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Thread: Forbes 400 for 2009

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    Forbes 400 for 2009

    Almost all of America's wealthiest citizens are poorer this year.

    America's super rich are getting poorer. For only the fifth time since 1982, the collective net worth of The Forbes 400, our annual tally of the nation's richest people, has declined, falling $300 billion in the past 12 months from $1.57 trillion to $1.27 trillion.

    Faltering capital markets and real estate prices, along with divorce and fraud, pushed the fortunes of 314 members down and drove 32 plutocrats off the rankings.

    Hurt the most: Warren Buffett, America's second-richest citizen. The Oracle of Omaha dropped $10 billion from his personal balance sheet as shares of Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK - news - people ) fell 20% in 12 months. He is now worth $40 billion.

    Beating out Buffett for the 16th straight year as America's richest man is Microsoft ( MSFT - news - people ) co-founder Bill Gates. Sluggish Microsoft shares and declining outside investments pushed the software visionary's net worth down $7 billion in 12 months.

    Rounding out the top 10 on The Forbes 400: Oracle founder Larry Ellison ($27 billion); Wal-Mart ( WMT - news - people ) heirs Christy Walton ($21.5 billion), Jim C. Walton ($19.6 billion), Alice Walton ($19.3 billion), and S. Robson Walton ($19 billion); media maven Michael Bloomberg ($17.5 billion) and energy titans Charles and David Koch ($16 billion each).

    The 10 richest Americans lost a combined $39.2 billion in the past 12 months, a 14% decline.

    Continue reading...


    Overall I think the Forbes 400 are doing better then the typical American in this recession. A $300 billion drop in net worth is nearly 20% for these people but the typical American household has suffered worst. Except for those that didn't have any assets in the first place.

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    For the most part is was false wealth anyone. The entire economy is built on sand. Just like I see lazier and more incompetent workers every year but we keep hearing about how "worker productivity" keeps going up and how great American workers are. That's all really a matter of workers being replaced with machines so whereas ten men might have done something before now its one man and a machine so that one man look more productive.

    At any rate what I mean is a lot of this wealth was built on things like real estate assets. At the time I thought the prices seemed illogical and were rising too fast. Here in Florida I saw a $5,000 lot turn around and sell for $60,000 five years later. Magically the person who owned that lot made a lot of money. Well now that $60,000 lot is selling for $6,000 now. Basically most of the economic gains of the past 10 or 20 years have been illusions and the market has been correcting itself. Anybody who owned real estate took pretty hard hits.

    Likewise the U.S. doesn't produce much. What little that is produced is mainly done with technology and machines. Therefore the job market is never stable over here. With globalism comes more instability. As I've been saying for years: become more self sufficient. Create trade networks. Use small scale production. Grow a lot of your own food locally, learn to make a lot of your tools and crafts yourself, trade and barter with groups. The banks and theives at the top will keep playing games with the economy shifting money into their own hands which is going to lead to more collapses in the future.

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