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Garofalo reports: "Not only have the Waltons gathered a fortune equal to that of the bottom third of the country, but they spend it lobbying to cut their own taxes. For years, the Waltons have been supporting efforts to cut the estate tax, the tax levied on inheritance. Conservatives intent on cutting this tax - which they've brilliantly dubbed the 'death tax' - led to President Obama agreeing to a 'compromise' last year that lowered the rate and increased the tax-free exemption, giving a senseless tax break to extremely wealthy families."

The Walton family has four members on the Forbes list of the wealthiest people in the world. The three shown here are Jim, Alice and Rob Walton. (photo: MSN Investopedia)
The Walton family has four members on the Forbes list of the wealthiest people in the world. The three shown here are Jim, Alice and Rob Walton. (photo: MSN Investopedia)



Walmart Heirs' Net Worth Equals Bottom 30% of Americans

By Pat Garofalo, ThinkProgress

10 December 11

 

ncome inequality in the U.S. is currently the highest its been since the 1920s, with the 400 richest Americans (who are all billionaires) having as much wealth as the bottom 50 percent of Americans combined. And as it turns out, just one wealthy family has managed to amass a fortune equal to that of the combined net worth of the bottom 30 percent of Americans - the Waltons, heirs to the Walmart fortune, as Sylvia Allegretto, a labor economist at the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics, found:

The triennial Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) is one of the best sources for data on wealth in the U.S. And, of course the Forbes 400 estimates the worth of the wealthiest amongst us—all 400 wouldn’t be captured in the SCF. If we look at both the SCF and the Forbes 400 we can glean some interesting insights.

In 2007 (the most recent SCF) the cumulative wealth of the Forbes 400 was $1.54 trillion or roughly the same amount of wealth held by the entire bottom fifty percent of American families. This is a stunning statistic to be sure.

Upon closer inspection, the Forbes list reveals that six Waltons—all children (one daughter-in-law) of Sam or James “Bud” Walton the founders of Wal-Mart—were on the list. The combined worth of the Walton six was $69.7 billion in 2007—which equated to the total wealth of the entire bottom thirty percent!

Not only have the Waltons gathered a fortune equal to that of the bottom third of the country, but they spend it lobbying to cut their own taxes. For years, the Waltons have been supporting efforts to cut the estate tax, the tax levied on inheritance. Conservatives intent on cutting this tax - which they've brilliantly dubbed the "death tax" - led to President Obama agreeing to a "compromise" last year that lowered the rate and increased the tax-free exemption, giving a senseless tax break to extremely wealthy families.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, "for the 1 percent of the population with the highest income, average real after-tax household income grew by 275 percent between 1979 and 2007,” while it grew by just 18 percent for the bottom 20 percent of the income scale. In a given year, the richest ten percent of the country takes home about one quarter of total income. But Congress still saw fit last year to give a tax break to the very richest families, who have collected fortunes that dwarf anything the rest of the country will ever see. (HT: Huffington Post)

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+16 # Kayjay 2011-12-10 10:29
Sadly, we all know that the Walton bunch has inherited its billions off the desperation of the poor. Walmart and like corporations have created the "perfect" circle of greed, need and desperation. Their profits soared when using cheap overseas labor, then carved a niche offering cheap goods to the poor and jobless....who were perpetuating their own woes by buying this crap. I wonder how the Waltons can sleep at night. Sure there are winners and losers in life, but their business practices just grind the poor into the dirt. Let's bring back some degree of bartering!
 
 
+1 # RLF 2011-12-11 07:55
Enabled by the free trade agreements, some of which have been strongly pushed through by good ole prez. Obummer!
 
 
+14 # Ken Hall 2011-12-10 12:06
I think I bought something at a Walmart once, but since learning of its business practices, the low wages of its employees, and its suppression of collective bargaining, I've made it a point to never set foot in one of their stores.
 
 
+9 # gentle 2011-12-10 12:32
That's two of us. Maybe a movement.
My problem is that all the great small businesses were squeezed out. Gee wonder if all the "small business defenders" ever considered this notion. I find that while these hypocritical orators speak, one better keep close watch to see where the hands are.
 
 
+1 # Jorge 2011-12-12 01:52
I agree with Ken. I have not been in Walmart for years and boycotting of Walmart was reinforced for me when I read of Walmart getting caught using undocumented workers to clean their stores at night for $2/hr. Slap on the wrist is all they got for punishment ("the Rule of Laws"??).
 
 
+6 # Archie1954 2011-12-10 13:31
And this is the country that is supposed to show the rest of the world how to live and the joy of capitalism?
 
 
+6 # rsnfan 2011-12-10 14:53
I refuse to go there also. Even if I can save money on my prescription drugs.
 
 
+2 # Daisy 2011-12-11 19:55
One of my inlaws was mayor of a small town. He brought in a WalMart to "create jobs" and found out that those "job creator Waltons" drained business away from downtown (the old core business district). Next election the voters removed him. Tho some jobs were created, businesses (jobs) were also lost. More mfg. jobs were sent to China.
 

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