Normally, when Forbes releases its annual list of the world's richest plutocrats, it's a cause for giddiness, a celebration of man's ineffable dominance over currency: Party hats are donned, sparklers are waved, Champagne is uncorked. And even if we personally don't have much money, we still wake up the next day with a little confetti in our hair. But not this year; the list is out, and the news is bad. Not only are there fewer billionaires this year (only 793, down from 1,125 a year ago), but they are lesser billionaires than they were the year before. To wit: World's Richest Man Bill Gates is worth $40 billion, but that's down $18 billion from last year. Runners-up Warren Buffett and Carlos Slim are both down $25 billion (and we fear the latter's recent investments might make matters worse for 2010). The Greatest Depression doesn't discriminate; everyone is hurting.
Well, everyone is hurting except one, very important person: Mayor Bloomberg! Last year at this time, he was worth $11.5 billion and was ranked the second-most wealthy billionaire in New York. This year, after he bought back 20 percent of his Bloomberg media company, his worth shot up to $16 billion, making him the richest New Yorker by about two billion dollars. David Koch, the previous No. 1, saw his fortunes decline along with most of his fellow billionaires. Mayor Bloomberg is now the seventeenth-richest man in the world.
Kind of makes sense why Anthony Weiner picked this week to back down from the next mayoral race, eh?
#17: Michael Bloomberg [Forbes]