Really Rich Back to Being…Rich

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The housing market is still a mess; foreclosures are mounting; unemployment hovers near 10 percent; and, as Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said just today, “Our economy is still going through an incredibly difficult period.” All of this stems from one of the worst financial crises in US history, a meltdown of epic proportions from which the country and the world has yet to fully recover.

That is, unless you’re really, really rich. Bloomberg reports today that the super wealthy’s riches have all but returned to their swollen, pre-meltdown levels, according to a report by Capgemini SA and Merrill Lynch. Of the 10 million people globally with $1 million or more to invest in whatever they want, their wealth rose nearly 19 percent in 2009, to $39 trillion. In 2007, just before the train sped off the cliff, that wealth was $40.7 trillion spread among 10.1 million really rich people. (Let’s not mention 2008—these 10 million people’s wealth amounted to only $32.8 trillion. A down year, there.)

Here’s more from Bloomberg:

The U.S. had 2.87 million millionaires, more than triple second-ranked Germany with 861,500, the report said. The number of millionaires in China soared 31 percent to 477,400, keeping the country ahead of the U.K. with 448,100.

Ultra-high net worth individuals with more than $30 million to invest saw their wealth rise by 21.5 percent in 2009, faster than other millionaires, according to the report, which attributed the gain to a “more effective re-allocation of assets.”

Huzzah! Now here’s a recovery you can believe in.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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