The Occupy Wall Street crowd is directing their anger at the 1%.   President Obama repeats a mantra that all he is asking is for the Wealthiest 1% to simply do their “fair share”.  Who are these 1%?   To put names with the 1% tag line, I perused Forbes list of the Wealthiest 300 Americans.  Below is a list of a few of them, and included in the list is the source of their wealth creation.  I am struck by two major themes:

1.     In most cases, the wealth is “first generation”, meaning these individuals created their wealth from humble beginnings.  They didn’t inherit businesses or family wealth.   America remains a land where average Americans can achieve wealth beyond their wildest imaginations.

2.     The contributions to society that resulted from these individuals are monumental.   They are doing more than their “fair share” to improve lives of countless people across the globe.   Given the effect their wealth creation is having on society, would transferring a higher portion of their wealth to government result in a better outcome?

Examples of 1st generation wealth who made enormous contributions to society:

#1 Bill Gates, #23 Paul Allen , and #19 Steve Ballmer of Microsoft

#2 Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway

#3 Larry Ellison of Oracle

#12 Michael Bloomberg of Bloomberg (a Financial Service IT platform)

#13 Jeff Bezos of Amazon

#14 Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook

#15 Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google

#18 Michael Dell of Dell

#24 Phil Knight of Nike

#327Rupert Murdoch Media

#39 Phil Anschutz of Railroad and Telecom fame

#49 Steve Jobs Apple

#34 Charles Ergor EchoStar

#48 Leonard Alan Lauder of Estee Lauder

#52 Ralph Lauren Fashion

#69 John Malone, the king of Cable TV networks

#107 George Lucas of Star Wars fame

#117 Steven Spielberg of Hollywood fame

#139 Oprah Winfrey

#212 Ted Turner, creator of CNN and other CATV brands

I picked these examples because of the names of the individuals or their companies are recognizable.    Others on the list made their money through retail (e.g., several Walmart family members are on list), hotels (e.g., Marriott), real estate (e.g., Trump), casinos, oil, candy, supermarkets, media, hedge fund investing, and even the rental car business.  We should admire the people on this list, especially the ones whose ideas are bettering society.  We should be proud we live in a society that produces so many self-made billionaires.

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