We know things are tough in the middle and the bottom…how’s the weather up top?

The net worth of the richest Americans grew by 13 percent in the past year to $1.7 trillion, Forbes magazine said on Wednesday, and a familiar cast of characters once again populated the top of the magazine’s annual list of the U.S. uber-elite, including Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Larry Ellison and the Koch brothers.

The average net worth of the 400 wealthiest Americans rose to a record $4.2 billion, the magazine said.

Collectively, this group’s net worth is the equivalent of one-eighth of the entire U.S. economy, which stood at $13.56 billion in real terms according to the latest government data. But the 13 percent growth in the wealth of the richest Americans far outpaced that of the economy overall, helping widen the chasm between rich and poor.

via Richest 400 Americans’ net worth jumps 13 percent to $1.7 trillion – Bottom Line.

Oh…so it’s pretty much party time at the top.  And these are the folks that Republicans think are struggling the most, and being crushed…somehow.

And couldn’t possibly afford to pay another 5% out of that extra 13% they got last year.

Romney Campaign National Co-Chair Quits to Run Banking Lobby

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty to head bank lobbying group – latimes.com 

WASHINGTON — Former Minnestoa Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a onetime Republican presidential candidate who was considered a finalist to be Mitt Romney’s running mate, was named Thursday as the new head of a leading bank lobbying group.

Pawlenty, 51, will be the new chief executive officer of the Financial Services Roundtable, a Washington organization that represents 100 of the largest banking and financial services companies in the country.

Wall Street begats Wall Street.