Bill Gates remains America’s wealthiest man as George Soros joins the elite
BILL Gates has again topped the American rich list with a net worth of $59bn, up $5bn. The Microsoft founder has been the wealthiest American every year since 1994.
Everyone in the top 20 saw their wealth rise in the past 12 months with the exception of investor Warren Buffett.
He was his fortune fall by $6bn to $39bn as the value of his shares in Berkshire Hathaway dropped.
But coming in at number seven, George Soros records a fortune of $22bn.
He’s added $7.8bn to his net worth thanks to investments in gold and related securities as well as equities.
Soros switched to cash in the spring, allowing him to preserve his gains and miss market turmoil caused by the sovereign debt crisis in Europe.
The Forbes list comes as President Obama has proposed higher taxes on millionaires so they pay at least the same rate as middle-class Americans, something he called the 'Buffett rule'.
But unlike Mr Buffett, Tea Party backers David and Charles Koch want Washington to tax them less as their cash pile increases.
The brothers' wealth from conglomerate Koch Industries pushed them into fourth place with $25bn each, each up $3.5bn from last year.
In third place was Oracle founder Larry Ellison, whose wealth increased $6bbn to $33 bn.
Christy Walton, heir to Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton's fortune, dropped to sixth place at $24.5 billion despite a $500 million increase in wealth.
Casino owner Sheldon Adelson was in eighth place with a fortune of $21.5 billion, up $6.8 billion.
Jim and Alice Walton, also of the Wal-Mart family, were ninth and 10th at $21.1 billion and $20.9 billion respectively. Jim Walton's fortune increased by $1 billion while Alice Walton enjoyed a $900 million gain.