BOSTON (CBS) – Forbes Magazine has just come out with its ranking of the richest Americans, and taxing the wealthy has recently been the talk of Washington.
The Democrats have been calling for higher taxes on them, even though the richest ten percent already provide most of our federal income tax revenue. But while the Republicans claim taxing the rich more would chill job creation, it’s hard to be too sympathetic when you see the numbers on the latest list of the 400 richest Americans.
The names atop the Forbes list are familiar, and politically diverse.
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Bill Gates, $59 billion: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is number one for the 18th year in a row, with a $59 billion haul that grew by $5 billion in the past year alone.
Warren Buffett, $39 billion: When investor Warren Buffet says he wants to pay more taxes, he can afford it, coming in second with $39 billion despite a $6 billion loss last year.
Charles Koch & David Koch, $25 billion each: Also in the top ten, the arch-conservative oil baron Koch brothers at $25 billion apiece.
George Soros, $22 billion: and arch-liberal hedge fund genius George Soros, who’s made a $22 billion killing on the global economic slump.
Michael Bloomberg $19.5 billion: New Yorkers might consider asking Mayor Michael Bloomberg to bail their city out personally. He’s 12th on the list with a $19.5 billion kitty.
John Henry $1.1 billion: And baseball, as well as futures trading – has been very, very good to Red Sox co-owner John Henry, who crashed the list at #375 with $1.1 billion.
What’s the bottom line? The old saying “the rich just get richer” seems to be true, according to Forbes. During a year when so many of us struggled, 65 percent of the 400 richest Americans enjoyed gains in their wealth, while only 18 percent suffered setbacks.
So, no tears for the super-rich if they have to pay more. But keep something in mind – if the government grabbed all the wealth of the top 400 it would be a haul of about a trillion dollars. The current federal deficit is estimated to be more than one-and-a-half trillion. Problem, not solved.