Fifty dynastic billionaire families hold as much wealth as the bottom half of U.S. families. Their wealth grew at ten times the rate of ordinary families over the last 40 years.
IPS researchers found that by 2020, the 50 families had amassed $1.2 trillion in assets. For the 27 families on the Forbes 400 list in 1983, their combined wealth had grown by 1,007 percent, from $80.2 billion to $903.2 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars, and for the five wealthiest dynastic families, their wealth increased by a median 2,484 percent during 37 years. The Walton family led the pack with an increase of 4,320 percent, while the Mars candy family saw its wealth increase 3,517 percent.
While media attention focuses on first-generation billionaires – and their shocking tax avoidance as chronicled by ProPublica – we neglect to look at the troubling growth of dynastic families and the changes in tax policies that will enable the children of today’s billionaires to become tomorrow’s oligarchs.