Why the Waltons?

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The Walton family is the richest family in the United States and one of the richest and most powerful in the world. They are heirs to the Walmart fortune and the company’s largest shareholders, with over fifty percent ownership of stock in the retail giant.

Sam Walton and his brother Bud opened their first Walmart discount store in 1962. Today three family members serve on Walmart’s board of directors; Rob is the chair, and sits on the board with his brother Jim and his son-in-law, Greg Penner.

The six Waltons on Forbes’ list of world billionaires have a net worth of $148.8 billion. This fiscal year three Waltons—Rob, Jim, and Alice (and the various entities that they control)—will receive an estimated $3.16 billion in Walmart dividends from their majority stake in the company.

The Waltons aren’t just the face of the 1%; they’re the face of the 0.000001%. The Waltons have more wealth than 42% of American families combined.

Why does all of this matter? While the Waltons are building billion-dollar museums, driving million-dollar cars, and jumping between vacation homes, Walmart, the country’s largest private employer, is paying its associates an average of $8.81 an hour. The Waltons make billions a year off of a company most of them don’t even work for, while Walmart associates struggle for respect on the job and enough pay to make ends meet.

Through their family legacy, places on Walmart’s board of directors, and their majority stake in the company, the Waltons have the power to turn 1.4 million Walmart jobs into good jobs.


  1. chloe ross says:

    I despise Wal-Mart. I have never been in one and have no intention of ever going into one. If the general public used as much energy blaming Wal-Mart for it’s real agenda as they do blaming minorities, African Americans and Jews for the woes of the world the Waltons might get demoted to just rich. I do believe for this family indentured servitude and good old fashioned slavery are still very much in favor. They put other businesses out of business and keep Chinese greed growing and Chinese workers imprisioned making cheap crap that should not be made, let alone sold. They know their demographic. I know mine. Wal-Mart =Exploitation and Cheap prices for even cheaper crap. Shop elsewhere.

  2. Yuki says:

    The federal gnnervmeot continues to explore macroeconomics by instituting massive experiments on the populace. There would be no other way to resolve certain intellectual economic questions without it.The penalty on the employer for not providing health insurance is a complicated brew, up to $2,000 per employee. We will be able to measure experimentally the comparative elasticity of labor supply, labor demand, and investment demand. In simpler terms, we will find out how much of the penalty creates lower wages, creates a lower return on investment (and less investment in productive activities), and/or produces higher prices. The data will be a boon to economics professors, who will study it for years. (smile)Government Motto: We just don’t know, but we are going to find out, regardless of the expense. We can’t plan without good experimental data.Considering the summary below, it is undertandable that employers cannot evaluate what their health care costs will be, and they are paying now for advice on what this all means to them.=== ===[edited excerpts] Only a large employer may be subject to penalties regarding employer-sponsored health insurance. A “large employer” is an employer who employed an average of at least 50 full-time equivalent employees on business days during the preceding calendar year. As shown in Table 1, in order to determine whether an employer is a “large employer,” both full-time and part-time employees are included in the calculation. “Full-time employees” are those working an average of at least 30 hours per week. The number of full-time employees excludes those full-time seasonal employees who work for up to 120 days during the year. The hours worked by part-time employees (i.e., those working less than 30 hours per week) are included in the calculation of a large employer, on a monthly basis, by taking their total number of monthly hours worked divided by 120.As described in greater detail below, an individual may be eligible for a premium credit either because the employer does not offer coverage or the employer offers coverage that is either not “affordable” or does not provide “minimum value.”=== ===03/23/10 Econlog by Bryan CaplanA nice review of ObamaCare penalties and incentives.

  3. Jonerot says:

    I refuse to shop at walmart. I will gladly pay a higher price at Albertsons supermarket to support their unionized employees rather than give walmart 1 penny of my income.

  4. Randy Phillips says:

    I am at a loss to understand what the argument is here. By using your own numbers of 69.7 billion in 07 and 93 billion in 12, there is a profit of 23.3 billion over a 5 year period. If the company raised the pay of their employees by only 2 dollars per hour, it would cost the company 5.8 billion per year. Again, that is using your number of 1.4 million employees. Over the same five years, that would cost the company 29 billion dollars. My math tells me that there would be a net loss of 5.7 billion dollars. A raise of 1.60 per hour per employee would wipe out any and all profits by these people. The only remaining question is, where is the incentive to employ these people at this point. Why not just take your riches to the Bahamas and enjoy life. By the way, your numbers don’t add up on the full time employees compensation. 8.81 x 40 hours x 52 weeks = 18324. 10.41 x 40 hours x 52 weeks = 21652. That is a difference of 3328 dollars which is a nice chunk of change, but also just enough to raise most people over the threshold of qualification for the government programs which you argue these people are having to apply for. Be careful of what you wish for. You just might get it. 1.4 million unemployed.

  5. Christella says:

    Randy Philips does not comprehed. they did not make 23.3 billion over 5 years. They increased their profits by 23.3 billion on top of what they already had. Your argument is completely invalid

  6. jctnguy says:

    Randy Philips also says that 1.4 million (the number of employees) multiplied by 2 (the number of dollars used in the example) is 5.8 million. Actually, it is 2.8. But I guess that number didn’t help his argument.

  7. Insurin says:

    Wow this pay is crazy low, I’m a small business owner and I can say I would be ashamed of myself to pay my employees that low wage. The point is to give back, help people and prosper…I wish all the very best.

  8. John says:

    In June of this year the “Board” approved a $15 Billion stock buyback to buy back outstanding stock. To use this money for that purpose does not do anything for employee relations. However what it DOES do is escalate the value of the remaining shares outstanding. So when the family owns 51% of those outstanding shares they essentially are getting 51% of the $15 billion. And without paying any taxes on it either. This has been going on for years. That’s how they got from 69.7 Billion to 93 Billion in such a short period of time.

  9. Rob says:

    Randy Phillips is correct with his math. A $2 per hour raise for 1.4 million employees for 40 hours per for 52 weeks per year does equal $5.8 billion per year. You also have to add the extra social security and Medicare that Walmart has to pay on top of that and that adds another $440 mil. Plus any extra fringes for 401k, etc. and you are talking about a company that will either have to raise prices or lay off employees. Neither of those choices are good in this economic environment.

  10. Jim says:

    The last time I shopped in a Wal-Mart was twenty years ago and never stepped foot in another. I refuse to buy their junk made in China. Boycott this place

  11. Alex says:

    If they can’t afford to pay their employees a living wage, they shouldn’t be in business. If paying their employees an extra $2.00 an hour will make them raise their prices, then their prices are too low. Allowing this type of exploitation of the workforce is bad for the nation. It is only good for the Waltons.

  12. ME says:

    I shop at WalMart all of the time and aside from the lack of air conditioner I love it. WalMart supplies jobs to those that wouldn’t otherwise have a job… Thank WalMart

  13. mike says:

    Me, if walmart wasn’t around, do you think that other business would not pop up in its place? other jobs? America uses all the jobs it has, if a big company goes down others will take its place and provide those jobs.

  14. lee says:

    Do you really think anyone on the board will be reading anything that’s written on this forum??

  15. Fran says:

    Many of us have complained about the crumbled rear entrance parking lot to the Pleasant Valley St.,
    Methuen, MA, Walmart store for a year now!

    With all your money, why haven’t the Walton family done hot topping to that side entrance?? Our car’s shocks are taking a beating with your crumbled entrance parking lot!!

  16. Delbert says:

    It took my wife 13 year at Wal-Mart to get to $12.50 an hour . The employees get an annual raise of $0.40 per year and most due not get 40 hrs . Her hours are 32.5 a week. but now Wal-Mart has cut her hours to off one week and back on a week,so that makes her pay now 2-15-2014 $6.25 per hour. I hope the Waltos choke on their Billons

  17. Alumna says:

    The more I read about Walmart and its practices the more I believe that the people making the supplies in China are being exploited along with the US workforce that works for them. Yes free enterprise is good but what about ethical standards? No one cares about a stupid art museum and spending millions on paintings when there are so many starving people in the US and overseas. I haven’t heard of anything that they have done with any if their billions to help anyone out. Maybe they should take an airplane ride to the poorest part of Africa for a day and see what suffering is all about. Or drive through the poorest part maybe their priorities will change. There is something seriously wrong with the US if one family is allowed to get that rich with so many others starving.

  18. janice english says:

    the waltons never havek anything “jewish” in their stories-like matzoh at Passover; they are anti-semitic and scum bas

  19. Gregory Thompson says:

    I’d like to know since WHEN… is it fair for to say that a person who works hard and save money a criminal ? Or Why should a company give away all it’s profits to the poor. The Waltons have given away more money to charity than ANYONE in the WORLD. If you don’t want to work at Walmart, Don’t !!! They all know how much their pay was when they took the Job. If one job is not enough income for you, then get another. It’s not the Walton’s responsibility to supplement the lazy

  20. You don't get it says:

    @Gregory Thompson. I’m assuming you live in America or any other Capitalist country like me. You haven’t looked at something past people being lazy. People are taking the jobs because there are no other jobs. They need any money, and we have such a bad economy that these are the only jobs left to take. And you’re wrong too. They haven’t donated more than anyone. IN FACT, THEY ONLY HAVE THE #8 SPACE FOR DONATIONS. They’re even trumped by Bill Gates, and they’re twice as wealthy as him. (http://walmart1percent.org/the-walton-family-foundation-how-much-do-they-give-and-to-whom/)
    Read Delberts comment too. They cut her working time in half. They are effectively paying her under minimum wage. They have so much to give, but they aren’t. They are just going to get wealthier, and another thing. America is broke too. We need any money we can get. And The Waltons can give their own country some money too.

  21. Nancy Perry says:

    I see people trying to do the math related to Walmart employees’ salaries and the prices of their products. One approach would be to raise the cost of their 5 most popular items by one cent (!) with that increase given to improved wages. If I can think of that solution – actually it was inspired by Jon Stewart the other night – then surely someone in Waltonland could figure it out. The real question is: why don’t they want to figure this out? How do they feel when their employees are offered a canned goods drive set up within their own stores? In the book Twelve Years A Slave the real enslaved man, after he was restored to freedom, wrote about one slaveholder who was a “decent man.” But a decent man couldn’t free his slaves or pay them wages within the cultural and economic moment in history that he lived in. His “fellow men” would have done something drastic to him for deserting the code that sustained their lives as they were. So could that man really call himself a good man? Can any member of the Walmart clan truly judge him or her self a good person? They have the ability to change the system they created. If they lost shareholders of the Romney et al persuasion they could replace them with others who would be proud to partake in the improved version of the empire. Why won’t they do this? Do they feel GOOD about themselves? I think it is really that simple. They will be vilified when the perspective changes, but they could be the instigators of change and then they would be good people.

  22. Aunt Jemima says:

    @janice english…your grammar is terrible. I see Jewish products for passover at my Walmart every year. Not every store can carry things that you want. It would be pointless for a business to have items that will not sell. There are other places that you can purchase what you need. When I run out of Lizano, I can’t go to Costa Rica every time. Luckily, amazon.com has it!

    As for Walmart, it’s a love hate relationship. I was an hourly employee for a couple of years for the homeoffice. I worked on moving to a salaried position. The difference was night and day. The pay is much better. Hard work does pay off. As long as I still have a job and I make good money at this location, I could care less of how much the Waltons make.

    When I was hourly, there was no way I could afford to pay those union fees. Sure Union leaders do not make Walton money. They sure do make a lot more than I do. A lot of them make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Don’t forget how much they get in perks.

    Walmart hired me days after I got my degree as an hourly associate. I paid off my $40k in student loans. I have had to suspend my career search accounts because I use to get many interview requests from the few years I have worked for this company. The experience is invaluable.

    Haters are going to hate. I will reiterate that it’s a love hate relationship with Walmart. I thank the company for giving me the opportunity to live the life style that I have now.

  23. Aaron W says:

    I agree with a few on here. How can those f****** a******s who own Walmart sleep at night with their billions? I would never open a business unless I could at least allow my PART TIME employees make (after taxes) $2000 per month! You scumbag jjackasses Walmart. I hope your company crumbles. Rich f****!

  24. Aaron W says:

    And why should this companies owners and shareholders keep even ‘one’ BILLION? Heck….if I had well paid employees and took home 50 million every year (after all bills and responsibilities are paid), I’d still feel a little selfish

  25. Tatiana Florenzano says:

    There is something intrinsically wrong , cruel, and immoral in a society when working on one job or two a maximum of 40 hours per week does not provide enough income to cover non-discretionary expenses, and that is only surviving! One can compare us to the starving people in Africa and of course we are better off, but what about Scandinavian societies and others where people do not have to worry about being unemployed, homeless, hungry, or sick? If we are the greatest place on earth what is stopping us from being like that? Why doesn’t the minimum wage enable us to live here? There are many people that for various reasons, and it is not for laziness, can only get a minimum wage. I think Wal Mart is wrong, greedy, cruel and immoral, and that we, as a society, have lost our humanity if we do not react anymore, are not capable of understanding or being in someone else’s shoes, it does require a quantum leap of imagination and empathy, and experience of suffering, to be in someone else’s shoes. Many in our society lack this capacity, especially people like the Waltons. What they do is wrong and nothing can excuse it.

  26. kirk says:

    for all of you complaining about the waltons what are you doing about the problem. If you have time to comment here you are more fortunate than most. Instead of eating out give that money to someone in need instead of nike buy dollar store brand shoes and buy shoes for the poor. If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem. It doesnt make sense what so ever for a company to give away its profits.

  27. Mark M. says:

    I don’t get it. WalMart employees are free to go work somewhere else if they want more money. Why is it the Walton’s problem that these people aren’t happy with their station in life? Target, Sears, Kmart, Home Depot… not much different than WalMart when it comes to wages. Most retail workers earn low wages. Noticed I used the word “earn”. Most of the time I get bad service at WalMart or have to deal with an employee that knows next to nothing. Why does a person like that deserve more money?

  28. Sarah Walton says:

    “The Walton family is the richest family in the United States”. Well I inherited a rich last name, sadly it came without the riches. I am proud of my family legacy. We are a family of great business minds that can create an industry out of nothing. It also provides jobs through out America, the thing that we are most in need of. Our last name is also on one of the most important documents in America, the declaration of independence signed by George Walton. We are an influential family in America and I hope I can continue the legacy in my own way.

  29. Mark says:

    Cant believe the greed these people have for money theres no pockets in coffins and after watching the documentary on the way the exploit there employees the wealth they command is mind blowing.ld be embarrassed to be part of walmart if l was in management there.lf all employees stick together to form a union and dont turn up to work theyll go broke.

  30. Barry Bynum says:

    I’ve been in a town where there were NO jobs, then Walmart came and gave people work, profit-sharing, health insurance, dental insurance, your own birthday off paid, opportunity for advancement. and made available 10% discount on groceries, dry goods, school supplies and all other items regardless of cost. I would imagine that some of the Waltons feel that this is one of many ways they have given to the community, and I think if you were to add up the bulk of these benifits to the workers over the last 35 years, it would be a huge sum. And hey yes i have seem of the folks complain about trying to scrape by, but dangit their kids have iphones, fashion shoes and xboxes, and cable TV, and they are leasing a nice car, and eating out. See it all the time.

  31. Lester says:

    I saw all the comments on Walmart and the billions they have in the bank, Well here in South Africa we have the Shoprite Chains not so big like walmart but sales figures this year was more then a 100 Billion, The CEO Whitey Basson took home a hefty R50 Million in bonuses,compare to the people they pay at store levels i think they get paid R12.20 an hour. My point is this yes we have the right to complain the Waltons inherited that wealth and how you share that wealth is in direct proportion how you treat the Living God who put it there. Well as Paul put it in Romans rich people will get worse in they greet.

    hope all understand.

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