Forbes Action Campaign

Take Action!

This week, Forbes magazine released its annual list of the 400 wealthiest Americans. Their self-proclaimed “definitive scorecard of wealth in America” spins a misleading tale of what it takes to make the list, calculatedly glamorizing the “winners” in today’s economy without telling the real story of wealth and opportunity in the U.S. The truth is, not everyone in America has an equal opportunity to become wealthy. Learn more with UFE's report, Born on Third Base: What the Forbes 400 Really Says About Economic Equality and Opportunity in America.

Tell Forbes to tell the whole story of wealth in the U.S.,
not just the glamorized success of the top 0.1 percent.

Sign our petition and here's what your email to Forbes will say:

Dear Forbes Magazine,

You missed a few things on your list of the 400 Wealthiest Americans. I just signed this petition through United for a Fair Economy and I hope you will tell the whole story of wealth in America.

The truth is, not everyone in America has an equal opportunity to become wealthy. Here’s where Forbes’ analysis is falling short:

  1. Rather than concocting fables about our “opportunity society,” Forbes should get real about the birthright privileges enjoyed by many of those on the list. Roughly 40% of the 2011 Forbes list inherited a sizeable asset from a spouse or partner, with 20% being born right onto the list.
  2. You are less likely now than ever before to make the Forbes 400. In the 30 years since Forbes first published its list, the threshold for making the list has increased from $75 million in 1982, to where everyone on the list is a billionaire in 2011. 
  3. Forbes’ fable only focuses on the winners in today’s economy and ignores the economic realities facing groups under-represented on the list. Just 10% of the Forbes 400 are women and of those, nearly 90% inherited their fortunes.  In 2011, only one black person made the list—highlighting the persistent racial wealth divide in America.  
  4. Each story Forbes puts forth calculatedly glamorizes the “self-made man” narrative while minimizing the myriad of factors that enable wealth. In 2011, Forbes concluded that 282 billionaires on its list—70%—were “self-made.” By using such a loaded term, Forbes is neglecting to tell the whole story of how the Forbes 400 amassed their fortunes, including the many ways in which government policies and infrastructure played a role in their success.

If the Forbes 400 is going to be the “ultimate scorecard of wealth” in America, it should tell the story of the winners and those who can’t even play the game.


[your name here]