Richest 7 Percent Got Richer During Recovery, Report Says

English: Map of the United States.

English: Map of the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The richest Americans got richer during the first two years of the economic recovery while average net worth declined for the other 93 percent of U.S. households, says a report released today.

The upper 7 percent of households owned 63 percent of the nation’s total household wealth in 2011, up from 56 percent in 2009, said the report from the Pew Research Center, which analyzed new Census Bureau data released last month.

The main reason for the widening wealth gap is that affluent households typically own stocks and other financial holdings that increased in value, while the less wealthy tend to have more of their assets in their homes, which haven’t rebounded from the plunge in home values, the report said.

Tuesday’s report is the latest to point up financial inequality that has been growing among Americans for decades, a development that helped fuel the Occupy Wall Street protests.

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World’s 100 Richest People Got $241 Billion Richer In 2012

The richest people on the planet got even richer in 2012, adding $241 billion to their collective net worth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s 100 wealthiest individuals.

The aggregate net worth of the world’s top 100 stood at $1.9 trillion at the market close Dec.

Bill Gates in Poland

Bill Gates in Poland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

31, according to the index. Of the people who appeared on the final ranking of 2012, only 16 registered a net loss for the 12-month period.

“Last year was a great one for the world’s billionaires,” said John Catsimatidis, the billionaire owner of Red Apple Group Inc., in an email written poolside on his BlackBerry in the Bahamas.  “In 2013, they will continue looking for investments around the world — and not necessarily in U.S. — that will give them an advantage.”

Amancio Ortega, the Spaniard who founded retailer Inditex, was the year’s biggest gainer.  The 76-year-old tycoon’s fortune increased to $57.5 billion, a gain of $22.2 billion, according to the index, as shares of the retailer that operates the Zara clothing chain rose 66.7%.

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Hollywood’s War Of The Wages

Jennifer Lopez at ISC Miami.

Image via Wikipedia

The second season of a Simon Cowell-free “American Idol” started this week. Cowell ditched the popular talent show last year to launch a U.S. version of his British music competition “The X Factor,” which he vowed would attract 20 million viewers. It fell short, topping out at 12 million. Now there’s word that the new “American Idol” judges, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, had been joking backstage that they would be “devastated” if they didn’t get 20 million viewers. (They did for the season premiere, but just barely.)

Lopez may be winning the ratings war, but Cowell is winning the war of the wages. The music executive earned $90 million last year thanks to “The X Factor,” which he owns a share of, and his record label, Syco. Lopez earned $25 million. Most of that came from “Idol” but she also has several movies coming out and a new clothing line.

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