News Release

Report: 20 Wealthiest in U.S. Own More than Bottom Half


CHUCK COLLINS, chuckcollins7 at
JOSH HOXIE, josh at
Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and long-time inequality activist. Hoxie is the director of the Project on Opportunity and Taxation at the group. The two are co-authors of the just-released report “Billionaire Bonanza: the Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us,” which finds:

“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.”

Some additional findings from the report:

* “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 two 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 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 Hoxie.

Also see:

The Guardian, “Forbes list ‘fat cats” have more money than all regular cat owners in America.”

David Cay Johnston, Al Jazeera: “The wealthiest dozen Americans own more than the bottom half.”

Forbes, “Well Of Course The Rich List Own More Than All Cat Owners.”