The distribution of wealth in the United States no longer resembles a pyramid — it’s become more like Seattle’s Space Needle, if we are to look at the latest figures published by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).
According the IPS’ latest report, Billionaire Bonanza: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us, the richest 400 Americans have a combined net worth of $2.34 trillion — equal to that of the bottom 61 percent of the U.S. population, or about 194 million people. The richest 20 billionaires in America, on the other hand, have a combined net worth of $732 billion. That’s more than the net worth of the bottom half of the American population, or 152 million people in total.
“The higher up you go up our contemporary wealth ladder, the greater the imbalance,” said the report. It further likened the “bulge” at the top of the Space Needle to America’s wealthiest 0.1 percent, an estimated 115,000 households with a net worth starting at $20 million. Dining in the Needle’s rotating luxury restaurant are America’s top 400 billionaires, each with a minimum net worth of $1.7 billion.
“The wealthiest 20 individuals in the United States today hold more wealth than the bottom half of the U.S. population combined. These 20 super wealthy — a group small enough to fly together on one Gulfstream G650 private jet — have as much wealth as the 152 million people who live in the 57 million households that make up the bottom half of the U.S. population,” reveals the report.
Some of these richest Americans include Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, the Koch brothers and members of the Walton and Mars families.