The Wealth of America's Three Richest Families Grew By 6,000% Since 1982

The Koch Brothers at Lincoln Center
The three wealthiest US families are the Waltons of Walmart, the Mars candy family, and the Koch brothers.’ Photograph: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Lincoln Center

It hardly makes news any more that the US is becoming an extremely unequal country.
Each year new eye-popping statistics juxtapose the reality of decades of stagnant wages for half the country’s workers with today’s extreme concentrations of wealth and power.
The top three wealthiest billionaires in the US – Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett – now have as much wealth as the bottom half of the US population combined.
This is possible because the bottom fifth of US households are underwater, with zero or negative net worth. And the next fifth has so few assets to fall back on that they live in fear of destitution.
“We’re developing into a plutocracy,” said the former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker.
One troubling indicator that we are drifting toward a society governed by the wealthy is the expanding fortunes of multi-generational wealth dynasties.
The three wealthiest US families are the Waltons of Walmart, the Mars candy family and the Koch brothers, heirs to the country’s second largest private company, the energy conglomerate Koch Industries. These are all enterprises built by the grandparents and parents of today’s wealthy heirs and heiresses.
These three families own a combined fortune of $348.7 billion, which is 4 million times the median wealth of a US family.
 
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The wealth of America’s three richest families grew by 6,000% since 1982
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