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.

Back to the real world, I'd put my money on Brazilian mining billionaire Eike Batista -- who comes in at No. 10 in the index and plans to be the world's richest man by 2015 -- as representative of how the billionaire club views the new Bloomberg tool.

Batista seemed downright overjoyed by the index, and even provided a quote for the launch, saying, "I'm competitive ... It's Brazil's time to be No. 1. Brazilians have always admired the American dream. What's happening in Brazil is the Brazilian dream and I happen to be the example."

For those who saw the American dream crash and burn in the Great Recession and are still struggling to make ends meet, Bloomberg has provided a way for the 99% to track the pilfering of the world's wealth by the top of the economic pyramid. If Zuccotti Park is retaken, now the Occupy movement can bring a Jumbo-tron that displays the Bloomberg Billionaires Index in real-time.

Of course, the 99% would have to be able to afford a Bloomberg professional terminal to access the Billionaires Index, but that's another matter, and maybe one that a grant from George Soros' Open Society, or a check from honorable Mayor Michael Bloomberg (who needs some friends among those he "special forced" out of Zuccotti Park in the dead of night), could take care of.

In the final analysis, the most significant impact of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index may not be on the 1% or the 99%. It may make Forbes' legendary annual publishing event known as the Richest List obsolete. What's the point if Bloomberg is scooping Forbes on a daily basis? Maybe Forbes can launch a World's Poorest list. It's going to have to do something drastic to recover from this game of billionaire tracking one-upmanship.

In the mean time and at the end of the day -- the first day of the new world of billionaire wealth being a part of our real-time existence -- all that is left to do is to create an exchange-traded fund based on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, and of course an iPhone app, Twitter feed and Facebook page (Mark Zuckerberg didn't make the billionaires index cut, in case you were wondering).

Thanks to Bloomberg, it's the closest most of us will ever get to the high life of the billionaire set.

-- Written by Eric Rosenbaum from New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Eric Rosenbaum.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to Eric Rosenbaum.

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