Bloomberg Index Makes It Easier to Hate Billionaires
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Ever wanted to track the day-to-day ups and downs in the bank accounts of the world's filthiest rich billionaire capitalists? Well, look no further than Bloomberg.
The news service has created the Bloomberg Billionaires Index to provide a daily update and re-ranking (if necessary) of the 20-richest people in the world.
In the inaugural Billionaires Index published using data as of March 2, Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim was No. 1, with a net worth of $68.5 billion. Slim's net worth fell by $478.4 million on March 2 in hitting the $68.5 billion mark.Poor Carlos, what a rough 24 hours it was for him. On the other hand, for the average Mexican existing in a world where inflation in the price of a corn tortilla can wreak havoc on finances, if he had been able to monitor this index from March 1 to March 2, it may have been reason to high five his neighbor as Slim took it on the billionaire chin. Coming in at No. 2 and No. 3 on the billionaires index were Microsoft's (MSFT) Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaways's (BRK.B) Warren Buffett. No surprises here, as No. 1 through No. 3 are a repeat of the annual ranking of billionaires published by Forbes. It's hard to handicap who will hate or enjoy this billionaires index the most. Will the 1% that the billionaires represent be the most incensed that Bloomberg will be shining a light on their ridiculous wealth on a daily basis? Certainly that would not be the case with Buffett, who wants to shine a light on all that money and raise taxes on the elite. On the other hand, Buffett has never looked kindly on the short-term market mentality, so a daily index is unlikely to get the Buffett seal of approval. Buffett would probably look more kindly on a data tool that would track billionaire wealth on a philanthropy-adjusted basis. After all, Buffett and Gates come out looking better than Slim when all of their charitable giving is taken into account. (See that photo of Buffett above? That's him talking about his wealth relative to Slim, and at the same time, making a subtle reference to the size of Slim's heart relative to his.) To be fair, in recent years and in response to criticism as his wealth has ballooned, Slim has made an effort to increase his philanthropic initiatives. In any event, it may not lead to salivation on the part of the billionaire-envious or billionaire haters club for Bloomberg to create the Big-Hearted Billionaire Index, but it's a thought for the news and data service as it adds to this index family.
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