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Billionaire Bonanza: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us

Institute for Policy Studies – “This report – The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us (December 2015) – exposes the extreme wealth concentrated within the fortunes of the 400 wealthiest Americans and compares this wealth to the much more meager assets of several different segments of American society. 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. The report also proposes a direct tax on wealth to break up the concentration of wealth and generate trillions of dollars in new revenue to invest in wealth building opportunities for working families.”

“This report …draw[s] data from both the recently released 2015 Forbes 400 and the Federal Reserve’s latest triennial Survey of Consumer Finances. Among our most significant findings:
  • America’s 20 wealthiest people — a group that could fit comfortably in one single Gulfstream G650 luxury jet — now own more weal th than the bottom half of the American population combined, a total of 152 million people in 57 million households.
  • The Forbes 400 now own about as much wealth as the nation’s entire African-American population—plus more than a third of the Latino population—combined.
  • 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.”

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