layoffs.jpgEvery year the Forbes list of the richest Americans comes out, and every year we’re astonished at how these individuals can sit atop so much wealth.

Recessions typically have little impact on such fortunes, but for the people who work for these moguls it’s another story.

The top five riches in the United States are:

*Microsoft’s Bill Gates
*Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett
*Oracle’s Larry Ellison
*Walmart’s Christy Walton
*Koch Industries’s Charles Koch.

Since the recession began, all five of the companies where these individual’s derived their wealth have been responsible for tens of thousands of layoffs combined in this country.

Just a few of their billions could have gone to save some of those jobs. I’m not saying that’s what they should of done, but I do wonder how some of these folks sleep at night.

Yes, they give money to charities and that’s a great thing. Just this week, Facebook tycoon Mark Zuckerberg, who is 35th on the list with $6.9 billion, announced he’ll be giving $100 million to Newark, NJ, schools; and earlier this year Gates and Buffett asked the nation’s billionaires to pony up half of their net worth to charity either soon, or after they pass away.

It’s a great gesture, especially during an economic downturn, but waiting for the richest people to die before they’re money can start being pumped back into the economy, and into their pet charities, seems like an ineffective way of really helping the disenfranchised among us now.

I’m thinking if those tens of thousands of jobless workers from Microsoft, Berkshire, Walmart, Oracle and Koch still had their jobs they’d be spending money in their communities, paying taxes, and contributing to the economy right now, without waiting for handouts from the government or the nation’s richest some day.

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