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Three men that are richer than half the US population

  • Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett have a combined wealth of $248.5bn 
  • That is more than around 160million Americans combined, new report showed 
  • Report finds 400 richest people in the US are worth a combined $2.68trillion
  • But economists hit back at the report saying poverty not equality is the problem 

By Charlie Moore For Mailonline

Published: 08:44 EST, 9 November 2017 | Updated: 08:59 EST, 9 November 2017

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The three wealthiest men in the United States are richer than half of the population combined, a new report shows.

Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett have a total wealth of $248.5bn.

That's more than around 160million Americans combined, the report titled Billionaire Bonanza by Inequality.org says. 

Bill Gates
Bill Gates
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.

Bill Gates (left), Jeff Bezos (right) and Warren Buffett have a total wealth of $248.5bn

The trio's wealth is more than around 160million Americans combined, the report called Billionaire Bonanza by Inequality.org said
The trio's wealth is more than around 160million Americans combined, the report called Billionaire Bonanza by Inequality.org said

The trio's wealth is more than around 160million Americans combined, the report called Billionaire Bonanza by Inequality.org said

Microsoft founder Bill Gates is worth $89billion, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has $81.5billion and financier Warren Buffet controls $78billion.

The report using Forbes richlist data also found that the 400 richest people in the US are worth a combined $2.68trillion - around the same as the gross domestic product of the UK.   

It says: 'Our wealthiest 400 now have more wealth combined than the bottom 64 per cent of the US population, an estimated 80million households or 204million people. 

Warren Buffett attends the Forbes Media Centennial Celebration in September 2017
Warren Buffett attends the Forbes Media Centennial Celebration in September 2017

Warren Buffett attends the Forbes Media Centennial Celebration in September 2017

'That's more people than the population of Canada and Mexico combined.'

The report advocates a host of punitive tax measures against wealth creators, including increasing capital gains tax and estate tax.

It calls on President Trump to drop proposed tax cuts and demands increasing taxes on 'our wealthiest households'.

Economist Chuck Collins, co-author of the report, said: 'Wealth inequality is on the rise. Now is the time for actions that reduce inequality, not tax cuts for the very wealthy.'

The left-wing report did not mention that in 2010 Gates and Buffett created the Giving Pledge, a promise to give at least half of their wealth to charity.

Gates alone has already given away $35billion, with at least $8billion dedicated to improving global health.

The report concludes: 'The elite ranks of our billionaire class continue to pull apart from the rest of us. We have not witnessed such extreme levels of concentrated wealth and power since the first Gilded Age a century ago. 

'Such staggering levels of wealth inequality threaten our democracy, compound racial and class divisions, undermine social cohesion, and destabilize our economy.' 

We should stop attacking the rich and instead help the poor. Poverty is the problem - not inequality. 
Mark Littlewood, Director General, IEA 

The Institute for Policy Studies which was involved in producing the report, claims that inequality is leading to a 'moral crisis'.

But economists have criticised the focus on inequality. Inequality is necessary to provide incentive for innovation and wealth creation - the real issue is poverty.       

Mark Littlewood, General Director of the IEA, told MailOnline: 'This apparent fixation with inequality distracts from what should be the real priority for politicians: how to improve the living standards of the poorest in society. The circumstances and spending power of the poor are far more important than reducing ratios between the super-rich and the rich. 

'There are unfortunately still millions of impoverished people. Rather than focusing on the wealth of the top one per cent, we should be promoting policies such as free trade and open markets that have lifted so many out of poverty already in places like China and India.' 

This table shows the top 12 richest people in the world from the Forbes richlist
This table shows the top 12 richest people in the world from the Forbes richlist

This table shows the top 12 richest people in the world from the Forbes richlist

This table shows how much wealth the richest have in comparison to Americans
This table shows how much wealth the richest have in comparison to Americans

This table shows how much wealth the richest have in comparison to Americans

The Billionaire Bonanza: The report's key findings 

The three wealthiest people in the United States — Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett — now own more wealth than the entire bottom half of the American population combined, a total of 160 million people or 63 million households

America's top 25 billionaires — a group the size of a major league baseball team's active roster — together hold $1 trillion in wealth. These 25 have as much wealth as 56 percent of the population, a total 178 million people or 70 million households. 

The billionaires who make up the full Forbes 400 list now own more wealth than the bottom 64 percent of the U.S. population, an estimated 80 million households or 204 million people — more people than the populations of Canada and Mexico combined.

The median American family has a net worth of $80,000, excluding the family car. The Forbes 400 own more wealth than 33 million of these typical American families. 

One in five U.S households, over 19 percent, have zero or negative net worth. 'Underwater households' make up an even higher share of households of color. Over 30 percent of black households and 27 percent of Latino households have zero or negative net worth to fall back on.

  • The report draws on the most recent data published by the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finance and the 2017 Forbes 400 list from Forbes. 
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