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World's 500 Richest People Gained $1.2 Trillion in Wealth in 2019: Analysis

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/12/27/worlds-500-richest-people-gained-12-trillion-wealth-2019-analysis

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  • Healthcare for all at public expense - the greatest good in the short term.

  • Rights for the Environment - a form of healthcare for the biosphere.

These two alone would work wonders - which is why they are so violently opposed.




Wealth is power. Once, the rich hid behind frontmen like Reagan and Clinton. No longer. Trump is richest president in history and has the richest cabinet. We’ve got 2 billionaire Democrats running to oppose him.

What decisions do these wealthy individuals make? Wealth is more concentrated than it’s been since 1929. And think what happened then. Today our rulers pour countless billions into military “adventures” that even the (Besos owned) Washington Post admit are a waste. And they give themselves giant tax cuts, even though they were already rich, while taking food out of hungry mouths and indenturing students who’ve been shafted by for-profit education mills. And they deny the reality of climate change, the greatest crisis that our species has faced, since it’s bad for their business.

Justice Louis Brandeis once wrote: “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”

I’d add: We can preserve a viable planet for our children, or we can continue to let a few selfish short-sighted billionaires create hell on Earth.


I was told George Washington held that dubious honor. In any case, in the absence of definitive proof, such as his last 7 years of tax returns, we have only his word for how rich he really is–and what’s that worth?

Otherwise agreed.


My wife’s Roth IRA had a big gain in 2019. It was a good year for anyone with money invested in some way in the stock market. Compared to the assets of any one of these people, her IRA account is minuscule. I’m sure the IRS would love to tax her gains if she withdrew them, but fortunately her withdrawals from a Roth IRA are not taxable; nor are her assets. All of us like our tax breaks.

If the discussion of what a person’s “fair share” is could be done analytically without the political influence of the most wealthy, a more equitable tax system could be developed. I don’t believe that is likely to happen. Senator Warren’s proposal is reasonable, but power politics will kill it.


I decided to exaggerate a bit. If Washington was #1, then Trump is a close second. He’s certainly the richest if you don’t adjust for inflation, and the richest in the last 2 centuries. But, hey, if we get Bloomberg (net worth $51.8 billion) in 2020 then he’ll be #1! We’ve got the best government money can buy!


A combined $1.2 trillion for 500 billionaires? But that’s only an average of $2.4 billion each. Must be hard work managing all the wealth they syphon from the masses. And, while Thomas Friedman notes “Today ‘billionaire’ has become a dirty word and a disqualifying status for many in the left of the Democratic Party,”, at least they know Biden and Buttigeig will have their backs.


Capitalism and inequality go hand in hand. As long as capitalism lives, there is no solution to the massive inequality.
“They’ll get it all from you, sooner or later. Cause they own this fucking place.” -
George Carlin, “The American Dream” (2004)


We progressives know this what is needed is to wake up the masses!


Many revolutions, non-violent and violent, have been initiated by economic disparities this large or even smaller. What will it take, what threshold needs to be passed, how much death and suffering must be endured before the people of the US take to the streets?


Obscene, immoral, unethical.


Hard to believe that Thomas Friedman got anything right.

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Lol remeber when a majority of the worlds economists said her plan wouldn’t work.

The ill-defined word of the moment is “capitalism.”
After Soviet communism fell, capitalism seemed to to have won the argument. But anti-capitalists didn’t concede. Maybe socialism and communism hadn’t worked as envisioned, but capitalism was still the corrosive, dehumanizing force it had always been. This viewpoint expressed itself outside the WTO in Seattle.

So what is capitalism supposed to mean? The word “capital” has been around since the late Middle Ages and meant more or less what it means now: money used to invest or build and so earn more money.
In the 19th century, Saint-Simonians and other proto-socialists started referring to capitalism to signify a system in which those who had capital used it to dominate and exploit those who didn’t.

This was a gross oversimplification of a dizzyingly complex reality.

So what do we do about republicans? If Bernie or Warren had four years and then a repug were to have access to all that dough would it still be there, or would they reverse the tax on the wealthy.
I see short term success with tax the rich schemes.

Why does it matter that the richest people in the world got richer. The entire population got richer. These wealthy elites aren’t rich from stealing from us. That is a common misconception. They provide a service for us. Bill gates wasn’t gifted a big sack of money just for being alive. He had to work in his garage to build up his company. Most people assume that for the rich to win, we, the commoners, must loose. That’s simply not the case, it is not a zero sum game but it is in fact a positive sum game. No one is forcing a business transaction to make them richer, like they do in socialism, but it’s a choice. You value the computer and software Bill Gates provides more than you value the $200 it costs to buy a computer. Microsoft values the $200 more than it values the computer. So you both win, you get what you value more, and so does the company. It’s not bad. It’s wonderful capitalism.


I’m still awaiting my “trickle” from those smirking rich, greedy assholes!


Got it right, but still doesn’t really get it.

That’s like saying on a cold January day that it is warm out just because the sun is shining.