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.