No news here ... Gates still richest
It's not news that Bill Gates is the richest person in America, according to Forbes magazine's annual list of the nation's 400 richest people...
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — It's not news that Bill Gates is the richest person in America, according to Forbes magazine's annual list of the nation's 400 richest people, released Thursday. He has been for 13 years.
The news is: On this list, $999 million is chump change.
For the first time, all 400 Gotbucks on the Forbes tally are billionaires, from Gates (worth $53 billion) down to the bottom, Los Angeles semiconductor magnate Sehat Sutardja ($1 billion).
It's not just the accumulated wealth that draws attention to the list; it's the eye-popping numbers that show the speed with which wealth is gained — and lost — at the dawn of this millennium. For instance, according to Forbes:
• Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson (No. 3, $20.5 billion) has made $1 million per hour over the past two years.
• Google Inc. founders Sergey Brin (No. 12, $14.1 billion) and Larry Page (No. 13, $14 billion) have each made $13 million per day over the past two years.
• Martha Stewart dropped off the list after losing nearly $400 million over just the past year.
Other Washington state billionaires on the list are:
5. Paul Allen, 53, $16 billion, Microsoft, investments
15. Steve Ballmer, 50, $13.6 billion, Microsoft
70. Jeffrey Bezos, 42, $3.6 billion, Amazon
153. Craig McCaw, 57, $2.1 billion, McCaw Cellular
278. James Jannard, 57, $1.4 billion, Oakley
354. John Edson, 74, $1.1 billion, leisure craft
354. Howard Schultz, 53, $1.1 billion, Starbucks
374. Charles Simonyi, 58, $1 billion, Microsoft
Forbes has been publishing the list since 1982, when only 13 billionaires were listed.
The growth in the number of billionaires has been significantly aided by cuts in U.S. tax rates that allow the wealthy to keep more of their money, said Harvard University economics professor Larry Katz.
Today's marginal tax rates for the richest Americans are about 40 percent, down from more than 60 percent 25 years ago.
Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.