There's been an explosion of wealth creation in the U.S. in recent years. But it's not about trickle-down economics. It's more a matter of gusher-up capitalism, rivaling the days a century ago when business barons such as Carnegie, Ford and Rockefeller built empires and fortunes. Microsoft founder and entrepeneur-turned-philantrophist Bill Gates has actually managed to amass a fortune rivaling those of that gilded age.
The stock and real estate markets -- at least until recently -- soared for years, creating billions in wealth. Forget about CEO pay. What's a $200-plus million severance package for the head of a Dow 30 component, when hedge fund managers are routinely making that kind of money in a year. Three made a billion dollars or more last year. The high-flying world of private equity is also creating billions in income.