Six Walton Heirs Have More Wealth than the Bottom 30% of Americans

Did Sam Walton know that his small company would make him and his family billions of dollars? No. Did he hope that Walmart would make him a lot of money? You bet. “The Waltons are now collectively worth about $93 billion, according to Forbes.” Does the wealth of the Walton heirs make any of us poorer? Nope. Walmart employs more than 1.4 million people in the Unites States. That’s a bit more than one percent of our workforce.

Next to the Federal Government, Walmart is our nation’s largest employer. The Federal Government costs you and me money and freedom. Walmart doesn’t cost us a penny and can’t compel us to do anything.

Walmart does not do business in a vacuum. It has thousands of suppliers that employ millions of people around the world. In fact, Walmart employs nearly a million people overseas. They money paid to these employees enables them to purchase goods from the United States.

Why is Jeffrey Goldberg reporting this story? Tim Wortsall at Forbes has a theory:

I think we all know what Mr. Goldberg wants us to make of it, it's a telling indictment of American wealth inequality, the world's going to the dogs and something must be done about rising inequality.

Mr. Goldberg is pushing the class warfare agenda. He’s arguing that the Walton fortune is too much money for any six people to have, although it’s less than John D. Rockefeller (1839–1937) was worth all by himself. Adjusting for inflation, Rockefeller is often regarded as the richest person who ever lived.

A millionaire and billionaire tax would not do anything to the Waltons because their billions are not income. In order to redistribute their wealth, the government would have to confiscate their stock. It’s not in cash.

Ninety-three billion dollars is a lot of money. If all of their stock was sold and the assets confiscated and equally redistributed to every American, a family of four would get $1240. And that would be the end of anything else the Waltons’ billions could do long-term. The wealth of the Waltons works for other people in investments and charity work.

Mr. Goldberg does not mention the philanthropy of the Waltons. Helen dropped in her wealth ranking because of her extensive philanthropic work. After Helen Walton died in April 2007, her fortune passed to charities.

Christy Ruth Walton, the widow of John T. Walton, is ranked as the highest female philanthropist according to Facesofphilanthropy.com, in terms of the amount she gives as a percentage of her wealth. Between 2002 and 2006, she contributed billions from her then $16.3 billion net worth towards philanthropic efforts.

Additionally, she supports her family's own charitable foundation, the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, which prioritizes education and benefits colleges such as the University of Arkansas, the College of Business Administration of the University of Arkansas, and several other colleges, community trusts, universities and foundations. In 2007, her family's foundation donated as much as $1.6 billion.

If you don’t like the Waltons having this much money, then don’t shop at Walmart.

Sam Walton and his brother took a huge risk. They invested time and money in business that became a retailing phenomenon.

Few people understand the small beginnings of companies and how long it takes to make a profit. Consider Brad Anderson, former CEO of Best Buy. When he was young, Anderson considered business people to be evil, John Stossel writes.

“But then he ‘stumbled into a business career’ by going to work in a stereo store. ‘I watched what happens in building a business. [My store] the Sound of Music, which became Best Buy, was 11 years [old] before I made a dollar of profit.’ In 36 years, he turned that store into a $50 billion company.”

His efforts did not cost any of us anything but resulted in the employment of thousands of people and made purchasing electronic equipment convenient for millions of shoppers.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says, “My job is to create jobs.” Governments cannot create jobs because governments don’t have any money that they don’t first take from other people.

Most people who despise big business have almost nothing negative to say about the confiscatory policies of government.

I’d rather trust $93 billion to the six Waltons than $15 trillion to tens of thousands of government bureaucrats.

Comments

comments

  • http://[email protected] Shae Scott

    It's their wealth, leave THEM alone!!!!!

  • Potawatomi13

    The American way? HA! It's exactly like the lord living on the hill in his castle while the serf slaves outside to live in poverty. I do NOT consider myself one of the 99% as I worked for a living, am a Tea Party supporting Republican and a Christian. If I had a company I certainly could not treat my employees with such selfish, callous nor un Christ like disregard. Some will certainly say "this is the American way". No it's NOT! The American way should be the Christian way as if we were their family and not their masters. We have gotten so far from God that business today is nearly completely divorced from Christian decency and a good conscience.

    • plainscary

      Tell us how you really feel, after completely missing the point of the article...

      The Walton's money is in STOCK...They have a CHARITABLE foundation. Every Wal-Mart, in every community, benefits that community by providing jobs, a tax base to improve roads, and put in traffic lights, and bring new business, ALONG with all the money they contribute into the community for CHARITABLE purposes.

      You must not know about the continuing support for Children's Miracle Network?

      You must not know about the amount of volunteering the Associates and Staff of Wal-Marts do for Community Service, along with financial support of thousands of non-profit and school organizations.

      If that isn't Christian, I don't know what is...Your judgementalism exhibits your lack of Christian values.

      • ZagoZana

        PLAINSCARY!
        What world are you living in? They donated maybe 2% of their great fortunes. If they loved the country that made them then why are they bleeding us dry and putting all their competition out of business?
        They are not charitable! They only use charities to get tax breaks!
        Their money is made selling what CHINA makes and without restriction on wages and environmental degridation.
        Since when is destroying our country Christian? How is greed Christian?
        Children's Miracle Network? How about paying their parent better and imagine how much better we would all be...

        • plainscary

          ZagoZana,
          You missed the point of the article (as written) as well...Did it not say that Christy R. Walton contributed billion from 2002-2006, when her net worth was 16.3 billion? Faces of Philanthropy-I guess you can find it online.

          You may not know this, but Wal-Mart has stores in China now, and they are thriving, and Wal-Mart has Always been on the forefront of environmental (Green) regulations, and in doing so, they've driven the industry...The recycling (of everything), the sky lights, the timed lighting system within the store...All done to save money, and comply with the ever expanding environmental regulations.

          Now, back to charitable.

          I do an "overload" of Volunteer work...And, I am always asking for money for the several 501(c)3's I contribute my time to. Wal-Mart is always generous. And now, Wal-Mart requires its Employees and Management team to volunteer (for an Organization) where WM will contribute money based on the dedication and time given from said employees...They aren't just about writing checks, they want to see a vested interest in the Community that WM is supporting via money-employees are volunteering their own personal time for that.

          You, sadly are clueless and under informed-most likely with the propaganda from your local union that is over the local grocery stores...I've seen the stuff in the union mags-unimpressive.

          Anyhow. Bash China all you want....I buy my Victoria's Secret bras and they are made well, and one guess as to where they are made? Just one chance....

          FYI. Last year, my oldest child walked thru our door as I was unloading the goods that I purchased at WM (its a super center, so I grocery shopped)...And he said, "I bet all that stuff you bought is made in China"...And, I took that bet...

          He was impressed that I could buy so many Made in America Items....And they were consumable...Not many people take the time to look at packages and make phone calls-to find out where the product is manufactured....Of course. These weren't clothes.

          Even Eddie Bauer stuff mostly isn't made here in America....

  • Potawatomi13

    Continued: And in the meanwhile: malwarts employees work at the smallest possible wages the store can get away with(unless they're one of the white overseers who ration out hours and benefits), they are kept working as little as possible so they cannot qualify for company health insurance and a great many of them are actually getting welfare, food stamps and public health care because while they supposedly have a "job" they are living in poverty.

    • plainscary

      See. Exhibiting your Christian values again..."white overseers"...So you are a racist, too.

      Smallest possible wages? I think your facts are wrong, again...Wal-mart starts out their entry level employees ABOVE the minimium wage. Average hourly wages in older established stores tend to be around $14/hour. That doesn't take into account the salaried wages, obviously, but salaried workers are expected to work above and beyond the normal 40 hour workweek, and frankly, the people I talk to at Wal-Mart, that work there, hourly and otherwise, enjoy their job, and feel lucky to have one, and a decent working environment.

      There are about 3 kinds of health insurance to choose from, and I do think you have to be employed for a year before you are eligible, but, lots of employers have the same requirement. You have to show stability in your job before you are eligible for many of the benefits.

      • Danny

        I work for Walmart..and they show us how to apply for food-stamps"

    • RJC

      "white overseers"? You must be a union thug from the SEIU with such and anti-WalMart rant exhibiting blatant racism to boot.

      In New Mexico, the management of the stores (the 'overseers' in your rant) are hispanic in many cases. There has been changes at the top of Wal-Mart that will make a move back toward the Wal-Mart of Sam's days, as well. More people have been able to qualify for insurance through work at Wal-Mart due to these changes.

      The only 'workers' having a problem with getting enough money for themselves are the ones that call in every week when payday comes around, or a band they want to see (instead of coming to work), or just stand around and 'text' a buddy instead of actually working. Laziness should not be rewarded, period.

      No, I do not work for Wally World; but my wife does. She also knew Sam Walton, personally. We all miss Sam.

  • Potawatomi13

    Continued: And then there is the matter that the store sells as much cheap foreign made junk as they can get from countries that have no decent wages,safe working laws nor environmental protections in place. Can you spell "child 'labor" and "working slave labor"? Yeah, they're real great upstanding citizens allright! How many family businesses have they put out of business when they came to town and what about the employees that likely lost their jobs and decent paychecks. How many American companies that had supplied them went out of bussiness so they could buy from the cheapest suppliers and add to their billions? Real upstanding citizens allright when you consider how many Americans they've impoverished, how much in poverty benefits the taxpayers needed to supply to those folks without decent jobs anymore and to think they did it all while adding billions to their own bank account while standing on the backs of the serfs and peons. Just boggles the mind how selfish and immoral some people can be.

    • Jennifer

      Dude, Switch to decaf and take a chill pill.

    • plainscary

      If you want expensive merchandise, shop somewhere else...

      If you want a Bose Radio (made in America) buy one for $350-they have a payment plan...However, you want your dollar to go farther, then buy a Sony clock radio-Its YOUR CHOICE.

      Frankly, with your rant, I would be surprised if you even know where your jeans, tennis shoes, and gloves are made...
      Infact, I have Wrangler jeans, not purchased from WM and not made in America...The last Wrangler shirt I bought was made in Indonesia. My boots from Mexico. My stretchie throwaway gloves I do buy from WM and they are made in China-$1.50 for two pair, and when they get holes in the tips I can throw them away.

      If you are careful, and want to spend more, you can find most of your Consumable items, Made in America, at WM.

      I bet your toothbrushes are not made in America...

      I buy Scot bathroom tissue, its manufactured by Kimberly Clarke, and the tissue is Made In America...However, my Kleenex tissue, also manufactured by Kimberly Clarke is made in Canada...Stores sell a variety of merchandise, at a variety of price points to offer the consumer choices...choice in quality, choice in price, choice in quantity, and choice in packaging.

      See if Your favorite grocery store offers more choices in consumable (not food) items...Just where is the Made in America store in your community, and can you get every thing you need there?

      Just some food for thought. But, even though I shop Wal-Mart, if I need a certain size screw or to replace my hose end, I usually go to the local hardware store, invariably, they will have what I need.

  • RayR

    Jobs from the Government the Tax payer pays for. Jobs from Walmart, Walmart pays for. It's just that simple.

  • SEAN MURRY

    i heard they are hard to work for but they are proving jobs.

    • plainscary

      If you want to work, and are willing, its a great opportunity...Wal-Mart has a philosophy, and its from the ground up, meaning that you get hired as an hourly, and prove you want more responsibility, they will find you a place in the store, and you will get more responsibility.

      And, with that, more money, and eventually opportunity, if you are up for it...

      But, if you have issues, like a police record, or you are an addict, don't bother...If you are clean, and want to work, they will hire you if there is an opening...

      • SEAN MURRY

        i am retired i know about them.ps i dont have a police record.

        • plainscary

          I'm a WM wife, and I complain about them a lot, but frankly, I'm grateful for the opportunity the company has provided for my husband...

  • JMcCarthy

    With all these Billion-airs, Bill Gates, The Waltons, G. Soros, Buffett etc. etc., donating hundrads of Billions of dollars to the "needy" then why is there STILL hunger and disease and poverty and people WITHOUT Plasma T.V.'s, ESPECIALLY in America? Oh, wait, most of these Billion-airs are LIBERAL DEMOCRATS and all this "Donating" has less to do with philanthropy and more to do with Money Laundering through "charitys" to ELECT MARXIST DEMOCRATS.

    • plainscary

      Well, I actually know the kind of donating the Gates Foundation does, and its very generous...So, I have no clue about Soros (who makes his money bringing down the currency of countries-oh, is that happening here?) and Buffet (gee, did HE make 3.7 billion on insider trading, when he knew which institutions were to be bailed out?) and their pet charities, if they have any...

      I guess I could do a little online research...

  • samtman

    That is amazing, 6 people have more wealth than some 70 million people.

    • Ludwig Von Mises

      And so fu--ing what?? Are private individuals suppose to not get as rich as they want to, if they legally can through free enterprise?? How about this fact: The Bottom 30% of Americans have more wealth than about 90% of the entire West Africa, i.e. 15 countries that includes Africa's most populous country(Nigeria 152 million people), and a combined GDP for the 15 West African countries of just US$389,519 Billion, and Per capita GDP of US$7,890 (compared to U.S. GDP of $15.065 trillion, and Per Capita $48,147). Your so called "poor" in the US are the Warren Buffets and Waltons to Africa's poor(i.e. poor in the real sense).

      I'm sick of all these comparisons and class war fare that do nothing to address the "actual causes" of poverty, rather than stirring up envy and resentment towards successful entrepreneurs and their living heirs. Free Enterprise is still so far the best system for economic activities that exists; or perhaps we can say the Free Market is the worst system for economic activities in any society, EXCEPT FOR ALL THE OTHERS.

  • El Loco

    "Six Walton Heirs Have More Wealth than the Bottom 30% of Americans." So the he!! what? Walmart employs 100's of thousands of people. How many people do "the bottom 30% of Americans" employ? "The bottom 30% of Americans" cost me more in wealth redistribution than Walmart does in goods and they give me absolutely nothing in return while Walmart helps me save money on things I need. I would gladly trade the "the bottom 30% of Americans" for a few more Walmarts.

    • mikeaustin

      You are not Loco. You are right on the money!

  • plainscary

    Collectively, The Waltons have amassed 93 billion-that's roughly a little over 18 billion for each of them...

    Now, Warren Buffet on the other hand-the 3rd richest man in America (just Google W. Buffett), is worth 47 billion...Now that's perspective...He donated 3.8 million to Planned Parenthood in 1999, and paid 7 million in taxes last year, a 17% tax rate...

  • Art

    The only people who complain about Walmart are union thugs, who don't do a lick of work anyway and want to sit on their butts, and make a living off of workers.I'm 76 yeras old, had a severe heart attack in may 03.On Oct 03 I applied and got a job at Walmart.In my 9th year now, get 3 weeks paid vacation, sick time, and personal time. I've gotten a 45 cent an hour raise every year.I buy their stock and have never lost.The employees are like a second family, and do a lot of charity work, not because they would gain not a single thing, but because they want to.I'll guarntee you the people doing all the complaing don't give a penny to any charity, or would rather be a slave to some union.Thank you Waltons.

    • Pegi

      Good for you, Art. Jealousy is truly a green eyed monster.

    • S Rubicon

      You hit the nail on the head Art and you are a living example that as far as WalMart is concerned, they really do treat folks OK.
      Many want WalMart & others to shell out more. They also seem to want every other benefit known to mankind, but, they do not want to put forth any extra effort for all those additional benefits.
      Ya done good Art. You discredited the "hate WalMart" crowd!

  • Joe

    Mr. Sam Walton began from the ground up . He worked his way up to become a successful person who employees people all over the world and who has a legacy for his family. That is the American way. There isn't a darned thing wrong with that.
    The people who are crying over the so called fairness of the rich/poor in this country need to grow the heck up. In America we are guaranteed the right to work toward being happy. Not the right to absolutely obtain that happiness. If wealth makes you happy, then get out and find a way to work toward gaining it. Quit whining about how hard it is, how un-fulfilling your job is, and how much more the other person has. This class warfare that has been being driven by people who are not citizens and financed by those who hate this country while being praised by American people who are the lazy, the leech's, the bottom feeders and the fools who are jealous and greedy.

    • Pegi

      Joe, you hit the nail on the head!

  • WillyT

    Nancy Pelosi must hate the Waltons bitterly but it's out of pure jealousy. She has to cheat for her money while the Walton heirs were born into it. Old man Walton was a canny businessman while Pelosi is nothing but imitation chintz.

  • Catherine

    So?

  • Ron Powell

    The fact is most of the lower 30% don't work and don't want to work so for the Waltons to have more money isn't that notable. How much does old George Soros have? How much does he give to charities (not liberal r communist causes)?

  • Ross

    Walmart is successful due to a combination of innovation, playing the political game, and ruthless business practices. I've yet to see anything concrete that proves to me Walmart is damaging society. They do what businesses are supposed to do, give the consumers what the consumers want. (Lower prices) If you don't like Walmart, don't shop or work there.

    There used to be a lot of businesses that paid their workers a living wage and didn't cut as razor close to the bottom line as they could. They didn't bribe politicians. They were good honest companies.

    Few if any are in business anymore because they were not competitive.

    Businesses can run like Walmart, or die.

  • Jane

    Wal*mast is the biggest retail target for the unions who would love to grab dues from almost 2 million associates. I have worked for the company for almost eight years and while there are probably individual stores who are the exception, the company itself is a great employer who really does provide very well for its employees. Since going to work there, I have saved approximately $400 monthly on my healthcare insurance, gotten up to $1400 yearly bonuses, gotten vacation time, and paid bereavement leave, and I work a mere 21 hours weekly. There are few companies who provide those kinds of benifits to their part-time employees! Sam Walton is a legend and an example of the American dream, but his success came from hard work, not from whining about what everybody else had.

  • Lisa

    It seems a shame that they should be sitting on so much wealth when their employees struggle in poverty!

    • Fed Up In Texas

      Spoken like a TRUE socialist.

  • VietNam Vet

    My wife worked for WalMart for 32 years. The highest hourly wage she earned was $12.35 as a Supervisor in Crafts. She put $40 of her paycheck into WalMart stock every month. On the other hand, I made in excess of $70,000 dollars a year and put $200 a month into a Standard and Poor's stock fund. When I retired four years ago, my retirement fund had been hammered twice (it was just the market - whoop). I had invested more than $84000 and the value of my stock was not quite $100,000. I had an average return on my investment of 3.4%. I would have been better off buying savings bonds and/or CD's.
    My wife's investment of $40 a month (14,400) in WalMart stock had a value of $1.76 million dollars.
    How could something like that happen?
    Well, for I don't know how many years, WalMart stock doubled and split, doubled and split, etc., etc.
    We had to hire a tax attorney to help us put her retirement funds in places where we would have the least liability.
    I can not, in all honesty, have enything negative to say about WalMart. My wife had a job she enjoyed and worked hard. Sometimes we laughed at the difference in what I brought home and what she brought home.
    If I had been hired as an assistant manager trainee at WalMart almost 35 years ago, I would be at least 14 times better off then I am.
    I'm not complaining. My wife's retirement, adding my paltry by comparison amount, provides us with a very comfortable living, and this year I became eligible for Social Security.
    When someone hammers WalMart and the WalMart employees, I just need to make the general public aware of how WalMart has rewarded it's long time employees.