NOPE, argues Robert Reich: “You see, if and when they eventually win, these billionaires will clean up. Their taxes will plummet, many of laws constraining their profits (such environmental laws preventing the Koch brothers from more depredations, and the anti-bribery Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that Adelson is being investigated for violating) will disappear, and what’s left of labor unions will no longer intrude on their bottom lines. And they have enough dough to keep betting until they eventually win. That’s what it means to be a billionaire political investor: You’re able to keep playing the odds until you get the golden ring.”
Kai (not his real name) didn’t think much of the United States but he lived here because it gave him freedom from his parents who otherwise might object to his constant whoremongering and general slothfulness. His father was (is) a government official who couldn’t fully flaunt his fortune since it would make his corruption a bit too obvious, and I suppose that cramped standard of living—spending a million dollars on a single piece of furniture instead of a private jet—was too limiting for Kai.
Forbes has come out with their latest list of the 400 richest Americans and Bill Gates is again on top with a net worth of $72 billion. According to the magazine, 30 people who were on the list last year dropped off either because they died like "surround sound pioneer Ray Dolby" or lost money due to costly bets like T. Boone Pickens. The youngest billionaires on the list (AKA those under 45) tend to come from the tech industry like Facebook co-founders Dustin Moskovitz and Mark Zuckerberg, those Google guys (Sergey and Larry), Twitter and Square's Jack Dorsey, and GoPro's Nick Woodman. The richest women on the list are from the Walmart family: Christy Walton, who ranks at number six and Alice Walton who ranks at number eight. The richest person of color appears to be Patrick Soon-Siong who made his fortune working in pharmaceuticals.
As of Tuesday, there is one more lady billionaire in the world. For the New Yorker, Vauhini Vara talks about why it matters.
David Letterman has a satirical book out today called This Land Was Made for You and Me (But Mostly Me), which pokes fun at the 0.1 percent (the tagline for the book is "Billionaires in the Wild"), and talked to the New York Times about it with illustrator Bruce McCall.