• The Hyper-Wealthy Own Us (Literally)

    June 19, 2014

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: #99Percent, Economy

    When people talk about income inequality in the U.S., it often involves big, big numbers.

    For example, last year eight Americans — the four Waltons of Walmart fame, the two Koch brothers, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett — made more money than 3.6 million American minimum wage workers combined. The median CEO pay in America for large corporations is $10 million per year. A chief executive now makes about 257 times the average worker’s salary, up sharply from 181 times in 2009. Overall, a tiny one percent of Americans own over a third of America’s wealth.

    Math is Hard

    Still, the numbers are hard to grasp, to understand at a ground-truth level. When folks want to talk about how big a place is, the often-used measure is football fields; the crash site covered an area the size of two football fields. That makes it easier to understand.

    So, here’s our America measured in sort of the same way, courtesy of the real estate site Redfin. They figured out the value of all the homes in some of America’s better known cities, then compared that number to the known wealth of some of America’s better known one percenters. It turns out people like Bill Gates, the Waltons and the Koch Brothers literally own us. They have enough money to buy whole cities. Here’s a partial list:

    Walton Family, owners of Walmart, have $154.8 billion. They could buy all of Seattle, value $111.5 billion.

    Koch Brothers, holding $86.0 billion, could buy all of Atlanta, valued at $78.1 billion.

    Bill Gates, with his $77.5 billion, could buy Boston, for $76.6 billion.

    Warren Buffett, packing $63.5 billion, is able to purchase Charlotte, NC, for $56.1 billion.


    Also rans:

    Michael Bloomberg, only worth $31.8 billion, could still pick up Anaheim for $31.4 billion.

    Larry Page of Google, $30.8 billion, is able to buy Boca Raton for $29.5 billion.

    Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com, has $30.5 billion and could own Napa for $29.5 billion.

    Mark Zuckerberg, your best Facebook friend, saved up $27.7 billion and could buy Saint Paul, MN, at $26.8 billion.

    Phil Knight, who started Nike, has only $18.3 billion, but could still be the owner of Washington DC suburb Falls Church for only $18.0 billion.


    Equal Time

    Balance is important in these sorts of things, so it is only fair to add that some five million homes were lost to foreclosure between 2008 and 2013. 8.2 million foreclosure starts took place in that same time period. Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi estimates foreclosures will strike another three million homes in the next three or four years.



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    Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!

  • Recent Comments

    • pitchfork said...

      1

      quote”Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi estimates foreclosures will strike another three million homes in the next three or four years.”unquote

      Yeah, and I have $1k that says at some point Piketty’s prediction will prevail too. When enough people are on the street, without jobs, no future, and hunger becomes rampant, some heads are gonna start rolling. And I don’t mean figuratively speaking.

      06/19/14 2:55 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      2

      quote”Walton Family, owners of Walmart, have $154.8 billion.”unquote

      This is criminal. When kids are going hungry in AMERICA. Yup..only a matter of time till outrage becomes revolution.

      What really is astounding, if you total the actual monetary assets of the top 100 billionaires, and realize THAT much currency has been taken out of circulation and is sitting in some offshore bank, you then see why inflation really occurs.

      quote”For example, last year eight Americans — the four Waltons of Walmart fame, the two Koch brothers, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett — made more money than 3.6 million American minimum wage workers combined.”unquote

      Ok, but what I would REALLY like to see is how much INCOME TAX those 4 people paid, and compare it to how much income tax..3.6 million minimum wage workers paid. THAT is the real key to understanding the income inequality equation. Of course, NO ONE will ever know what they paid. If they did, I submit there would be a revolt in one day.

      06/19/14 3:09 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      3

      06/20/14 11:40 AM | Comment Link

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