Bernie Sanders opened the second Democratic debate by announcing that the three wealthiest Americans have more wealth than the bottom half of all Americans. It’s a statement he’s made before, referring to billionaires Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett. And according to the fact-checking news organization Politifact, Sanders is right.
In 2018, Forbes said that Bezos and his family are worth $160 billion, Gates is worth $97 billion, and Buffett is worth $88 billion. That comes to a total of $345 billion dollars.
The Guardian reported that Bezos’ ex, MacKenzie Bezos, will receive $36 billion in their divorce. That would drop his worth to a paltry $124 billion, and the total worth of Bezos, Gates and Buffett to $309 billion.
But that still makes their combined wealth significantly higher than the roughly $250 billion in combined wealth for the bottom half of Americans, according to a study by the Institute for Policy Studies. The institute is a progressive think tank.
Politifact has rated Sanders’ statement as true.
Sanders statement kicked off an often contentious second debate between the Democratic presidential candidates. But Sanders’ statement set the tone as Democrats argued about student loans, whether frontrunner Joe Biden should “pass the torch” to a new generation of leaders, and how to get more wealth and security into the hands of the Americans who have no wealth, or owe money.
As the Institute reported, “almost one in five American households now resides in our Underwater Nation. These households often have no savings at all or owe more than they own.”