According to the most recent information, the Forbes 400 now have a greater net worth than the bottom 50% of U.S. households combined.
In 2009, the total net worth of the Forbes 400 was $1.27 trillion.
The best information now available shows that in 2009 the bottom 60% (yes, now it's 60%, not 50%) of U.S. households owned only 2.3% of total U.S. wealth.
Total U.S. household net worth -- rich, middle class and poor combined -- at the time the Forbes list came out was $53.15 trillion. So the bottom 60% of households possessed just $1.22 trillion of that $53.15 trillion, less than the Forbes 400.
Thus the Forbes 400 unquestionably have more wealth than the bottom 50%.
By contrast, in 2007 the bottom 50% of U.S. households owned slightly more wealth than the Forbes 400; the economic meltdown has hurt the bottom more than the top. (And in fact, in 2010 the net worth of the Forbes 400 jumped to $1.37 trillion.)
1. Total net worth of Forbes 400, 2009: Forbes
2. Total net worth of bottom 60% of U.S. households, 2009, by percent of total U.S. household net worth: Edward Wolff, "Recent Trends in Household Wealth in the United States: Rising Debt and the Middle-Class Squeeze—an Update to 2007," p. 33
Edward Wolff, Professor of Economics at New York University, is the top academic expert on economic inequality in the U.S. He writes:
"A somewhat rough update, based on the change in housing and stock prices, shows a marked deterioration in middle-class wealth. According to my estimates, while mean wealth (in 2007 dollars) fell by 17.3 percent between 2007 and 2009 to $443,600, median wealth plunged by an astounding 36.1 percent to $65,400 (about the same level as in 1992!) ... Trends in inequality [from 2007 to mid-2009] ... show a fairly steep rise in wealth inequality ... The share of the top 1 percent advanced from 34.6 to 37.1 percent, that of the top 5 percent from 61.8 to 65 percent, and that of the top quintile from 85 to 87.7 percent, while that of the second quintile fell from 10.9 to 10 percent, that of the middle quintile from 4 to 3.1 percent, and that of the bottom two quintiles from 0.2 to -0.8 percent." (emphasis added)
Note: a "quintile" is 20% of U.S. households, so the middle and bottom two quintiles include 60% of U.S. households.
3. Total net worth of U.S. households, third quarter of 2009: Federal Reserve, p. 1
4. Total net worth of bottom 50% of U.S. households, 2007, by amount: Arthur B. Kennickell, Federal Reserve, "Ponds and Streams: Wealth and Income in the U.S., 1989 to 2007, p. 35
5. Total net worth of Forbes 400, 2007: Forbes
6. Total net worth of Forbes 400, 2010: Forbes
January 28th, 2014
In the State of the Union address tonight, President Obama is going to call for a national minimum wage of $10.10. Then in their response ...
January 21st, 2014
My New Year's Day op-ed in the New York Times seems to have kickstarted a discussion about how to make Obamacare better. I hope you ...
December 18th, 2013
This morning it was announced by the Library of Congress and the National Film Preservation Board that my first film, 'Roger & Me', has been ...
December 14th, 2013
[View the story "Michael Moore Tweets on Eve of Newtown Anniversay" on Storify]
November 9th, 2013
Click here for this week's full schedule for the State Theatre and Bijou by the Bay in Traverse City, Michigan. The day has arrived. For ...
September 10th, 2013
[View the story "John Kerry's Accidental Diplomacy" on Storify]
July 30th, 2013
Today Bradley Manning was convicted on 20 of 22 counts, including violating the Espionage Act, releasing classified information and disobeying orders. That's the bad news. ...
September 11th, 2010
OpenMike 9/11/10 Michael Moore's daily blog I am opposed to the building of the "mosque" two blocks from Ground Zero. I want it built on ...
December 14th, 2010
Yesterday, in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, the lawyers for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange presented to the judge a document from me stating that ...
May 12th, 2011
"The Nazis killed tens of MILLIONS. They got a trial. Why? Because we're not like them. We're Americans. We roll different." – Michael Moore in ...
November 22nd, 2011
This past weekend I participated in a four-hour meeting of Occupy Wall Street activists whose job it is to come up with the vision and ...
September 22nd, 2011
I encourage everyone I know to never travel to Georgia, never buy anything made in Georgia, to never do business in Georgia. I will ask ...
December 16th, 2010
Dear Swedish Government: Hi there -- or as you all say, Hallå! You know, all of us here in the U.S. love your country. Your ...
November 2nd, 2010
This letter contains (almost) no criticisms of how the Democrats have brought this day of reckoning upon themselves. That -- and where to go from ...