What Recession? Forbes Names Wealthiest Americans

With high-profile talk show hosts focusing on the plight of ordinary American citizens in the economic downturn, trying in their own way to help people cope, one may be led to conclude that hard times have hit everyone to a lesser or greater degree. However, with the release of Forbes magazine’s annual list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, it’s become clear that this is not the case. Despite the ailing economy, which is battling a rocky road to recovery, the Forbes list reveals that the rich got even richer in the past year. Meanwhile, as is highlighted by home foreclosures, unemployment benefit claims and drop in consumer spending, it appears that some of the middle-class has joined the ranks of the poor, and the poor got poorer.

It comes as no surprise that Bill Gates, the founder of the world’s largest software maker, Microsoft, once again tops the list as the richest man in America. His fortune has climbed from $50 billion in 2009, to $54 billion when reviewed for 2010. Proving that not everyone has taken a knock with the volatility of the stock market, Warren Buffet comes in at second place with a net worth of $45 billion. Next in line is the chief executive of integrated business software and hardware systems company Oracle, Larry Ellison, at $20 billion. Placed at 4th wealthiest is Christy Walton of retail giant Wal-Mart, with various members of her family taking places 7, 8 and 9. Fifth place was shared by Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries, having seen their individual personal fortunes climb from $5.5 billion in 2009 to $21.5 billion each in 2010. The mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, came in at 10th place with $18 billion to his name.

Notable additions to the Forbes list include Dustin Moskovitz and Eduardo Saverin of Facebook fame. While Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg claimed the largest percentage increase on the list, taking 35th place. There were 16 new members, with 34 falling off the list. The finance and investment industries dominated the list with a combined total of 109 members coming from these sectors of the economy.

Visit the Forbes Website for the complete list of America’s wealthiest people.