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Shocking statistic of the day: The six heirs to the Wal-Mart (WMT +0.1%) fortune are as wealthy...

Shocking statistic of the day: The six heirs to the Wal-Mart (WMT +0.1%) fortune are as wealthy as the bottom 41.5% of U.S. families combined, according to analysis from the Economic Policy Institute. The Walton clan, known for speaking soft and carrying a big stick, are also trending higher at a faster pace than the masses with Wal-Mart on a resilient 22% YTD run. (Previous: WMT, investment or deflation hedge?)
Comments (30)
  • 39413
    , contributor
    Comments (60) | Send Message
     
    This business was started in 1962 with one small store in Arkansas. Now it is one of the largest companies in the world. Thank God Obama's government was there to do this.
    18 Jul 2012, 11:25 AM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (3984) | Send Message
     
    What were the prevailing tax rates in 1962?

     

    Your comment is about as relevant.
    18 Jul 2012, 11:48 AM Reply Like
  • chopchop0
    , contributor
    Comments (3138) | Send Message
     
    Not really. Those tax rates likely didn't affect them, but something like Obamacare may have stifled their eventual expansion
    18 Jul 2012, 12:03 PM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (3984) | Send Message
     
    Although I disagree, I'd expand on my comment by asking what were the prevailing economic conditions in general and how did they affect business development.

     

    It's Apples and Oranges, and the original comment is just politics and devoid of relevance to any meaningful discussion.
    18 Jul 2012, 12:14 PM Reply Like
  • anonymous#12
    , contributor
    Comments (552) | Send Message
     
    Those poor job creators, the Walton's just need a bigger tax cut and America would ensue in prosperity.

     

    Well, that's what Saint Reagan told us, lower tax rates to the job creators leads to more jobs......

     

    Let's beg to the Galtian Overlords again!

     

    Never mind, that REAL median wages for the middle class are lower than they were in 1980. Those pesky facts....
    18 Jul 2012, 12:54 PM Reply Like
  • chopchop0
    , contributor
    Comments (3138) | Send Message
     
    You can thank globalization in part. Would you rather have $30/hr union machinists putting together your IPad, or some cheap laborer in china?
    18 Jul 2012, 02:06 PM Reply Like
  • montanamark
    , contributor
    Comments (1434) | Send Message
     
    " if you've got a business, you didn't build it" the king
    18 Jul 2012, 11:27 AM Reply Like
  • J 457
    , contributor
    Comments (947) | Send Message
     
    This wouldn't bother me if Wal-Mart didn't sell almost exclusively China manufactured products. Wouldn't it be great if Wal-Mart engaged in a buy America campaign and helped create millions of new American jobs. Yes, the end product cost might be a bit higher, and maybe their profit would be off a percent, but the change would certainly help rebuild the middle class, and I for one would be willing to pay to higher price.
    18 Jul 2012, 11:27 AM Reply Like
  • phxcrane
    , contributor
    Comments (415) | Send Message
     
    What about the poor. That's who saves money at Wal Mart.
    18 Jul 2012, 11:34 AM Reply Like
  • Matthew Lewis
    , contributor
    Comments (317) | Send Message
     
    Does America really want jobs where people are putting together crappy materials on an assembly line? Honestly, I dream for an America where people have better jobs than that. Leave that work to the countries that can do it cheaper than we can.

     

    Your statement assumes that the economy as a whole would be better off if Wal-Mart bought from America. Buying from America would certainly create some jobs, but the gain from the job creation would be far outweighed by the loss in dollars from the consumers/business pockets by paying a higher price. David Ricardo talked about this....I suggest some of his readings to you.
    18 Jul 2012, 11:37 AM Reply Like
  • BruceInKY
    , contributor
    Comments (404) | Send Message
     
    I don't shop at Wal-Mart in part due to low-quality Chinese-made goods. I also dislike the environment and check-out experience. Yet many Wal-Mart employees stay on board for years and thereby improve their own lives. The company is expanding overseas in the footsteps of American fast-food giants. Ultimately, I think they create MORE middle-class lifestyle opportunities in MOST of the places they go. And if you've been managing a chunk of their supply chain I would bet your professional skills are in high demand.
    18 Jul 2012, 11:41 AM Reply Like
  • J 457
    , contributor
    Comments (947) | Send Message
     
    If you think 14% unemployment and 45mm on food stamps below the poverty level is acceptable, then continue supporting the current broken system. America was built on manufacturing, not outsourcing.

     

    Study up on WMT and fully understand how you the taxpayer continue to subsidize billions in payments via health insurance, food stamps, and other govt services to underpaid Wal-Mart employees who cannot support themselves at current wages. The money goes straight into the Waltons pockets from your paycheck.
    18 Jul 2012, 11:48 AM Reply Like
  • Matthew Lewis
    , contributor
    Comments (317) | Send Message
     
    Wal-Mart employees are paid the market rate for their services. If they are truly underpaid they can take their labor somewhere else and get more money/benefits. The Walton's aren't the only ones that own shares of the company, it is my largest holding and the money they make goes into my pocket as well.

     

    I'm not okay with the current economic status. But I'm not naive enough to believe its due to outsourcing and evil empire known as Wal-Mart.
    18 Jul 2012, 11:58 AM Reply Like
  • montanamark
    , contributor
    Comments (1434) | Send Message
     
    r u serious? there are a number of studies that claim w/o walmart the poverty rate would soar and people would literally starve
    18 Jul 2012, 12:03 PM Reply Like
  • Matthew Lewis
    , contributor
    Comments (317) | Send Message
     
    Many people truly don't understand how much Wal-Mart actual saves the typical low income consumer.
    18 Jul 2012, 12:08 PM Reply Like
  • chopchop0
    , contributor
    Comments (3138) | Send Message
     
    Yep. WMT is probably one of the single biggest fighters of inflation for the working class. They squeeze excess costs out of their suppliers and pass it on to shareholders and consumers.
    18 Jul 2012, 02:07 PM Reply Like
  • gjg49
    , contributor
    Comments (386) | Send Message
     
    Excuse me, j, but America was built first and foremost on agriculture, not manufacturing.
    18 Jul 2012, 04:23 PM Reply Like
  • Slim Shady
    , contributor
    Comments (291) | Send Message
     
    And how much better off are the bottom 41.5% of U.S. families combined due to Wal-Mart providing lower cost products for those families to have a higher standard of living? Seems like a fair trade with nobody coerced into any transactions against their will. I'll take a system where individuals can succeed based on providing value that others want over a system where tyrannical dictators use force to keep all equally impoverished. 
    18 Jul 2012, 11:29 AM Reply Like
  • J 457
    , contributor
    Comments (947) | Send Message
     
    Buying food and shoes is not coerced, its one of those luxury items? I guess you either bow to the Waltons or starve. But certainly they deserve no medal for "helping" US families.
    18 Jul 2012, 11:36 AM Reply Like
  • Slim Shady
    , contributor
    Comments (291) | Send Message
     
    J 457 - Wal-Mart isn't the only one that sells food or shoes. People buy from Wal-Mart not at the dictate of a politician, but of their own free will. Arguably, they have helped more U.S. families than any other company in history by providing lower cost products to anyone who chooses to shop there. They directly employ 1.4 million employees in the U.S. - or approximately 1% of the entire U.S workforce (140.8mm non-farm employed at 6/12). They certainly have done more for lower income families than the Government, without having to force other people to pay for it. And on top of it, they paid $5.35 billion in U.S. Federal, State and Local taxes in 2012 alone.

     

    You may want to pay more for items that are produced in the U.S. and you are free to do so. And, if you want to form a company that sells all U.S. made products and you believe that you are able to market that concept and charge a premium price to do so, thank goodness you are still able to do that in the U.S.
    18 Jul 2012, 12:07 PM Reply Like
  • BruceInKY
    , contributor
    Comments (404) | Send Message
     
    When Obama hears this they are going to be in big trouble:

     

    "Warren, why did I have to learn this from the press? Valerie, get George on the other line, and have my translator stand by! Jay, put down those jellybeans. Yes Michelle, I'll eat my peas. Somebody tell Holder to get on these people. I want a show trial for October."
    18 Jul 2012, 11:32 AM Reply Like
  • Tony Petroski
    , contributor
    Comments (6373) | Send Message
     
    Shocking statistic of the day II: If Malaise II runs any longer, a family with a net worth of $100,000 will be worth more than the bottom 60% of all families combined!

     

    Story of the day: A farmer bought a field full of weeds from the government. Through diligence and hard work he transformed that field of weeds into a nursery employing 12 people and producing flowers delighting everyone in the county. Barack Obama drove past the nursery in his black-painted bus on a government-built road. When told how the nursery was built he noted "Wow, what wonders have been accomplished through this government/private project." One of his aides replied: "That's true sir. But you should have seen the place when it was just a government project.
    18 Jul 2012, 11:46 AM Reply Like
  • davidbdc
    , contributor
    Comments (3141) | Send Message
     
    What this statistic shows is how poorly a large % of Americans manage their finances, and how little they save.

     

    Put aside the financial crisis for a minute, and think about American's consumption habits versus their savings/investing habits. How many people in your circle of friends put at least equal weight on both? How many simply buy whatever they feel like they want at that moment? How many spent 30K on their wedding but have no money saved for retirement?

     

    I'll agree that many people in poverty were born into a bad situation and have basically remained. But many in this bottom 41% of families are there by their own choice and actions. If buying a new smartphone every year gives you more pleasure than knowing you have a nest egg - thats your choice. Don't expect me or others like me to pony up to support your lifestyle in 10 years when your out of a job and suddenly can't make that mortgage payment (that you've refinanced three times to "free up some cash")
    18 Jul 2012, 12:26 PM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (3984) | Send Message
     
    15% of Americans are on food stamps, or unable to just to save, but to pay for basic necessities.

     

    Perhaps we could lump the next 26.5% into your group of Americans who are failures at saving, but I'd point out that capitalism requires cheap labor in order to be functional, i.e., income disparity is a fact of life.

     

    I suspect the point the market current is attempting to make is that the accumulation of wealth at the top is part of the reason for size of the bottom; as in, if wealth wasn't as focused on the top, we wouldn't all be subsidizing so many at the bottom.

     

    The linked article notes:

     

    "The top one percent of American earners saw their incomes spike 275 percent between 1979 and 2007, while the bottom one-fifth of Americans saw their wealth grow by only 20 percent during the same period, according to the Congressional Budget Office."

     

    Full disclosure: I'm not in the 1%.
    18 Jul 2012, 12:35 PM Reply Like
  • Slim Shady
    , contributor
    Comments (291) | Send Message
     
    Mark Zuckerberg is in the top 1% and he wasn't even born in 1979.

     

    The problem with things like "The top one percent...saw their incomes spike 275% between 1979 and 2007" is that fortunately in the U.S. the individual people who make up these categories aren't even close to the same from year to year, no less over the course of 3 decades.

     

    "Call them the Fantastic Four. Only four taxpayers have the distinction of making the Internal Revenue Service's anonymous list of the 400 highest-income filers in every one of the 17 years (1992-2008) for which the IRS has collected such data. Just 27% of the wealthiest filers have made the top-400 list more than once, and just 15% more than twice."
    http://on.barrons.com/...

     

    One of the best characteristics of capitalism is the ability of individuals to be able to improve their lot in life instead of having a caste system where your lot is pre-determined at birth.
    18 Jul 2012, 12:57 PM Reply Like
  • davidbdc
    , contributor
    Comments (3141) | Send Message
     
    15% of Americans may be on food stamps, but you'd have to look closer to determine how many were born into that condition and how many have ended up their due to their own choices.

     

    I know of several people that had professional jobs for years that now collect food stamps (and other aid from the government). I have zero sympathy for these folks and others like them.

     

    The only folks I have sympathy for are those born into severe poverty, attending pathetic schools, and basically simply continuing the only thing they've ever known. But if you went through school, worked at a decent job and saved nothing...... your responsible for your own actions. If you spend all your earnings each and every year then you'll never see your wealth increase. No government program will ever change that.

     

    There are certainly market factors that impact the ability of those at the top to earn more. Global markets and the flexibility of capital have both increased. If you have a top talent or brilliant idea - you have much larger markets to make money, And can get to those markets much quicker. This allows an individual to capture economic gains that would have been shared with many others in the past.

     

    And I'd agree that the entire tax code needs to be scrapped and it has undoubtedly allowed certain individuals and industries to make more than they otherwise would. Lets just tax all income the same with no deductions.

     

    For those that have been born into poverty and remained, I'd argue that government itself has largely created this situation. Government protects poor schoolteachers. Government sends the message that hard work and sacrifice isn't required. Government sends the message that government exists to take care of you. Government encourages people to not think nor act for themselves.

     

    Much less government. Much thinner tax code. Much more emphasis on work ethic, sacrifice, and personal responsibility (which by the way includes being responsible for those in your community).

     

    Thats the only way it will get turned around. But it simply isn't going to happen.
    25 Jul 2012, 07:07 PM Reply Like
  • Tack
    , contributor
    Comments (12771) | Send Message
     
    The Government promotes and subsidizes unemployment and sloth, so it's no surprise that they get a bumper crop.
    18 Jul 2012, 01:02 PM Reply Like
  • J 457
    , contributor
    Comments (947) | Send Message
     
    Just the same as the government subsidizes Wal-Mart employees who can't afford food and health insurance because they earn $8 per hour. Pick you poison, either way the taxpayer will pay the bill. Given the choice I'd rather my tax money not be used to subsidize the Waltons growing fortune.
    18 Jul 2012, 02:21 PM Reply Like
  • chopchop0
    , contributor
    Comments (3138) | Send Message
     
    WMT expanded healthcare coverage to employees years ago

     

    http://on.wsj.com/OlMkcW
    18 Jul 2012, 02:51 PM Reply Like
  • 1547ogden
    , contributor
    Comments (6) | Send Message
     
    If you want to get rich start a business as Sam Walton did. If you want to get your food stamps - vote for Obama.
    21 Jul 2012, 12:45 AM Reply Like
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