As if they needed more recognition showered upon them. But congratulations are in order to a few select individuals who have made the cut as the richest Americans: the investor-turned-local-newspaper-mogul, the brothers most famous for bankrolling Tea Party groups, the three-term mayor of New York City and the philanthropic co-founder of Microsoft.
On Wednesday, Forbes released its latest snapshot of the wealthiest people in the United States — featuring a number of faces that have become mainstays on the various “Most Powerful” or “Influential” lists regularly found in glossy magazines. Microsoft’s Bill Gates once again is ranked as the richest American with an estimated net worth of $66 billion dollars. He tops Forbes‘ U.S.-centric list for the 19th year in a row, but he can’t manage to catch up to the world’s richest man Carlos Slim. The Mexican business and telecom mogul currently has an estimated net worth of $75.5 billion, according to Bloomberg’s daily Index.
Warren Buffett, the investor that became the face of the president’s push to increase the tax rate for the wealthy with his “Stop Coddling the Super Rich” op-ed, clocks in on the list at #2 with a $46 billion net worth. Recently, Buffett has been using some relative pocket change to snap up dozens of local newspapers, making an optimistic bet they’ll be worth more in the long haul.
Taking the bronze is Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, worth $41 billion. Ellison forwent trying to roll-up his sleeves and save the newspaper industry, opting instead just decided to buy an entire Hawaiian island for himself.
Rounding out the top five are Charles and David Koch, the two brothers that liberal groups love to hate for their continued funding of a variety of conservative causes. They each have an estimated $31 billion to fall back on should President Obama eke out a win over Mitt Romney this fall. (Fellow major financier of anti-Obama election efforts, Sheldon Adelson, ranks at #12 on the list with $20.5 billion.)
The complete list of wealthiest Americans — including Mayor Bloomberg and his $25 billion bank account — can be found here. Interestingly, the keepers of the of the data at Forbes have noted a not-exactly-surprising, but revealing, trend going on since they started keeping all these lists:
Forbes launched its definitive ranking of the nation’s super rich in 1982. Back then the price of admission into this most exclusive of clubs was a mere $75 million of net worth. Even after adjusting for inflation, this year’s entry fee ($1.1 billion) is roughly six times what it was 30 years ago.
That should make for interesting data point in some campaign memos as the income inequality debate reaches a fever pitch in the seven weeks remaining before the presidential election.