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20 Super Wealthy Individuals Have More Money Than The Poorest 152 Million Americans Combined

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Wealthy - Public DomainDo we need any more evidence before we will finally admit that the middle class in America is being systematically destroyed? As you will see below, when you add together all of the wealth of the poorest 152 million Americans, it still falls short of the combined net worth of the 20 wealthiest Americans. This is a list that includes Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg. To many, the core of the problem is that people like Gates and Buffett are making too much money. But I disagree. There is nothing wrong with working hard, building a company and making lots of money. The real problem is the fact that the bottom half of the country is steadily getting poorer. Once upon a time, this nation had the healthiest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the world, but now that middle class is dying. If we don’t do something about this, soon we may not have much of a middle class left.

When I was growing up in the 1980s, it seemed like virtually everyone was middle class. I didn’t know of any family that had a father that was unemployed, everyone seemed to have a house and a couple of cars, and no kid that I went to school with could have been described as “impoverished”. Yes, life was definitely not perfect, but it seemed to me that pretty much everyone was able to maintain a decent standard of living.

Sadly, things have dramatically changed since then. Yes, the wealthy have gotten wealthier, but at the same time the ranks of the impoverished have absolutely exploded. At this point, 20 extremely wealthy individuals have more money than the poorest 152 million Americans combined

The richest 20 Americans, with a combined net worth of $732billion, are as wealthy as half of the U.S. population, according to a new study.

Findings showed that the country’s 20 wealthiest people, which includes Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, now own more wealth than the bottom half of the population combined or 152 million people.

The study by the Institute for Policy Studies also found that America’s wealthiest 400, with a combined net worth of $2.34 trillion, own more wealth than that of a staggering 194 million people – the bottom 61 per cent of the country combined.

At one time, nobody would have debated that the U.S. had the healthiest middle class on the entire planet. But now we have actually fallen behind a whole bunch of other nations. According to CNN, the United States now only ranks 19th when it comes to median wealth per adult…

Americans’ median wealth is a mere $44,900 per adult — half have more, half have less. That’s only good enough for 19th place, below Japan, Canada, Australia and much of Western Europe.

“Americans tend to think of their middle class as being the richest in the world, but it turns out, in terms of wealth, they rank fairly low among major industrialized countries,” said Edward Wolff, a New York University economics professor who studies net worth.

$44,900 per adult may sound okay, but when you look deeper into the numbers things become quite disturbing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, household wealth for the poorest 40 percent of all Americans dropped significantly between 2000 and 2011. For the bottom 20 percent, median household wealth dropped from negative 905 dollars in 2000 to negative 6,029 dollars in 2011. For the next 20 percent, median household wealth dropped from 14,309 dollars in 2000 to 7,263 dollars in 2011. In other words, the poor have been getting poorer…

Median Household Net Worth - US Census Bureau

So what is the solution?

Well, the truth is that you can’t have a thriving middle class without lots of middle class jobs. And unfortunately for us, our economy has been bleeding middle class jobs for a very long time.

As I pointed out just recently, if the U.S. government was actually using honest numbers, the unemployment rate in this nation would be more than 22 percent.

But even if you have a job, that does not mean that you are part of the middle class. As the quality of our jobs has deteriorated, the ranks of the “working poor” have absolutely exploded. In recent years, we have seen part-time and temp jobs become a much larger part of our economy, and as a result more Americans than ever are really struggling to make ends meet.

In an article that I published near the end of October, I included brand new income numbers that were just released by the Social Security Administration. To me, these numbers are absolutely staggering…

-38 percent of all American workers made less than $20,000 last year.

-51 percent of all American workers made less than $30,000 last year.

-62 percent of all American workers made less than $40,000 last year.

-71 percent of all American workers made less than $50,000 last year.

If you are extremely frugal, you might be able to support a middle class family of five on $50,000 a year. But as you can see, 71 percent of all American workers make less than that.

Even if you have a mother and a father that are both working, that is often not enough to make ends meet. Many Americans are working as hard as they possibly can, only to find that they still come up short at the end of the month.

And with each passing year, the middle class continues to get smaller. It is almost as if we are playing a really bizarre game of economic musical chairs. With each round, more chairs get removed from the circle, and all the rest of us just hope and pray that we will get to remain part of the middle class for a little while longer.

What we are doing as a nation is simply not working. We are now seeing the consequences of shipping good paying jobs out of the country for decades, and yet our leaders continue on with business as usual.

Just look at what Barack Obama is doing. He is working hard to promote “the Trans-Pacific Partnership“. This insidious treaty will result in millions more good paying American jobs being lost overseas, but he doesn’t seem to care.

No matter whether it is a Democrat or a Republican in the White House, the game remains the same and the middle class continues to suffer.

When will we ever learn?

  • Mistanick

    The temptation is to tax the super rich out of spite, jealousy, resentment. The hazard and foolishness of this is that many rich rich also create many jobs out of their wealth. Nothing wrong about that.

    Some super rich folks like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and George Soros believe the world is overpopulated and want to shrink the worlds population to around 500 million. That gives them enough slaves to keep them rich and their business interests going without depleting resources. They are obviously not Christian and perhaps believe that their next life will be much better if fewer people inhabit the Earth so they will be even more wealthy next time. I don’t know their inclinations nor motivations.

    Super rich also includes people many support in entertainment and sports. A baseball pitcher who makes 20 million a year will start maybe 30 games year at over $600 K per game, regardless of how many innings he pitches. A 5 millon dollar quarter back will earn over $300 K per game. To fund that, we shell out hundreds of dollars for individual seats, thousands for season tickets. $20 to see a 2 hour movie?

    Are we that desperate for enjoyment? To a certain extent, we create some these super rich by a desperation for joy and happiness that we lack in our basic lives. Rather than support that, stay home, read a book to our kids, take an old guy to the doctor, do something nice and we will feel much better and maybe put a dent on the super rich engine.

  • winnie the pooh

    “We will build them cities and they will have the freedom to leave work and go home but return to work for us every morning for the rest of their lives …. yet they will own nothing.” J.D. Rockerfeller 1906
    If people could only find a job to go to every morning!!!!

  • JB

    Can’t take a penny of it with them when they go.

  • VigilanteCaregiver

    Well, first thing we could do is knock it off with this lousy income tax, capital gains tax, and property tax nonsense – all they do is take away money from those who earn it and redistribute it to political hacks and sometimes a couple cents gets to the needy (and then it’s taxed from them). The feds and state’s really don’t need it, the poor can better care for themselves with their own production and employment (the needy cared for by the Church), and government doesn’t have the right nor proper authority to limit my income via their tax codes. If they have a problem with this – take it up with my superior: pray.

    • Gay Veteran

      “Well, first thing we could do is knock it off with this lousy income tax, capital gains tax, and property tax nonsense….”

      hey Einstein, how are you going to pay for the essential functions of government? military and police won’t work for free

      sales taxes? which really gives the shaft to the working poor

  • America is designed to put you in your grave eventually. American Way of life is THE END. 250 years and we are seeing the END.

    Spiritual way is the only way. Do Yoga, Eat Tulsi – The greatest elixir of Life.

    Spirituality is FREE and you never get chronically ill nor get into disputes with your loved one. Start Eating Tulsi and Change your life for ever.

  • There is nothing wrong with working hard, building a company and making lots of money. The real problem is the fact that the bottom half of the country is steadily getting poorer. TRUE !
    THE problem is they are not spending it and putting it back so that ALL can benefit !!!!!!

  • MaxRockatansky33

    There is nothing wrong with building such a filthy wealth? Working hard? Most if not all of those billionaires are just a parasitic thieves stealing millions of really hard working people from the fruits of theirs work. The best example are the Rotschild Dynasty and Rockefellers.

  • Lazarovic

    And yet, Americans keep voting Republican, voting against their own best economic interests. Stupid is as stupid does.

    • Georgiaboy61

      It is a myth that we have a two-party system in this country. What we really have is a one-party state, with two competing factions within it. Nothing ever really changes, regardless of whether the Dems or Republicans are in power; one party is taking over the cliff at high speed, the other perhaps at a slower speed – but the final destination remains the same, regardless of who you choose at the ballot box.
      Remember what Mark Twain said about voting: “If it made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it”

      • iris

        Agree. Only if we go back to paper ballots using a truly popular vote by having people write in who they want as individuals and get rid of the electoral college so that it will be possible to do so, will we see honest elections by we the people again. It would be so simple to do, but would take longer to tally. And we wouldn’t see the MSM on the East Coast telling the voters on the West Coast and scattered around the world how the voting is going, when there are still hours of voting left possible.

  • DJohn1

    If everyone knew the secret to wealth then it wouldn’t be a secret any more and every one would try to get wealthy.
    I am not wealthy despite everything I have ever done.
    But I am reasonably comfortable in my retirement so far.
    I do however know the rules now which I did not know before.
    How many people prostitute themselves to make a living?
    And what do I mean by the word “prostitute”?
    I mean are you doing something you do not like to do to earn money.
    That is one of the secrets of wealth.
    By that definition I am very wealthy.
    I picked a profession to learn that I am good at.
    I picked a profession that I enjoyed doing.
    So for 8 to 10 hours a day, I played and got paid for it.
    I just happen to love working with computers.
    The artist in me is satisfied because I was putting together excellent printed advertisements in a daily newspaper.
    It wasn’t easy. The first 4 years were practically a nightmare. The entire trade was mechanical. We put together advertisements in hot metal type. I became very good with a metal saw and still I was far from the best. But I was good friends with the best.
    Then by accident more than choice the trade became automated and I was a natural with the automation.
    The second rule I really messed up on. I had 3 children by a woman that was unhappy being married to me.
    So for 15 years she made my home life a living hell.
    The second rule is to find your life mate and stay single until you do. Some will never find that elusive mate. But the rule is strict. Do not marry someone unless they are your life mate.
    My second time around I was lucky.
    The third rule is to apprentice under someone who has mastered your profession and loves what they are doing.
    I had at least 4 such mentors.
    Never ever say “I know” to someone teaching you.
    Why are the schools teaching us to be assembly line workers when what we need is professionals training us how to make ourselves over into something the world wants to buy?
    And that is what just about every person on that list that did not inherit their wealth had to do to become one of the financially elite of this country.
    Right now there are jobs out there going begging.
    Even in this economy with this problem with overseas stealing our jobs there are jobs that industry cannot fill because no one has the training behind them to apply for the job.
    Place yourself in their position. Know your enemy better than your friend. Because it is only when you do that will you become able to demand money and get it with a job.
    The roughest job on this planet and sometimes the easiest is sales. It is right up there with doctors and lawyers. It is right down there like cleaning toilets for a living.
    I would not want a full time sales job for love or money.
    But I did. I learned sales the hard way with a Real Estate License in the worst times possible for said agent in the 80s when Real Estate loans were at 20%.
    I broke every sales record for a part time real estate agent in my town for one or two months. Then I realized it was not the job for me. I kept the license and made a little bit of money with it for a while. Then I gave it back to the people who issued it(the state) and haven’t looked back since.
    I got a real on-the-street education from it.
    I could do it even today in this market place.
    I won’t. Because it is not the job I would be happy in.
    I learned to write contracts so a lawyer couldn’t break them easily.
    I learned to negotiate.
    I learned to persuade others of their own free will to do something I wanted them to do.
    Things are really rough out there right now.
    It is seasonal. We are in the winter season of jobs.
    Soon winter will pass and spring will begin. When that happens people will find jobs.
    Now is the time to prepare for those jobs while you are not working. Are you going to be a loser or a winner?
    When the s***t hits the fan, only your abilities to sell yourself to an employer will work.
    Even today in this market my skills remain.
    If I had to, I could go to work again.
    I am now very lazy thanks to retirement since 2007.
    But unlike many, my brain still works. Unlike many, I am still not crippled. Those of us that are old and have preserved those things are very lucky to have done so.
    My old Real Estate Broker once said we are ruled by laws of motion. He was right. Things in motion tend to stay in motion, things at rest tend to die.

  • Sandbagger

    Did anyone else see the “Informed Debate” article titled, “Is The Talent Shortage Real?” in the Costco Connection magazine? It’s interesting how the differing viewpoints only served to highlight why the middle class is getting flushed.

    I would post the link, but it would likely be blocked. I found the article by doing a search for “Costco Connection” and clicking on the December 2015 issue, page 20.

  • Isaac

    Michael writes, “To many, the core of the problem is that people like Gates and Buffett are making too much money. But I disagree. There is nothing wrong with working hard, building a company and making lots of money. The real problem is the fact that the bottom half of the country is steadily getting poorer.”

    I agree with that “there is nothing wrong with working hard, building a company and making lots of money,” however, the problem is that when certain people are making too much money, hoarding it, and not spending some or even little of the wealth in a way that benefits society then this is the line is drawn.
    When many people nationwide suffer because they cannot have decent living this leads to envy of the rich. The rich cannot just say we do not owe anything to society; the are part of it. What if they lose their wealth due to some unforeseen circumstance? Many have and they become low in status and poor as the ones they looked down upon. Free loading is something that is not being promoted here. People need real jobs and decent income. When they are denied this then the rich have an obligation to society to help out or they deserve to lose their wealth. If this sounds like socialism then so be it.

  • Georgiaboy61

    Re: “Do we need any more evidence before we will finally admit that the middle class in America is being systematically destroyed?”

    The house of cards known as the western financial system, which is built upon the weak foundation of perpetual debt and the petrodollar, is tottering and threatening to fall. The U.S. dollar may not be the reserve currency of international trade much longer.
    The super-rich know this, and to delay the day of reckoning, they are more than willing to sacrifice the middle class and the prosperity of their fellow citizens – despite the fact that all of them have literally more money than can be spent by any one human being.

    Re: “To many, the core of the problem is that people like Gates and Buffett are making too much money. But I disagree. There is nothing wrong with working hard, building a company and making lots of money.”

    The problem is that, in our society, the wealthy are able to purchase political power and thus subvert the normal functioning of representative government, such that it becomes an oligarchy – government of the few, by and for the wealthy and powerful.

    At some point, we in this nation are going to have to decide whether we want to live in a society where we have a voice in our futures, or not. As things stand now, the average person – despite the political theater of being “allowed” to vote – has virtually no say whatsoever in how the nation is run. Everyday people are now more-akin to sheep to sheared than free men and women – which is precisely how the power elite like it.

    • Gay Veteran

      We can have concentrated wealth in the hands of a few or we can have democracy. But we cannot have both. (Justice Louis Brandeis)

      • Georgiaboy61

        Our nation was never designed to be a democracy, which form of government the founders regarded as akin to mob rule; we were supposed to be a republic.

        • Gay Veteran

          We can have concentrated wealth in the hands of a few or we can have a Republic. But we cannot have both. (Gay Veteran)

        • Lazarovic

          A Republic is a democracy. A pure democracy is not practical and was never proposed by the founders, and we are still a Republic today.
          I agree that money needs to be removed, it is perverting our Republic.

          • Georgiaboy61

            Re: “A Republic is a democracy.”

            The Founders would have disagreed – and so do I. The two are quite different – remedial civics is that way….

    • Holger Jahndel

      The LaRouche Movement for a New Glass Steagall law and against neoliberal free trade and against Monetarism of Milton Friedman and his “Chicago Boys”!

      http://www.larouchepac.com EIR NEWS

      Daily Peak Oil Blog by Michael C. Ruppert (R.I.P.)

      http://www.fromthewilderness.com FROMTHEWILDERNESS

  • horse777res

    Hey Michael! I’d rather be poor and go to Heaven then rich and go to Hell. Because to the rich ,money is there god, that is until after they take there last breath. THEN JUDGEMENT

    • Wallace B…

      Hell is a false doctrine (at least, the idea of eternal torment in fire)

  • Holger Jahndel

    his three-book series is the most comprehensive examination of the Clinton marriage ever compiled!

    Over 1,000 pages!

    Part One—HILLARY (AND BILL) THE SEX VOLUME lays the riveting foundation for:

    Part Two—HILLARY (AND BILL) THE DRUGS VOLUME and:

    Part Three—HILLARY (AND BILL) THE MURDER VOLUME

    In HILLARY (AND BILL) THE SEX VOLUME—Part One of the Clinton Trilogy, Bill and Hillary’s meteoric rise to success is chronicled.

    http://shop.americanfreepress.net/store/p/28-HILLARY-AND-BILL-TRILOGY-Book-Deal.html

    EIR NEWS

    http://www.larouchepac.com The LaRouche Movement for a New Glass Steagall and against neoliberal free trade, also see the website of the international “Forum for a New Paradigm” by the Schiller Institute Online!

  • Holger Jahndel

    This three-book series is the most comprehensive examination of the Clinton marriage ever compiled!

    Over 1,000 pages!

    Part One—HILLARY (AND BILL) THE SEX VOLUME lays the riveting foundation for:

    Part Two—HILLARY (AND BILL) THE DRUGS VOLUME and:

    Part Three—HILLARY (AND BILL) THE MURDER VOLUME

    In HILLARY (AND BILL) THE SEX VOLUME—Part One of the Clinton Trilogy, Bill and Hillary’s meteoric rise to success is chronicled.

    http://shop.americanfreepress.net/store/p/28-HILLARY-AND-BILL-TRILOGY-Book-Deal.html

  • Rufus T Firefly

    Obama is doing a great job of directing money towards the twenty who deserve it.

  • Lib

    I’m not particularly wealthy, but I have more money than any of you do. I’ve driven through the trailer parks and it is obvious I can earn more than a Rebpulikan can.

  • Whatsmyname2

    The fascists are taking over. The NWO is fascist and is trying to destroy America which represents the pursuit of happiness and freedom and democracy. The people at the top are just manipulating the people at the bottom. You can’t say they work harder trading stocks than a man digging a ditch for a pipe, yet one has the wealth while the other is struggling to pay bills. You can’t say a mother taking care of kids is not working when if she took a job, she would have to pay someone to watch her kids.

    The fact is, the rich are allowed to corner markets and pay the people supporting their enterprises next to nothing. That is why we had unions, to control them. Now unions are out of fashion for being too liberal, so we get what, people telling everyone just work harder.

  • Hank

    Michael says:
    To many, the core of the problem is that people like Gates and Buffett
    are making too much money. But I disagree. There is nothing wrong with
    working hard, building a company and making lots of money.

    I disagree as well. Nothing wrong with making loads of money. But I believe the problem is, these super rich are using their money to buy politicians. This is how competition is being destroyed, bad policy and bad laws are being passed because the politicians are ignoring the people and rule of law. they follow the money. So, the middle class gets destroyed.

  • tacoma

    There is capitalism, and then there is American capitalism. Actually I should call it American Capitalism because no other country in the world practice it. Not America’s closest counterpart UK & Canada.

    The great people of America began to buy into American Capitalism since 30 years ago. Exemplified by the invention of Milken’s junk bond to finance the wave of M&A (corporate mergers and acquisitions). The idea is to milk every dime of profit out of business by purging to the max all labor and overhead costs, merge these companies, sell of any parts that worth something, then file Chapter 7 bankruptcy on the leftover. The profits went to Wall Street financier who issued the junk bonds. Millions of workers were left without jobs, and business involved no longer produce anything.

    American Capitalism high priests then took the M&A, expand it into dozens of such ‘financial engineering’, play them out like mad dog for the next 30 years. Complete with installing their agents as high government officials to pass financial laws tilted to their side, and protect them if things blow up. This have resulted in the historical explosion of housing, mortgage derivatives, government housing agencies, 5 Wall Street near-banks, consumer and commercial credits.

    The net is what we have today: 20 own more wealth then 152 million. My spreadsheet calculates it as the 0.0000132% society. Not the 1% in popular myth.

    Some even call this jungle economics. No way. In a jungle, the fittest survive and the rest got eaten. But go to a real jungle and you see lots of living things, because they have achieved a natural balance. A real jungle does not operate by 1%. A 0.0000132% jungle is in effect a dead jungle, more like the Sahara desert. In a real jungle every living things get a chance to develop a survival mechanism, and most did. In American Capitalism, the 152 million were disarmed, reduced to rubbish.

  • Tatiana Covington

    So… would you impose taxes, and take what is not yours? And suppose that those owners of private property fight back? Then what?

    Hands off!

  • Wallace B…

    SO sad, the author is Christian, but he’s SO EXTREMELY CONCERNED with money, richness, economics and so…. Did you just forget that wordly fortunes are meaningless to Christianity, and that Christians must be focused in the Kingdom of Heaven and afterlife??