Billionaires are very different from the rest of us in more ways than just their 10+ figure bank accounts. Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett are not just the three richest Americans; they are the richest, second richest, and fourth richest men in the world.
Bezos, Gates, and Buffett have a combined net worth of $255,000,000,000.
If you take a look at every single American billionaire and add up their combined wealth you get a staggering number that is more than the combined net worth of 160 million Americans in 53 million households. Wrap your mind around that. To put it another way, American billionaires have more combined wealth than the bottom 64% of the U.S. population. The bottom earning 64% of U.S. population is about 204 million people. That is more people than the combined populations of Mexico and Canada.
So that's the billionaires. Now let's look at the rest of us with our mortgages and car payments and student loans. The median American family income is $59,039. The median American family's net worth is $80,000—and this does not include the family car (which is likely leased anyway).
However, for many Americans, having a salary just under $60K and a net worth of $80,000 would be a dream. The real fact is that many American households fare much worse and live paycheck to paycheck. One in every five American households, or more than 19% of the population, have either a zero net worth or negative net worth. Sadly, this is disproportionately reflected in African American (30%) and Latino (27%) households in the U.S.
The lawmakers in Washington D.C. aren't doing the American taxpayers any favors in this regard. Current proposals for Federal tax reform could widen the massive wealth divide in the U.S.
Tax reform that could help lift some households out of a zero or negative net worth situation include setting higher tax rates for households earning more than $250,000.
The simple fact of the matter is that wealth inequality is on the rise. The rich are getting richer. The poor are getting poorer. The middle class is losing ground as the costs of living rise and wages stagnate. It is an American crisis.