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Millionaires take a beating, but billionaires rake in the cash

September 17, 2012|By David Lazarus
  • Times are tough for mere millionaires, but billionaires are doing better than ever.
Times are tough for mere millionaires, but billionaires are doing better… (Wily Walnut )

In case you were wondering, it's a swell time to be a billionaire.

But it kind of stinks to be a mere millionaire.

Market researcher Wealth-X says the number of people with at least $30 million in ready cash climbed to 187,380 last year but their total wealth fell 1.8% to $25.8 trillion, which is nevertheless still more than the combined economies of America and China.

Taking the biggest hit were those with fortunes ranging from $200 million to $499 million. Their ranks fell by about 10% and the size of their wads dropped 11.4%.


Way-rich billionaires, on the other hand, are doing just fine, thank you very much. The number of billionaires worldwide rose 9.4% to 2,160 and their wealth grew 14% to $6.2 trillion.

Rich people in Asia -- millionaires and billionaires -- seem to be having the roughest go of it. Their wealth declined almost 7% to $6.25 trillion due to weaker equity markets and lower export demand from the West.

Times are also tough for rich folk in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. But rich people in North America saw their fortunes grow 2.8% to $8.88 trillion.

So you can see why there's so much talk in conservative circles about tax cuts for this crowd.

Billionaire job creators have earned it. And millionaires need all the help they can get.

And you and me -- well, we'll just keep making do.

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