Oh what a tangled web we weave . . .

You might remember this story from HuffingPaint:

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.

It turns out the truth is a little less outrageous. Tim Worstall at Forbes (via Troglopundit:

But this comparison of wealth doesn’t show us quite what Mr. Goldberg thinks it does. If you’ve got no debts and have $10 in your pocket you have more wealth than 25% of Americans. More than that 25% of Americans have collectively that is.

That a family who has inherited the majority of one of the leading global retailers have more wealth than the bottom 30% of Americans, when compared with how high up the tree a single ten dollar bill gets you, is pretty much worthy of a heartfelt “Meh.”

I hate it when people try to spin facts and data in a deceptive manner. Where I come from that’s called “lying.” As a general rule I don’t trust people who lie to me.

I’m in that 25% who don’t own shit. But I notice that lots of arguments about income inequality can be summarized as “Mom! He’s got more than me! Make him share!”

I would like to see someone articulate a cogent argument for the redistribution of wealth that doesn’t assume that the “Haves” somehow stole their fortunes from the “Have-Nots.”

Using the Walton family as an example – what have they done that would justify taking some or all of their money away from them? Absent some kind of wrongdoing, what political or legal theory supports asset confiscation?

I’m not talking about a tax on earnings – I support a progressive income tax – I’m talking about taking what they own rather than taxing what they earn.


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63 Responses to Oh what a tangled web we weave . . .

  1. 1539days says:

    Most of the “wealth” arguments go along the lines of “I’m not against people succeeding but…”

    What’s funny is that the top 1% is also considerably wealthier than the rest of the top 10%. According to the above statistic, the bottom 25% have no “wealth” and the bottom 50% don’t make enough to pay federal taxes.


    The median income is about $40,000. If you were to take everyone’s income in the US and redistribute it evenly, it would be about $45,000.

    • yttik says:

      Actually Days, I think if you were to redistribute the wealth evenly and take into account the national debt, each household would probably have a net worth of about 5 grand.

  2. votermom says:

    OT Via twitter – why Nikki Haley was always going to support Mitt:


    Just another instance of why & how Mitt is the anointed one.

    • foxyladi14 says:

      yep.he has the crown to prove it. 😉

      • DeniseVB says:

        Don’t know about anyone else, but I’m really looking forward to the Iowa Caucus. Though a little concerned that their GOP chairman was bragging about record numbers have registered Republican in the past 6 months. Could it be……Obots? Hmmmmm?

  3. votermom says:

    Another OT. Ohio just moved its primary date up from June to Mar 6 (Super Tuesday).

    • DandyTiger says:

      I so hate florescent lights with their horrible clots, hum, and flicker. Gives me headaches. I do really like LED though with reasonable filters and the like. But LED’s are still way expensive and need to come down more in price before I switch.

  4. DandyTiger says:

    Good post. In order to not sound like a baby or same freaky puritan who thinks people that have too much are somehow sinners, then you need to have coherent economic and political arguments about tax rules and redistribution rules.

    I’m for progressive taxation. I’m for rules and regulations to reign in power and undo influence from the rich and powerful. I’m against corporations being people in the sense of free speech and campaign contributions. But I’m not against people getting wealthy by itself.

  5. votermom says:

    OT: SEC has charged former Fannie & Freddie execs with Securities Fraud

  6. yttik says:

    Off topic, but speaking of Occupiers, the cops in Seattle released some film of the protesters at the port throwing bricks and canisters of gas at the cops. The mayor, who is very favorable to OWS, had a heck of time trying to issue a supportive OWS message and plead with them to reject the violence.

    When the port clash first happened, naturally the media narrative was about police brutality and peaceful protesters. But when you actually look at the video, you see people screaming at cops and throwing projectiles at them. At least in Seattle, these people are more like the anarchists from the WTO protests, rather then peaceful protesters engaging in some civil disobedience.

  7. yttik says:

    Does anybody know why our congresscritters feel entitled to get involved with Lowe’s and their advertising decisions?

    I mean, we have an economic crisis, no jobs, and congress hasn’t passed a budget in years, but this is what 32 congresscritters decide to address??


    • votermom says:


      Who knows and mind if I steal that thought?

    • votermom says:

      • yttik says:

        LOL! Yes, I don’t get it. I’m fine with people protesting or boycotting Lowe’s, but why does congress think it should get involved?

        There’s also the establishment clause and how congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. What if this show was called, “All American Mormon” or something? Dems, the left, the middle, everybody would be hollering bloody murder if congress butted in and tried to force or pressure a company into paying for the show and supporting it with their advertising dollars.

      • DeniseVB says:

        Retweeted for #throwthemallout ! 😀

    • jjmtacoma says:

      I don’t know but I think it has to do with a customer base… People who know how to do stuff go to Lowes. Small business contractors, plumbers, DIY homeowners (obviously the less $$$ bunch). At least that is what it seems to me while the banks illegal robosigners are just fine and don’t get any mention from these guys.

      Do you think they would have a problem if any bankers decided to pull advertising? What about Lexus or Infinity? I bet that would be A-OK somehow.

  8. lisadawn82 says:

    I really don’t have an answer here but just to be argumentative the Walton family didn’t earn any of that money, Sam Walton did. They just happened to be blessed to be his decendants. I have no problem with someone starting their own company and making money because that’s what America is all about. Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and making a name for yourself. But I don’t believe in the Aristocratic Class which is basically what we are going to or have set up with families inheriting great wealth who then sit on or use it to bend the rules in their favor.

    • DandyTiger says:

      I understand that sentiment. I find it to be a tricky area.

      First, you’re helping your children by giving them a place to live, allowance, help with education, jobs, etc., etc. There’s no way around it, if you’re better off, your children will likely have great advantages. That’s life. And some of that allowance, or gifts, or even jobs from the well off parents can be in the form of executive, high salary jobs, stock, money, etc.

      So how do we deal with these advantages, etc. Money received from someone is income of a sort and is either pay or a gift. And there are tax rules for those things. Money received after death is effectively income and treated by estate taxes.

      The arguments that the estate money has already been taxed is very silly. All money, no matter how you’ve received it, unless you got it from the treasury department itself, has been taxed, many, many, many times. Everyone along the line who obtained money got taxed on that money. Then they used that to buy something or to pay a salary or give it as a gift, etc., etc., and at each turn there is some tax on money received. To point out one of those transactions and say it shouldn’t be taxed “again” is silly. Unless of course it’s the very same person paying tax “again”. But that’s not the case with estate tax. A child is getting income, getting that money, for the first time. They haven’t paid tax on that money, ever. Their parent may have, but so what.

      So the question is, how do you handle those transfers of money or “income” of a sort and how do you tax those?

    • myiq2xu says:

      I agree – I would put a $10,000,000 cap on how much any one person (other than spouses) can inherit. I would place a 50% tax on everything over $1 million and a 100% tax on everything over $10 million. This would be a tax on how much one person can receive, not on the size of the estate.

      If you want to avoid the tax, spread it around or give it to charity.

      • myiq2xu says:

        That’s why Thomas Jefferson abolished entail and primogeniture in Virginia – he wanted to break up concentrations of wealth.

        • DeniseVB says:

          So wouldn’t a fair tax balance that out? As in, here are all the grifter kids inheriting sudden wealth, then they go out and buy all the stuff of their dreams…..gazillions worth.

          Unlike we schlubs who use the pittance from our parents’ estates to pay off bills, second mortgages, replace the family clunker and kids’ college loans?

          I got on board the fair tax movement when I read a socialite spent 6k on a shower curtain for her penthouse remodel. That’s having too much money 🙂

        • myiq2xu says:

          What do you mean by a fair tax?

        • DeniseVB says:

          For myiq:


          It’s not popular with the 1% (no loopholes!), surprised the owies didn’t climb aboard this train 😉

        • myiq2xu says:

          You can’t explain it in 2-3 sentences?

        • 1539days says:

          Progressive national sales tax.

        • DeniseVB says:

          myiq….Fair Tax, abolish the IRS, no tax on income, only spending, no loopholes. Protects the working poor and broadens the tax base to the cottage industries who fly below the tax radar, like drug dealers and under the table moonlighter/barterers 😀

          I posted the link, it’s all based on spending not incoming $$. I think it’s way better than progressive taxes, because those only apply to the 53%. This applies to the 100% who spend at the Dollar Store or Rodeo Drive 🙂 Even Steven, eh?

      • yttik says:

        The problem is when you talk about taxing something at 100%, you’re talking about allowing the government to seize those assets, apparently with the idea that the Gov would then spend the money to benefit the people? The problem is, the Gov rarely manages to spend the money on the people. Allowing them to confiscate anything over 10 million means they would have more money to build bombs, invade small countries, buy themselves personal jets, fund pet projects in exchange for campaign donations.

        This is a basic ideological struggle going on right now between the Left and the Right. The left doesn’t think the wealthy are ethical enough to handle all their wealth and the Right doesn’t think the Gov is ethical enough to handle it all. In reality, they’re both right.

        • elliesmom says:

          I don’t have a problem with a reasonable estate tax, but I do have a problem with the government confiscating someone’s wealth after they die to “spread it around”. If myiq’s plan passed, and I had more than I could divide into $10 million dollar chunks for the kids and grandkid’s, I’d leave my money to Ellie before I’d let the government take it. (Ellie is my avatar.) My husband, on the other hand, would happily leave his money to the government. He had better go first is all I can say.

  9. myiq2xu says:

    Today is Coffee Day!

    Hail Juan Valdez! Hail Starbucks!

  10. myiq2xu says:

    My daughter is in labor with Grandchild #4 (aka Grandson #3)

  11. votermom says:

    OT. Pathetico:

    Sarah Palin’s absence slidelines tea party
    The tea party is still pining for Sarah Palin.
    The grassroots conservative movement has yet to throw its support behind a Republican presidential candidate because “we don’t have the female Ronald Reagan running — and that’s Sarah Palin,” said Amy Kremer, chairwoman of the Tea Party Express.
    “We haven’t engaged in presidential politics yet because the movement hasn’t coalesced around anybody, so we’re just sitting back and waiting,” Kremer added.
    Predicting that a good slice of the country’s conservatives will not make up their minds until they are standing in front of the ballot box, Kremer singled out the former Alaska governor as “the only person out there right now that can truly excite the base.”
    “Certainly some candidates bring their own energy and excitement. Michele Bachmann had it early on when she won the [Iowa] straw poll, and then when Perry got in,” she said. “But there’s no one that is electrifying as Sarah Palin.”
    Kremer is the leader of one of many tea party groups. But while she is far from being the authoritative voice of the movement, she suggested a sense of ambivalence and frustration is widespread among conservatives.

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1211/70572.html#ixzz1gjjhCMzO

    • DeniseVB says:

      I’m not an activist tea party member but I support the message and on some of the local and national email lists. They are doing just fine. Wait for it. 😀

  12. elliesmom says:

    I’m at two and holding, and delightfully, have one of each model. It’s nice that you have both, too. One of my hobbies is taking photos of spiders and their tangled webs. My grandson will have none of it so I’m hoping his little sister will find them as fascinating as I do. He’s 5 and loves the digital camera I bought for him, but he and his grandfather do not appreciate the beauty of the arachnids. Baby girl is still in the personality formation stage. I’m not much of baby person, but I do love kids that can talk and walk. I’m patiently waiting for her to get there. I hope your daughter’s labors are short.

  13. Susan says:

    Who’s that trip-trapping on my bridge?

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