Billionaires double since financial crisis

NEW YORK (CNN) – Luxury cars, big yachts, bigger homes, its fast times for the super rich.  Even during five years of economic shock, the super rich got richer.  Widening the gap with the very poor.

The charity Oxfam is calling for action, to address the ever widening wealth gap, which it says is creating serious economic instability.

“First, we need to close tax loop holes that seriously wealthy and corporations use. We need to protect natural resources in countries that have them. That money needs to stay there so it can build healthy economies. I’m thinking oil and gas wealth in particular. Third, we need to raise the minimum wage,” Paul O’Brien of Oxfamamerica said.

A major new report from Oxfam, entitled ‘Even it Up’, includes these claims:

The total wealth of today’s billionaires increased by 124 percent in the last four years to around 5.4 trillion dollars.

The number of billionaires has doubled since the economic crisis began to 1,645 people.

A tax several years ago of just 1.5 percent on the world’s billionaires could save 23 million lives by investing that money in healthcare.

“Last year we had $159 billion sitting in tax havens that could have been spent on poverty reduction. That money is more than every single dollar than was spent by every single donor globally for fighting poverty and humanitarian emergencies around the world,” O’Brien continued.

Of course some billionaires already agree with paying more tax, including Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

While Pope Francis has stated that quote: ‘inequality is the root of social evil’.  But reports like ‘even it up’ often come out and sink without a trace.

This time, Oxfam says with everyone from president Obama to the pope to some of the richest people on earth talking about wealth and poverty.

There may just be a consensus growing to tackle the extremes.

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