2020 was a good year for Michigan billionaires – richest people made $ 45 billion


As of August 5, 2020, Dan Gilbert was worth around $ 7.5 billion. On August 20, it was worth $ 45 billion.

Forbes published his List of global billionaires this week, noting that 86% of the richest people in the world are richer than they were a year ago. The world now has 2,755 billionaires, 660 more than last year.

2020 was a good year to become a billionaire – and Michigan’s richest were no exception.

Gilbert, co-founder of Quicken Loans / Rocket Companies and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, was the biggest winner. The bulk of the increase is credited to his company offering shares on the New York Stock Exchange for the first time in early August.

Gilbert gained more wealth in 2020 than Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Warren Buffet, who placed fourth, fifth and sixth on Forbes List. Gilbert ranks 23rd, making him the richest person in Michigan.

As millions of people struggled during the pandemic, the rich got richer.

“It’s easier to make money when you are rich,” said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness. “These people don’t get their fortunes from their paychecks, they get their wealth from their assets.”

Rich people get most of their money from real estate, stocks, businesses they own, and other assets. Many of these regions experienced strong growth in 2020 despite record unemployment and the financial ruin of many small businesses.

Is it time for a wealth tax?

Democrats threw the idea of ​​a wealth tax on the wealthiest Americans. Clemente agrees, but says it might take some time before lawmakers get to grips with the idea.

“Congress has not taken cognizance of the public’s situation on this matter,” Clemente said. “And honestly, I’m stumped on that, I really don’t understand why.”

The proposed annual tax would charge 2% on a person’s wealth between $ 50 million and $ 1 billion and 3% on all wealth above $ 1 billion. He would raise over $ 2 billion on his own from Michigan’s handful of billionaires, speak Americans for Tax Fairness.

“Yeah, they take a hit,” Clemente said. “But in a lot of cases, it’s really a crush. It doesn’t kill them at all.

Matthew Roling, assistant business professor at Wayne State University, said there was a “0% chance that a wealth tax would occur.” Wealth is a moving target because much of it is tied to stocks, which oscillate daily, Roling said.

“I don’t even think that’s the politics of the issue,” Roling said. “I think a wealth tax is incredibly difficult to achieve or enforce.”

The most likely solution is to increase the capital gains tax – so people have to pay the same percentage of tax on stock and asset gains as they do on their paychecks, said Roling.

“In the minds of a lot of people, it’s incredibly unfair the way it’s structured today, because it punishes labor and rewards capital,” Roling said. “The underlying implication… is that money is more important than people’s time.”

President Joe Biden unveiled his plan last month to cancel some of Donald Trump’s corporate tax cuts. A separate plan is expected this month, targeting how rich people are taxed, Clemente said.

The success of Michigan billionaires

Below is a list of Michigan billionaires, how they fared in 2020, and how much they would pay if a wealth tax were implemented.

Mat Ishbia, president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, is new to the list in 2021. UWM went public in January, raising its wealth similar to Gilbert’s.

The net worth numbers below are from Forbes’ latest Billionaire List. Wealth tax estimates come from Americans for Tax Fairness.

Forbes billionaire ranking: 23rd (230th in 2020)

Industry: Co-founder of Quicken Loans and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers

Age: 59

Residence: Franklin

Net worth 2020: $ 6.5 billion

Net worth 2021: $ 51.9 billion (up 698%)

Estimated wealth tax, if adopted: $ 1.3 billion

Hank Meijer speaks at the grand opening of Bridge Street Market in Grand Rapids in this 2017 file photo (Neil Blake | MLive.com)Neil Blake | MLive

Forbes billionaire ranking: 171st (133rd in 2020)

Industry: The Meijer brothers took over the Meijer supermarket chain from their father in 1990 and remain on the board of directors.

Age: 60’s

Residence: Grand Rapids

Net worth 2020: $ 10.2 billion

Net worth 2021: $ 12.6 billion (up 23.5%)

Estimated wealth tax, if adopted: $ 295 million

Mat Ishbia

United Wholesale Mortgage (NYSE: UWMC) rings the opening bell® The New York Stock Exchange welcomes United Wholesale Mortgage (NYSE: UWMC) today, Friday, January 22, 2021, to celebrate its listing. To honor the occasion, Mat Ishbia, President and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, accompanied by John Tuttle, NYSE Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, rang The Opening Bell®. Photo credit: NYSENYSE

Forbes billionaire ranking: 234th (was not a billionaire in 2020)

Industry: President and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage

Age: 41

Residence: Bloomfield Hills

Net worth 2020: Unavailable.

Net worth 2021: $ 9.7 billion

Estimated wealth tax, if adopted: Unavailable.

Ronda Stryker

Ronda Stryker, philanthropist best known for her work in higher education. (Mark Bugnaski | MLive.com)Kalamazoo Gazette

Forbes billionaire ranking: 404th (414th in 2020)

Industry: Director of the medical equipment company Stryker Corp.

Age: 66

Residence: Portage

Net worth 2020: $ 4.3 billion

Net worth 2021: $ 6.5 billion (up 51.2%)

Estimated wealth tax, if adopted: $ 187 million

Forbes billionaire ranking: 807th (484th in 2020)

Industry: Co-founder of Little Caesars Pizza, owner of the Detroit Red Wings and MotorCity Casino Hotel (the Detroit Tigers are now in a family trust, following the death of her husband Mike)

Age: 88

Residence: Bingham Farms

Net worth 2020: $ 3.8 billion

Net worth 2021: $ 3.7 billion (down 2.6%)

Estimated wealth tax, if adopted: $ 111 million

Roger penske

In this January 15, 2020 file photo, Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske listens during a press conference at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis. (AP Photo / Darron Cummings)AP

Forbes billionaire ranking: 1517th (1851st in 2020)

Industry: Founder, President and CEO of Penske Automotive Group; owner of the Team Penske motor racing organization and owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series

Age: 84

Residence: Birmingham

Net worth 2020: $ 1.1 billion

Net worth 2021: $ 2.1 billion (up 90.9%)

Estimated wealth tax, if adopted: $ 45 million

Forbes billionaire ranking: 1,580th (1,001st in 2020)

Industry: CEO of plastic container manufacturer Plastipak

Age: 80

Residence: Ypsilanti

Net worth 2020: $ 2.1 billion

Net worth 2021: $ 2.0 billion (down 4.8%)

Estimated wealth tax, if adopted: $ 44 million

Forbes billionaire ranking: 1931st (1851st in 2020)

Industry: Founder and former chairman of the subprime auto lender Credit Acceptance Corp.

Age: 76

Residence: Farmington Hills

Net worth 2020: $ 1.1 billion

Net worth 2021: $ 1.6 billion (up 45.5%)

Estimated wealth tax, if adopted: $ 25 million

Forbes billionaire ranking: 2378th (1851st in 2020)

Industry: Co-owner of the family steel company, Zekelman Industries

Age: 58

Residence: Bloomfield Hills

Net worth 2020: $ 1.1 billion

Net worth 2021: $ 1.2 billion (up 9.1%)

Estimated wealth tax, if adopted: Unavailable.


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