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A Tragic Blow To My Billionaire Fantasy Pick

As I opened my mail today I saw the report flashing across my screen – “Gates No Longer World’s Richest Man.” I was heartbroken. I’ve been putting Billy G. at the top of my list for about a decade now, and I have never been wrong, until now. Matthew Miller of Forbes.com reported that Gates’ best buddy Warren Buffet is now holder of the title – World’s Richest Man.

The mastermind of Berkshire Hathaway Buffet is rolling himself up in blankets made of share price supported wealth. Yes, I said share price because that is how Forbes calculated the wealth of the individuals on the list (+ outside main company holdings). Combined with outside Berkshire Hathaway holdings Buffet is worth roughly $62 billion in U.S. greenbacks. The even more diminishing return of the new list is that Gates isn’t even numero dos. No, that honor goes to Senor Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico.

He’s the “telecom tycoon” of Mexico, according to Forbes.com. My boy Gates comes in at 3 with about US$58 billion in the virtual pocket.

Carlos took him out with US$60 billion.

Now the real kicker to this story (if you’ve been keeping up till now) is Buffet and Helu all posted huge gains over the past year, and are poised to make even more money in years to come. Microsoft share prices actually went down because of the bid to Yahoo (unsolicited), otherwise Gates would still be at the top. Billy Boy was actually up US$2 billion from last year’s count. Gates lost share price, and still gained in overall dollars. Gotta love virtual money.

I know what you must be thinking, “How can I buy some stock in Berkshire Hathaway? I gotta get in on that.” Well sorry to burst the middle-class bubble but unless you have about $170,000 U.S. greenies kicking around you can’t buy a share. According to this story, share prices in Berkshire were at an all-time high of US$165,000 per share in December of 2007 (now you’re looking at like US$137,100). Better off trying Microsoft at US$37 per share. That’s why I still love Billy G. You can actually buy some of the company and feel like you’re apart of the high life.

So, I think to myself, “Wow! Someone is making money in the U.S…I thought there was a recession…? I thought people were losing homes…? I thought banks, airplanes, and job rates were falling…S?@T!!!! I must be really out of touch – Isn’t the U.S. fighting like 2 wars right now?!? I guess things aren’t so bad. Also, didn’t people get back like US$600 in stimulus? What am I doing in slow-moving Japan teaching English?” Ooops, then I jumped back into reality and realized who is in charge of the U.S. right now – George “I can’t even describe my contempt for him” Bush. All I’ll say is, gotta love fascist politicking.

If you want to see the list of those richer than you check it out. 5 notable notes from the Top 25

1) The gap from Bill Gates at ‘3rd Place’ to ‘4th Place’ is US$13 billion (from ‘1st Place’ to ‘3rd Place’ is US$4 billion);

2) India has 4 people in the Top 10;

3) China cracks the Top 25 with ’11th Place’ with a brotha from Hong Kong;

4) 7 out of the Top 25 are from Russia (Putin doesn’t jail all the rich people…Only those who oppose him.); and

5) The lone representative from the Middle East – Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud of Saudi Arabia (With petroleum trading at about US$110 per barrel, according to Bloomberg, things are pretty cushy in The Kingdom.)


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