Aug 13, 2011

Jewish Wealth, American Poverty



Jewish Wealth, American Poverty
(Aug. 5, 2011)

Here's an interesting fact to chew on:  The top 150 richest Jews in America have as much combined wealth as the poorest 180 million Americans.

Roughly, here's the calculation.  In 2010, the Forbes Top 400 wealthiest Americans had a combined net worth (assets minus debts) of $1.37 trillion.  As expected, many of them are Jews—in fact, 8 of the top 20, and 13 of the top 30.  The ten richest Jews of 2010 are:

•    Lawrence Ellison ($27 billion)
•    Michael Bloomberg ($18 billion)
•    Sergey Brin ($15 billion)
•    Larry Page ($15 billion)
•    Sheldon Adelson ($15 billion)
•    George Soros ($14 billion)
•    Michael Dell ($14 billion)
•    Steve Ballmer ($13 billion)
•    Don Bren ($12 billion)
•    Carl Icahn ($11 billion)

Not far behind are the likes of Mark Zuckerberg ($7 billion), Rupert Murdoch ($6 billion), Si Newhouse ($6 billion), and David Geffen ($5 billion).  Poor Steven Spielberg has to scrape by on $3 billion.

According to Jacob Berkman's analysis in 2009, at least 149 of the top 400 were Jewish ( ).  I'll round this number up to 150, assuming that at least one more Jew has cracked the top tier since then.

One hundred fifty people represent 37% of the top 400, and thus we can assume that they hold 37% of the $1.37 trillion — or, around $500 billion.  That's one half of a trillion dollars, held by just 150 of the richest Jewish-Americans.

Now let's look at the bulk of Americans.  According to NYU economist Edward Wolff, in a paper of March 2010, the bottom 40% of Americans had negative net worth—in other words, they owe more in debt than they have in assets.  Even the middle fifth —t he true 'middle class' — is mostly underwater, and shows net wealth only at the upper limit.  

Interpolating Wolff's numbers (I'll spare the reader the mathematical details), we can determine that we must sum the net wealth of the bottom 58% of Americans before attaining the figure of $500 billion — that amount owned by the top 150 Jews.  So:  58% of our total population of 310 million works out to 180 million people.  

One hundred and eighty million people, who struggle to survive day by day, can't pay for college, have no savings to speak of, can't retire with any semblance of security.  One hundred and fifty Jews, on the other hand, with an obscene amount of wealth.  

To be fair, we must point out that the top 150 Gentiles have even greater wealth, and this too is criminally unjust.  But this group represents, collectively, over 98% of the American population.  The wealthy Jews represent just 1.7%, and thus it is particularly astounding that such a small minority can come to occupy more than one-third of the places amongst the top 400 richest.  

And finally we must ask some pointed questions:  By what means was this massive Jewish wealth accumulated?  To what end is it being deployed?  Whose interests are fulfilled?  What larger social cause is served?  Is such wealth inequality not the result of a Jewish-inspired casino economy — one with 180 million 'losers'?  Does much of this wealth not go to 'buy' politicians, who then pass laws that sustain and exacerbate this very inequality?  Is not much of this wealth derived from war profiteering and near-suicidal empire building?  Does not such a transfer of wealth from the many to the few qualify as deeply criminal, and thus worthy of the harshest retribution?  What will it take, how much poverty and suffering can 180 million people endure, before they demand —before they take — action?

--Thomas Dalton, Ph.D
Author, Debating the Holocaust

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