionaire Bill Gates,
co-founder of Microsoft, who added $9.1 billion).
As of Dec. 31, 2014, Gates was worth $86.6 billion; Buffett, $73.8
billion; Slim, $72.6 billion.
The Bloomberg index listed conservative brothers, Charles and Paul Koch,
whose biggest asset is Georgia-Pacific, at just over
$50 billion each -- number five and six on the richest
Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) saw his fortune gain $10.6 billion -- he was
13th riches on the list and, as of Dec. 31, 2014, was worth $34.5
in 2014 made about 257 times the average worker's salary, an increase
from 181 times in 2009 (in 2013, pay for U.S. workers as a whole increased
1.3 percent), according to Associated Press reporter Josh Boak in the May
29, 2014, Seattle Times.
The year 2013 was the fourth year in a row that
CEO compensation increased -- the
average CEO of an S&P 500 company earned $10.5 million, up 8.8 percent
from $9.6 in 2012, Boak wrote, citing an Associated
Press/Equilar pay study.
The richest people on the planet got even richer in 2013, adding
$524 bilion to their collective net worth, according to the Bloomberg
Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world's 300 wealthiest
The aggregate net worth of the world's top billionaires stood at
$3.7 trillion at the market close on Dec. 31, 2013, according to
Of the 300 people who appeared on the final
ranking of 2013, only 70 registered a net loss for the 12-month period,
the report said. Bill Gates, was the year's biggest gainer, increasing his
wealth by $15.8 billion to a total of $78.5 billion.
The richest 85 people in the world hold as much wealth as the bottom half of
the global population, according to a January 2014 report by Oxfam
International, a British humanitarian group, as reported in the Seattle
About 3.5 billion people, the bottom half, account for
about $1.7 trillion while the wealthy elite, a small part of the richest 1
percent, now hold about 46 percent of the world's wealth -- $110 trillion --
the report said.
It also said the percentage of income of the richest 1 percent in America has
grown almost 150 percent from 1980 through 2012 -- and has received 95 percent
of wealth created after the financial crisis in 2008.
(A Gallup poll on
Jan. 20, 2014 found that two-thirds of Americans are dissatisfied with the
way income and wealth are distributed in the U.S.)
Billionaires of the world in 2012 added $241 billion to their wealth,
according to the 2012-2013 Project Censored's sixth most
underreported news story.
Its second most underreported story states that global "corprate fatcats"
hold $21 to $31 trillion in off shore havens to avoid governbment
In 2013, the 400 richest Americans are worth just over $2 trillion,
roughly the GDP
of Russia, according to Forbes.com on Sept. 17, 2013.
Forbes said Bill Gates tops
the list, with wealth of $72 billion (up $12.5 billion from 2012); Warren
Buffett is the second wealthiest, with $58.5 billion (up more than $12.5
from 2012); the conservative Koch brothers, Charles and David, stand at
4th and 5th on the list, with a total wealth that equaled Gates' wealth
($36 billion each -- Larry Ellison of Oracle is in third place with wealth
of $41 billion).
The top 1 percent of U.S earners in 2012 grabbed 22.5 percent of all
income earned by Americans, up from its 19.7 percent level in 2011,
according to the Seattle Times on Sept. 11, 2013, which cited an updated
economists Emmanuel Saed and Thomas Piketty.
According to the story, the
2012 pretax income of the 1 percent was above $394,000.
The top 10 percent of earners toook more than half of America's total income
in 2012 (income of the to 10 percent exceeded $114,000), the story said.
The top 7 percent of U.S. households (in 2011) owned 63 percent of the
nation's total household wealth, up from 56 percent in 2009 (according to
the Pew Research Center), and the average net worth of the top 7 percent
of the wealth distribution increased by 28 percent (to $3.2 million, up
from $2.5 million) while the lower 93 percent
dropped by 4 percent (to $134,000 from $140,000), according to an April
24, 2013, AP article in the Seattle Times.
The richest people on Earth got even richer in 2012 -- they added $241 billion to
their collective net worth. That net worth stood at $1.9 trillion at
the end of December, according to a Jan. 2, 2013, Seattle Times
article (citing Bloomberg Billionaires
Through 2011, the main drivers of the 2012 U.S. government $11.3 trillion
national debt (called the "fiscal cliff") are the Bush-era tax cuts
dollars), interest on the national debt ($1,386 billion dollars) and the
Afghan and Iraq wars ($1,262 billion dollars), along with stimulus
spending, Medicare drug plan spending, etc., according to the Nov. 12,
2012 Seattle Times. [Just as 2013 began, Congress passed and President Obama signed
a bill preserving most of the Bush-era tax cuts.]
After presidential candidate Mitt Romney claimed 47% of Americans "pay no
income tax" and are "dependent upon government," media noted that
because of tax loopholes, not near-poverty income, 1,400
millionaires paid no federal income taxes in 2009 (Robertson Williams,
senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center) and that in 2011 the corporate
"person" Boeing had no net income-tax liability for the fourth year in a
row, despite $5.1 billion in profits (Danny Westneat), according to the
Seattle Times, Sept. 19, 2012.
In the summer of 2012, presidential candidate Mitt Romney
extending all the George W. Bush tax cuts to the rich (see below) --
saving wealthy enought to pay for three more butlers --
while President Obama proposed preserving only some of the Bush tax cuts
-- saving the rich enough to add only one butler -- according to
David Sirota in the July 21, 2012, Seattle Times.
Corporate taxes as a percentage of the
U.S. Gross Domestic
Product decreased from 7.2% in 1945 to 1.3% in 2010 -- while profits
increased from nearly nothing in 1945 to $1.8 trillion in 2010. At the
same time individuals paid a 42.3% share of tax revenue in 2010 while
corporation paid 7.2% -- source, Seattle Times, Feb. 23, 2012.
Wells Fargo, At&T, Verizon, General Electric, IBM, Exxon Mobile and Boeing
together got tax breaks totaling just under $70 billion between 2008 and
2010, the Seattle Times reported on Feb. 23, 2012.
Some superwealthy lashed out at protests against the greed of the richest
1% -- saying the protesters were imbeciles and calling rules that require
companies to disclose the ratio of pay between CEOs and employees
"insane," according to the Dec. 21, 2011 Seattle Times, which noted that
average U.S. household income increased 62% between 1969 and 2007 -- but
income for the top 1% rose more than 300%.
Compensation in fiscal year 2010 for American CEOs increased by a median
27%, according to the Los Angeles Times. CEOs from the S&P 500 took a
median 36.5% increase in compensation, the Times said, citing the ninth
annual report from the research group GMI.
Paul Krugman noted in November 2011 that all American redistribution of
income away from the bottom 80% has gone to the highest-income 1% --
and that a report looking only through 2005 found that almost two-thirds
of the rising share of top 1% income went to the top 0.1% (the richests
one-thousandth), who saw their income rise more than 400% from 1979 to
Krugman added that the top 0.1% is not heroic entrepreneurs -- instead,
corporate executives, executives in nonfinancial companies (Wall Street
executives), lawyers and real estate kings.
"'We are the
99 percent' is a clear message. It is unfair and,
in fact, digusting that the American political economy is run for the benefit of a
plutocracy. I don't see how that can be misunderstood," said Todd Gitlin
(president of the former Students for a Democratic Society in the
mid-1960s) at the Occupy Wall Street protest Oct. 5, 2011, according to
the Oct. 10 Seattle Times.
Fifty percent of all American workers earned less than $26,364 in 2010, fewer jobs
were available and overall pay was trending downward, except for the wealthiest, with
the number of people making $1 million or more rising 18 percent from 2009, according
to an Oct. 21, 2011, Seattle Times article citing Social Security Administration
CEO pay has multiplied, with the median value of salaries, bonuses and
incentives for the CEOs of 350 huge American corporations rising 11% in
2010 to $9.3 million, according to a Wall Street Journal study that was
cited by the Cascadia Weekly on Aug. 31, 2011. Bonuses rose 19.7% too --
and these increases do not include stock-option rewards.
The top 0.1% of U.S. earners grabbed more than 10% of U.S. personal income
(including capital gains), and the top 1% grabbed more than 20% (in 2008, the
lastest year figures are available), the June 21, 2011, Seattle Times reported.
The big earners are executives and managers (even in boring areas like
the milk business). Since 1970, executive pay has increased 430%, far
above a 250% increase U.S. corporate profits -- and wildly above the
26% increase in wages for ordinary workers.
A dozen U.S. businesses -- with profits of $171 billion over the past
three years -- paid a NEGATIVE $2.5 billion in federal taxes. Boeing had
$9.7 billion in profts over this 2008-10 period and had a total federal
tax rate of -1.8 percent. In the decade ending in 21010, Boeing's profits
$29 billion, yet it paid MINUS $948 million in federal taxes, according to
the July 3, 2011 Seattle Times' Danny Westneat (citing a Citizens for Tax
The average federal income tax rate for the 400 most super rich (average
income of $345 million in 2007, the most recent year for IRS data) was
17%; it had been as high as 26% in 1992, according to an Associated Press
story on Page 1 of the April 18, 2011, Seattle Times.
The richest 1 tenth of 1 percent of Americans is only 13,000 households
and earned more than 11 percent of the nation's total 2007 income,
according to columnist Bob Herbert in the Sept. 15, 2010, Seattle Times.
The top 1 percent of earners has seen its share of America's income
increase from 9 percent in the 1970s to 10 percent in the 1980s, to 19
percent in the late 1990s -- and to 23 percent in 2007, the most
recent year complete data is available.
The super-rich get super-richer, according to the Aug. 23, 2010 New
Yorker, which reported that between 2002 and 2007, the top one percent of
rich Americans have seen their share of the national income double. And,
within that group, the top 0.1 percent have seen their share of national
income triple -- by themselves, they earn as much as the bottom 120
million people in America.
The top 1% of Americans saw their real income rise 700% between 1980
and 2007 while the real income of the median family increased only 22% --
a third of its growth the previous 27 years, according to an August
2009 New York Times column by Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winner.
By 2006, income was more concentrated for the rich than at any time since
the beginning of the great depression -- but the current recession is
beginning to make them a bit less rich, the New York Times reported in
late August of 2009. But they were still rich. (According to the IRS, in
the late 70s, each of the highest-earning households -- the top 1/10,000
-- earned over $2 million, adjusted for inflation, while in 2007 they
each made over $11.5 million.)
By 2004, the top 1 percent of Americans took 16% of national income --
whereas in Japan, it took a little over 8% and Sweden, it took just under
6%, according to TooMuchOnline.org.
One percent of the world's adults own 40% of the world's wealth --
most of the richest people live in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific
nations, according to a U.N. University report. (The average adult wealth
is $181,000 in Japan and $144,000 in
the U.S. as compared, for example, to Indonesia with $1,400.)
The wealthiest 20% of households own 50% of U.S. wealth the Census
Bureau showed in 2002 -- that's up from 44 percent in 1973.
For the bottom 20%, their share is now only 3.5%, down from 4.2% in
Now, 10% own 80% of the nation's property -- and 13,000 of its richest
families have net worth equal to the 20 million poorest families.
By mid-2010, the pre-Bush budget surplus of $5.6 trillion had become a
$13 trillion, according to http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock (as of
3.25.10) -- see the clock for the current debt total: National debt
The richest 1% of Americans now own 37% of the wealth -- more than the poorest
16 million Americans now live in deep poverty (annual income less than
$9,903) -- a grown of 26% from 2000 to 2005, according to a McClatchy
Newspapers analysis of 2005 census figures.
The percent of American poor in extreme poverty has grown from 29.9% in
1975 to 43.1% in 2005.
Over the last 20 years, America has had the highest or nearly highest
poverty rates for individual adults, families and children among 31
developed countries (Luxembourg Income Study).
Over its course, the 2001 tax cut gave almost 40 percent of
the cut to the richest 1%.
The added tax breaks of 2003
similarly benefited the rich (savings for those with income
under $10,000 will be $5, with 8 million low-income taxpayers not
receiving anything and another 6.5 million low-income taxpayers not
receiving a $400 child-care tax credit -- which excludes 12 million
The Seattle P-I reported that under the tax cuts, on their 2004 taxes,
President Bush saved over $29,000 and Vice President Cheney, $81,336.
For those with incomes over $1
million, tax savings
Prior to that, the tax burden for the richest 1% increased by 48% between
1979 and 1997 -- but their income grew 157% (to an average of $677,900 --
up from $263,700 in 1979).
Congressional Budget Office statistics show that adjusted for
of American families in the middle rose from $41,900 in 1979 to $45,100 in
(a 9% increase) while the income of families in the top 1% of income rose
from $420,200 in
1979 to $1.016 million in 1997 (a 140% increase).
That means that in 1979, the richest 1% of families
made 10 times that of the average family but by 1997 were making 23
times the amount -- and the gap is still growing.
Large-company CEOs, on average, earn 500 times more than the average
worker, the Seattle P-I reported Feb. 1, 2007 -- in 1980, CEO salaries
were only 42 times greater.
Now, the nation's 10 highest paid CEOs make $154 million a year as opposed
to the $3.5 million made by the top 10 in 1981.
In 1974, the average CEO made 34 times as much as a production or
In 1990, it was 96 times as much.
In 2000, it was 458 times as much.
The average CEO of a major corporation makes $13.1 million a year in
compensation (about $36,000 a day).
An estimated 61 percent of U.S. corporations paid no federal taxes
between 1996 and 2000.
Worker pay in the year 2000 was lower, inflation-adjusted, than in 1980
while CEO pay was 10 times higher (workers averaged $28,900 in 1980 and
$28,597 -- inflation-adjusted in 2000)
CEOs averaged $1.3 million in 1980 (in year 2000 dollars) and $13.1
million in 2000.
The 2001 income tax booklet shows that half the federal income for
Fiscal Year 2000 came from personal income tax. Corporations provided
According to Harpers (July 2004) 61 percent of U.S.
corporations paid no federal taxes between 1996 and 2000.
In October 2004, Congress passed and President Bush [later signed] a
tax-cut bill of $136 billion for corporations, the Seattle P-I reported
Oct. 12, 2004.
The same day, the P-I reported that one in five jobs in America earns
poverty-level wages, meaning 39 million Americans earn barely enough to
cover basic needs.
1.3 more million Americans are below the poverty line
1.4 million more people are without health insurance
2 million jobs have been lost in the private sector
The budget surplus of $5.6 trillion has become a deficit of $400 billion
Economic growth has been 1%, the lowest of any presidency in 50 years
Value of stocks held by Americans dropped $4.5 trillion, equal to a 30
percent drop in the value of IRAs and 401(k) plans