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Money accumulates for American family dynasties

The wealth of America’s 50 richest family dynasties has skyrocketed to 10 times the rate of typical American families over the past four decades, according to a new study that warns of the growing concentration of wealth.

The report from the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank, found that the collective wealth of the 27 richest families on the Forbes List of $ 1 Billion Dynasties and the Forbes 400 List has increased by 1,007 % from 1983 to last year, from $ 80.2 billion to $ 903.2 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars. Wealth has increased by less than a tenth of that – just 93% – for the typical American family.

The five richest family dynasties – the Waltons, Kochs, Marses, Cargill-MacMillans and Lauders – have seen their wealth skyrocket by 2,484% since 1983, notes the study “Silver Spoon Oligarchs: How America’s 50 Largest Inherited-Wealth Dynasties Accelerate Inequality ”.

America’s 50 richest clans were worth a total of $ 1.2 trillion at the end of last year. The 65 million families in the bottom economic half of all households shared a combined total of just $ 2.5 trillion.

The study noted that wealth among America’s richest family dynasties ended up largely rewarding family members who had nothing to do with wealth, defying the defense that wealth is an incentive to work. relentlessness and innovation. Instead, the wealth is invested in protections for family wealth, providing fewer benefits to society.

“In healthy and fair democratic societies, great fortunes dissipate over a few generations as the first holders of wealth have children and grandchildren, pay their fair share of taxes and make charitable donations,” said The report.

“But our country’s wealth is accumulating in fewer hands, including among people who may be up to seven generations removed from the original source of their families’ wealth. At some point, some of these wealth holders – or their descendants – move resources to consolidate their wealth, fend off competition, and create monopolies. ”

Even the coronavirus pandemic has been a boon for some of the wealthiest families. As regular families struggled with job loss, falling incomes, and rising healthcare costs, the top 10 families on the Forbes Dynasty list saw a median net worth growth of 25%.

In the first two months of the pandemic, the total net worth of more than 600 billionaires in the United States rose 15% to $ 434 billion, according to a report last year from the Institute for Policy Studies. . In 2018, the wealth gap between the rich and everyone else was the biggest since the census started tracking it half a century ago.

Check out the new report from the Institute for Policy Studies here.


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