Walton$ Mountain

14 May

Today on the internet I saw a list posted by Forbes Magazine of the 5 richest women in the United States. The top 2 were Christy Walton and Alice Walton of the Walton family and Wal-Mart fame. Christy’s brother-in laws (Alice’s brothers) Jim and S. Robson, are also quite wealthy and together they are numbers 6,7,8 and 9 on the top 10 list of the richest people in America. All together they have over 107 billion dollars between them.

Isn’t it amazing that a company whose employees are mostly poor and whose shoppers are mostly poor creates enough wealth to produce 4 of the 10 richest people in America?

In fact Wal-Mart CEO Michael Duke’s (not a member of the family…too poor) earns about $20 million a year, or about 9,615 dollars an hour. Which when you think about it is only about 9,606 dollars more per hour than your average Wal-Mart employee who makes around $8.75 an hour and who would gross about $13,650 a year. So Mr. Duke earns about as much as 1,465 of his employees put together.

On the other hand, the 4 richest Walton’s earn more than 7.8 million of their employees put together…but that’s OK because Wal-Mart only employs about 1.5 million Americans…so there is still plenty of Wal-Mart work to be done. Yet just to be fair, that is a lot of employees and Wal-Mart does pay its taxes…but still…

There are many ways to make one’s fortune in this world, and building one on the backs of the poor is still the best way to make the biggest ones possible. And why is that? Because…

On an interesting and ironic side note, if you Google “The Waltons” you’ll see a list featuring the story of John-Boy and all of his favorite relatives who live with him in Walton’s Mountain, a fictitious television town in rural Virginia. If you watched this show then you learned about how a very large and extended family could  live happily together during the great depression in the United States even though they were poor and didn’t have much money… and yet they had a town and a mountain named after them….go figure.

But of course in America art imitates life almost every day…on television.

10 Responses to “Walton$ Mountain”

  1. charlypriest May 14, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    It employs 1.5 million americans? Thank God, that would be almost or more 1/6 of the population in Spain that is out of work.(27%unemployment here). Employees make 13.600+$ a year? In Spain that´s just fine, and be considered lucky If we make 1.000$/month. I love the U.S, but when some americans criticise their own country for going to `unjust´wars, and not helping the poor. You really are self centered, I´d be more than glad that rich ass bastards will hire me and earn 13.000+$/year, because I value what some americans don´t, I live in a shitty country, not saying the U.S is perfect, but given the options…it´s the best un-perfect country in the world. Thanks to those rich bastards, people have a roof on their head, have a job(it makes you get up out of bed and DO something not only for your own self esteem but provide a service to other people) and in life if you´re smart and hardworking you might use a Wall-mart job as a platform to rise up in the money department.

    • elroyjones May 14, 2013 at 11:54 pm #

      Or you might be glad to have the largesse of the Waltons and not mind being exploited at all because you’re old and tired and social security won’t pay for rent and medicine and groceries and heat. By working at Walmart you can get a discount on the cat food you eat every night for dinner so you can purchase the medicine you need to live. There is a lot to be grateful for here in the land of milk and honey.You’re right we Americans are selfish, narcissistic, and demanding.

      • charlypriest May 15, 2013 at 8:54 am #

        Wow, hold on everyone, I din´t say YOU Americans, I lived half my life in 4 different states of the Union, as an immigrant I found out that as I said in my first post, that from all the un-perfect countries, the U.S did give me the opportunity that I couldn´t have gotten in Spain, I got a scholarship because some rich bastard payed for it( and I worked my behind off to get the grades). Now I´m back home broke out of work living with my parents(quite a shame really with 30 years), since the rich bastards have fled from Spain or their not employing anymore because of high taxes. I didn´t say anything about selfish and narcissitic Americans.(At least I don´t see it in my comment) To the contrary, I remember the times I did community service, you don´t have that in Spain. But community service the name speaks for itself, it´s the community, the people, who help each other not the government. So it translates to Walmart, they do provide a service to the community.They have some programs something like helping schools with books in whichever community they are at or building houses.( I know they displace some local businesses, but those pops and moms businesses which I loved when I was there, sometimes is better for the whole economy of that county or state if Wally comes in, I said sometimes. We live in an unperfect world. I never got why people hate the rich, some may have earned it through hard work some inherited, I don´t care, they are not my enemy. I would be dumb I I´m unemployed and there was a vacant post for sales in Walmart and not take it because I hate the Waltons. What do I care about them, I care that yes 1000+$a month I´ll have to not go eat to restaurants every week, or movies, or go out and party, I can get dog food for my two dogs though, I´ll have a roof over my head even if it´s a small roof, maybe no heating conditions, fine I can buy in the local store an Eskimo suit for 3$. Life ain´t perfect. But it would sure beat living in my parents house, in a country where you pay 23% of taxes for every product you buy,it´s what you guys call a flat tax, but instead of 9% or whatever you got there we triple it here and with the majority of spaniards out of work and the rest making 1000$+ it´s not easy to get by with so high taxes. Let alone helping the old or poor with S.S, because there is no money in S.S since there are less people paying in to it and more people getting it. Spanish by nature are lazy, believe me. Tell the Mexicans jumping the Rio Grand….yeah for me that´s shitty work, and for them too, but it beats being in Mexico. Just saying, and I think is normal, if you live in a country so un-perfect but way perfect than most, some, again I say some Americans become to complacent, and don´t value what they have. They are always looking for some faults. Good discussion though.

      • elroyjones May 15, 2013 at 9:23 am #

        We don’t hate the rich for being rich. We have healthy disdain for individuals who exploit human beings so that they may live a life of abundance while others struggle.
        As an employer, I go without pay when times are tough so that the people who work with us can earn a living. I pay the human beings who work with us a fair, living wage. Walmart exploits workers in this country and others by not paying fair wages or benefits while the owners live extravagantly at the expense of the working poor.
        Americans would be complacent if they accepted what was given to them and didn’t strive for fairness and equality in their demand for a more perfect union.
        I’ve been to many third world countries and seen wretched poverty. In those same countries I’ve observed large corporations (many of them American, I’m ashamed to say) exploiting the labor force. I know that Americans live better than a lot of people on the planet.
        We must always challenge the status quo in order to protect each other.

      • charlypriest May 15, 2013 at 9:50 am #

        O.K, so we agree to disagree. That´s what´s cool about a democracy and rational individuals like us, though you make some good points.

  2. crossinh May 14, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    Grossing about $13,000 is nowhere close to actually taking home that amount. Also, heaven forbid you get sick because Walmart does not offer it’s employees affordable healthcare which means they either suffer without medical care or go on state/federal aid so the rest of the country pays for their care. The cost of living is higher in the U.S. than in Spain, by the way…. My morals tell me it is wrong to get get ridiculously rich off the backs of the poor, just like it is wrong to get rich off of polluting our planet.

  3. serendipityherbals May 14, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    Walmart’s usually displace jobs that were *already* in the community, and pay lower than the previous mom and pop stores, so workers do worse in the money department when Walmart’s move into their communities. Walmart tries to keep people from drawing benefits by limiting hours, using the government as a back up subsidy for workers, and reducing their employee benefits expense. Walmart’s also require taxpayers to foot the bill for their poor choice of sites (often choosing to pave over wetlands for their stores)…environmental cleanup, roads and stop lights apparently come out of everyone’s pocket in a community, which is what I refer to as dishonest “hidden costs”. Walmart is notorious for selling cheaply made goods…cheaper clothes that fall apart in short order, cheap shoes where the sole wears out or break apart within a month. If a store is selling to the poor to help them, if they are truly that compassionate to hide behind defense of such argument, it would help to sell clothes and items that do not break within a month. School kids need new shoes, and that should not be a monthly expense.

    I’m a fairly frugal gal myself. I don’t shop Walmart, no bang for buck there. Being poor is an artful endeavor if one works on real life skills. I don’t buy expensive cleaning products for the lowest price in town or with coupons, I clean with vinegar and baking soda. I make degreaser out of orange peels. I’ve seen many people with low income blow the precious money that they do have, because product advertising is effective. Mostly, Walmart sells cheap products. Lack of vision is a plague on society, and it is a perfectly engineered phenomenon.

    I really enjoy reading your blog posts, they are always thoughtful and informative! 🙂

  4. camparigirl May 14, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    I never set foot inside a Walmart, mostly for the reasons a couple of your commenters stated above. Recently I heard a piece on the radio on how Walmart is installing solar panels on stores all across the country (yes, it will save them millions) and, coupled with the better food options they are now stocking, I wondered if Walmart wasn’t changing the way it does business. Now your post has dissuaded me from thinking of giving WM a try.
    We might be the most perfect imperfect country in the world, but it’s still our duty to go to bat for the underpriviliged, even if they are better off than a Bangladeshi worker. It’s all relative – $13,000 in this country doesn’t allow a decent living.

  5. gordoncstewart May 15, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    Thank you for this. We have been on the fast track to becoming what we used to call a Third World country where there are basically two classes: upper and under. Walmart is part of that. The first commenter clearly is missing something very serious. You don’t measure the success of a company or a country by comparing it to the lowest, the worst, or to the statistical photograph of unemployment that justifies injustice. Those who have tried to live on $13,650 (not net, but gross) without health car and other benefits have earned the right to declare Walmart’s employment practices just and fair.

    As a pastor who serves people who hold their economic and health lives together with scotch tape and baling wire, I find Walmart the very worst of nightmare of the increasing disparity of wealth in America. The Waltons and I, BTW, hold membership in the same Christian denomination. They have been very generous with their charitable giving, but Jesus’ jarring parable of the Rich Man and Dives will not go away, and will not let us walk by those whose sores the Rich Man has ignored or, worse yet, has created.

  6. Teri Lynn May 18, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    I’ve known people who have worked for Wal-Mart and they are horrible to work for. One of the former employees at 8 months pregnant, was refused the right to take breaks of any kind!

    I’ve heard similar stories from many others. Unfortunately where I reside, all we seem to have are Wal-Marts; two at the moment and a third due to open my early next year.All these will be within 15 miles of each other. Seems a bit excessive to me but that’s Wal-Mart

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