On Tuesday, Forbes released its annual list of the top 400 rich, richer, and richest Americans, and, once again, Seattle is the big winner—at least if your name is Bill Gates, who made the top spot, or Jeff Bezos, who came in second. (The rest of us are still pretty fucked.)
"It was another record year for the wealthiest people in America," Forbes' Kerry A. Dolan and Luisa Kroll write, "as the price of admission to the country’s most exclusive club jumped nearly 18 percent. The minimum net worth to make The Forbes 400 list of richest Americans is now a record $2 billion, up from $1.7 billion a year ago. The group’s total net worth climbed to $2.7 trillion, up from $2.4 trillion, and the average net worth rose to $6.7 billion, up from $6 billion."
That's right: These 400 mostly white dudes have a combined net worth of $2.7 trillion. The federal government's entire mandatory spending budget—which includes funding for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment, labor, veterans benefits, and education—is $2.5 trillion.
Even crazier, both the top two live in a state with no goddamn income or capital gains tax, and while Gates has said on the record that he supports higher taxes for the rich, Bezos helped fund the opposition to a 2010 initiative that would that have imposed Washington's first income tax.
There are also differences in the two men's philanthropic giving. Gates has committed to giving a majority of his wealth to charity (and has already given an estimated $18 billion to the Gates Foundation), while the Amazon overlord is decidely less generous. As The New York Times reported in June, Bezos is "the only one of the top five billionaires in America who has not signed the Giving Pledge, the promise created by Mr. Gates and Warren Buffett for the superrich to give away at least half of their wealth."
There is, however, one bright spot to this otherwise sorry list: Donald Trump, who apparently lost $600 million this year, fell 92 spots.