Last week, in a regulatory filing, the public learned that Micro-soft chairman Bill Gates received an 11 percent raise over the previous fiscal year, bringing his pay to $1 million - $600,000 in salary, plus a $400,000 bonus. This, of course, hardly reflects that, with 9.55 percent of Microsoft stock, Gates is easily the richest person in the US, according to Forbes magazine. He seems intent on keeping it that way, based on Microsoft's plans to launch more than a dozen new products in the next year and a half. Forbes's top 10 richest Americans, their net worth, in billions, and their sources of wealth:
1. Bill Gates Microsoft $51.0
2. Warren Buffett Berkshire Hathaway $40.0
3. Paul Allen Microsoft cofounder $22.5
4. Michael Dell Dell computers $18.0
5. Lawrence Ellison Oracle software $17.0
6-10. Walton family members (relatives of the late Wal-Mart's founder, Sam Walton) $15.4-15.7 each
Let's say you're at the wheel of a car, driving across New York City. You'll see dozens, if not hundreds, of traffic signs: "No Left Turn" ... "No Parking Here to Corner" ... "Last Exit Before Tolls." You get the idea. But here's one you might miss if you're not looking up, and that would disappoint Marty Markowitz. It's mounted above the westbound lanes on the Williamsburg Bridge over the East River, and it reads, "Leaving Brooklyn? Oy vey!" Really. Markowitz, you see, is a shameless promoter of Brooklyn Borough (he is its president), and the sign was his idea. In fact, he lobbied the state Department of Transportation for more than a year until the OK came to display it. But why? Well, Brooklyn has a large Jewish population, and "Oy vey" is a Jewish expression that, Markowitz says, means, "Dear me, I'm so sad." What's more, he adds, "Every ethnic group knows it."