Another Shocking Fact About the Walmart Heirs
The Waltons currently own 49 percent of Walmart stock.
That’s right. The six Waltons, heirs to Walmart founder Sam Walton, not only have a net worth equal to the combined wealth of the bottom 30 percent of Americans, as we learned this week from University of California economist Sylvia Allegretto, but they also own and control nearly half of Walmart, the world’s largest corporation.
That’s an astounding fact. Last year, Walmart had sales of $422 billion and generated $16 billion in profits. That’s quite a cash stream for a single family to be able to dip into, year after year.
While one could argue that other wealthy corporate founders made their money by producing something that benefited society as whole — the founders of Google, Apple, and Microsoft, for example, introduced products that fueled the creation of many new businesses and jobs — that’s not the case with the Waltons.
Sure, Walmart built a more efficient system for distributing goods, but that accounts for only a small portion of its profits. The main way the Waltons got their wealth is by squeezing workers at every point along Walmart’s supply chain.
The Waltons are a fitting face for the 1% (actually the 0.000006%), because Walmart has arguably done more than any other company to undermine the American middle class and force an ever-growing share of the population into working poverty. As Walmart has grown, it has eviscerated two key pillars of the middle class — small business owners, who have lost their livelihoods by the tens of thousands, and union-wage manufacturing workers, more than 3 million of whom have seen their jobs shipped to low-wage countries, thanks largely to pressure from Walmart and other big-box retailers.
$16 billion in profits from $422 billion in sales is a profit margin of less than 3.8%. That’s not exactly the definition of price gouging.
Where are all the people railing about how much Bill Gates makes, or Mark Zuckerberg? Or for that matter, what about Arianna Huffington?
I know, I know, I’m committing heresy (again) for not joining in on the knee-jerk hatin’ on Walmart. But it’s just a fucking store. It’s a REALLY BIG store, but it’s still just a store.
Nobody has to shop there. Nobody has to work there either. The reason they put competitors out of business is they sell more stuff and sell it cheaper than anyone else. Doesn’t that benefit society as a whole?
Yes, they are non-union. So are their competitors. And so were all those mom-and-pop small business owners they put out of business. Nos, they don’t offer health benefits. Neither do their competitors. And neither did all those mom-and-pop small business owners they put out of business.
If you want me to hate WallyWorld you’ll have to give me a better reason.
BTW – When the Walmart opened here in my home town the first place they put out of business was Kmart. Guess where I worked?
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