America’s 400 richest people

Published on Intrepid Report, by Jerry Mazza, September 30, 2011.

The much-touted new feudalism can be best defined in my mind by the 46 million poor in America, the largest number ever who, unlike the serfs of old do not possess a plot of land granted to them by the lord of the manner to work and give a tithe of income to, while the lord keeps the rest. More and more, the middle and working classes are descending through joblessness and disproportionate percentages of taxes and debt to the ranks of the poor. This while we have the industrial-military-complex (the knights and barons of old), sitting in oceans of money, half the nation’s spending plus dark funds flowing in from illegal drug, guns, human trafficking, and god knows where. 

But at the very top, the Lord class, we have Forbes 400 wealthiest people in America for 2011, having earned a combined amount of $1.53 trillion, nearly the GDP of Canada. “Their total wealth,” according to Forbes, “is up 12% in the year through August 26, when we took a snapshot of everyone’s net worth, meaning these affluent folks did slightly better than the markets; the S&P 500, for instance, was up 10% in that time.” So despite market plunges, the anointed did 2% better, while millions of others lost money (depleting IRA’s and stock portfolios), including those of seniors and others who depended on them for income and future retirement funds.

Forbes writes, “But it’s not simply a case of the rich getting richer. The Forbes 400 gets more meritocratic over time. An all-time high of 70% of this year’s list is self-made, up from 55% in 1997.” Curiously this meritocracy, an oligarchy by any other name—this Top 400 wealthiest Americans’ income rises on the back of 30 years of tax cuts to the richest and increased taxes to the middle and working classes … //

… Lastly, remember history’s revolutions, including the social-media-made in Egypt; and the historic French, American, the Russian revolutions, and how quickly societies were and are turned upside-down. To Forbes, I say thank you for presenting this insider look at the up-siders. To readers, try to get your hands on a copy and study it. Somehow, it still seems to revel in the shark-like success of its subjects. After all, for many years Forbes billed itself as the “Capitalist Tool.” But perhaps the rich should focus now on the toxic new feudalism they have created to see how they can reform it and themselves. If not, history has a way of repeating itself, especially if its lessons are not learned. (full long text).

(Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer, life-long resident of New York City. An EBook version of his book of poems “State Of Shock,” on 9/11 and its after effects is now available at and He has also written hundreds of articles on politics and government as Associate Editor of Intrepid Report (formerly Online Journal). Reach him here).

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