31 billionaires are worth more than the US Treasury

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Thirty-one billionaires are currently wealthier than the United States Treasury, which has only $38.8 billion in cash on hand as of Friday’s end. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that if the debt ceiling is not raised by June 5, the country will default on its obligations for the first time in history, sending shockwaves throughout the global economy.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, 18 Americans, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, are wealthier than their home nation. Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, as well as the Walton family behind Wal-Mart, can both claim to be wealthier than their country.

Bernard Arnault, the French CEO of luxury firm LVMH, dethroned Musk after Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, which he confessed was not “financially smart.”

While US President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached a tentative agreement to raise the debt ceiling over the weekend, the text of which was released on Sunday ahead of what is expected to be a House vote on Wednesday, many in both parties have raised concerns about some aspects of the agreement.

If the debt ceiling is not lifted by June 5, the Treasury will be unable to meet the $92 billion in expenditure commitments slated for that week, forcing it to select which obligations to keep. Economic experts predict that it would prioritize interest payments on its massive $31.8 trillion debt, which means that all non-interest payments – such as Social Security or Medicaid – will certainly dry up.

Credit rating agencies have already begun to prepare for the possibility of a default. The country’s AAA grade is being reviewed by Fitch and Morningstar. S&P Global has not followed suit, despite the fact that the US has been rated AA+ since a previous downgrade in 2011 that was never overturned.