By sitting on their growing investments, the richest five richest Americans made almost $7 billion each in one year. That's $3,500,000.00 per hour. The minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13 per hour.
Our unregulated capitalist financial system allows a few well-positioned individuals to divert billions of dollars from the needs of society. If the 400 richest Americans lumped together their investment profits from last year, the total would pay in-state tuition and fees for EVERY college student in the U.S.
The combined net worth of the world's 250 richest individuals is more than the total annual living expenses of almost half the world—three billion people.
Within our own borders, the disparity is no less shocking. For every one dollar of assets owned by a single black or Hispanic woman, a member of the Forbes 400 has over $40 million. That's equivalent to a can of soup versus a mansion, a yacht, and a private jet. Most of the Forbes 400 wealth has accrued from nonproductive capital gains. It's little wonder that with the exception of Russia, Ukraine, and Lebanon, the U.S. has the highest degree of wealth inequality in the world.
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