In a world of more than 7.1 billion people, only a lucky few are billionaires or multimillionaires, but their numbers are growing.
Knight Frank, a global property management firm, says in its latest Wealth Report that over the past decade the number of billionaires in the world grew 80% to 1,682 and the number of those with $30 million or more in net assets increased almost 60% to over 167,000. Their total assets: $20.1 trillion, or a quarter more than the economy of the U.S.
The U.S., not surprisingly, leads the population of the ultra-wealthy, followed by Japan and Germany. But the median wealth per capita in the U.S. is lower than 26 other countries -- including Japan, the U.K. and Finland, according to a recent Credit Suisse wealth report.
"In America we always had this idea that you didn't have dynastic wealth...[that] any American born who worked hard and played by the rules could do well," says The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task in the video above. "That's what's been changed. Now you have the 99% saying wages haven't moved since the 1970s for the average American [and] since the financial crisis a disproportionate amount of the recovery's gains have gone to the wealthiest 2% of the people."
Included in that 2% is Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of the Blackstone Group, who is paying a 15% tax rate on the $452.7 million he made last year because those funds are taxed as "carried interest" rather than income.
"All these policies are tilted in favor of the people who are already the wealthiest," says Task. "That's where the inequality really becomes a problem."
So what's to be done?
Related: Whining 1%-ers are "wrong on moral and policy grounds": Steven Rattner
Steve Rattner of Willett Advisors LLC, told The Daily Ticker that fundamental changes are needed in U.S. tax policy, education, infrastructure, investment, and training, or else there's the risk of civil unrest and "more punitive legislation," that could target the wealthy.
Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate and former third-party presidential candidate, is pushing for a billionaire to run for U.S. president because he or she could be truly be independent of the pressures to raise money for a campaign and therefore serve the greater good.
Task says people need to vote for politicians who will serve their interests as opposed to "special interests."
But Phil Pearlman, Yahoo Finance's interactive editor says, "We'll go out and vote when it's bad enough."
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