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View Diary: Just 6 Walmart heirs have as much wealth as 30% of Americans (203 comments)

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  •  The Waltons aren't hiring anyone (21+ / 0-)

    I assume these wealth figures are for the family members themselves, not for the corporation.

    The Walton family members are unlikely to be hiring anyone, aside from whatever staff they need to manage their family matters or their real estate or whatever.

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is a common but mistaken talking-point -- the idea that concentrated personal wealth is good for job creation.

    Sure, big corporations usually employ lots of people. But those are separate entities.

    And remember: If you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own. - Scoop Nisker, the Last News Show

    by North Madison on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 01:12:04 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Well I dunno (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mumtaznepal, coffeetalk

      The Walton family is pretty much still involved heavily in Wal-Mart's operation - at least some component of the family.

      But here's the dilemna again - wrt personal wealth vs corporate wealth.

      Is it really better for Apple to have something like 80 billion dollars in liquid assets(read:cash) than to have one family that has 80 billion dollars?

      Is the family more likely to be morally evil than the corporation?

      Is the corporation better because they have more aptitude to re-invest the money into society?

      If not, or they are equally immoral for the concentrated wealth, what is the solution?

      It would seem to be that you would want to redistribute it - as TomP says, it creates a ruling class - which he indicates is immoral(Quibble: On who's guide of morality? Certainly not on a free market scale or even most religious scales) but how do you equably distribute it. To Whom? Who Distributes? Will it actually work?

      Again, I dunno. I just have reservations about class warfare against someone because they inherited money.  Who sets the guidelines about the morality. Is 1 Billion the cutoff? 1 Million? 100,000?

      •  is it moral to own billions while others starve? (15+ / 0-)

        is allowing inheritances of billions not de facto economic royalism. isn't that anti american?

        Who cares what banks may fail in Yonkers. Long as you've got a kiss that conquers.

        by rasbobbo on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 01:52:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Isn't that up to the morality of the owner of the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          campionrules, edwardssl

          money?

          I'm sorry - being wealthy, even by inheritance, is not a horror, is not morally disgusting, does not make one evil.

          Let's keep our eyes on the prize:  how the system has been gamed to unfairly advantage those with wealth.

          It's not the wealth, it's the unfairness in the system.

          Everyone should have an opportunity to work hard and gain wealth.

          Occupy The Voting Booth - vote for candidates that represent your Occupy values.

          by mumtaznepal on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 02:02:56 PM PST

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          •  if one's massive wealth is an impediment (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            happymisanthropy, Abelia

            to everyone else's opportunity how is it moral?
            at some point, don't the numbers speak for themselves?
            is it moral for 1% to control 40% of the wealth of a nation?
            how abot 60%? how about 90%?
            if the system is immoral & you are the beneficiary of that immorality, how can you claim any kind of personal morality?

            Who cares what banks may fail in Yonkers. Long as you've got a kiss that conquers.

            by rasbobbo on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 04:21:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  What happens when 1 family owns 100% of the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            happymisanthropy

            nation's wealth? When one family owns the entire nation can they evict whoever they don't like?

            If there's a reason for the rich to rule, please Lord, tell us why. -Battle of Jericol, Coal Mining Woman

            by JayRaye on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 05:52:05 PM PST

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      •  The AVERAGE wage paid a Walmart employee is (11+ / 0-)

        less than the STARTING pay at Costco.

        I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

        by bobdevo on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 02:13:38 PM PST

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      •  So take morality out of the equation (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Susan from 29, Saint Jimmy, Abelia

        I agree with you that morality is not the most productive framing because morality is inherently subjective and situational.

        Instead, let's talk about in terms of practicality. We live in a country in which taxation is Constitutionally legal, so there is no question that income, property, estate taxes etc. are legal and viable options for funding the government. The question is what levels we set.

        We are currently living in a time of historically low taxes and historically high income inequity in which class mobility is disappearing. That these things are all connected is pretty easy to see. Take education as an easy example: lower income children are more likely to face barriers in education both due to outside factors to schools (hunger, untreated health problems, lack of good places to study) and inside factors (poor infrastructure, outdated textbooks, more crowded classes, fewer subject options). Should they still be ready for college, they are more likely to need to take out loans. When they graduate, they are both less likely to have assistance from parental networks with finding jobs that are either high paying or a good first step onto a career and they are more likely to have their loans siphon off a significant portion of whatever income they get. So they face much greater institutional barriers to obtaining a job that will propel them into the 10% or 5%, much less the 1%.

        So when you question whether we should be taxing people like the Waltons at higher rates, IMHO, the better question is whether there's any alternative that does not lead to a hopelessly dysfunctional society.

        •  yeah, there is an alternative ... (0+ / 0-)

          starting with ... let's say ... taking morality seriously and not use a cop-out for dissing it, because it is inherently subjective and situational.

          May I conclude that other countries, whose gap between the very wealthy and the biggest corporations to the very poor and the smallest family businesses is smaller, are  more moral than the US?

          You know, I wouldn't mind that one bit. Let's just be straight and tell it what it is. HUGELY IMMORAL.

          •  I agree with both of these comments! (0+ / 0-)

            It is both immoral and impractical to have wealth concentrated and inherited like this.

            However you like to frame it, bad news.

          •  Morality is subjective, however (0+ / 0-)

            And someone who doesn't agree with you about the immorality of it can respond, "No, it's not immoral. It's immoral to confiscate money from people who lawfully possess it." And then you're at an impasse.

            Personally, I agree with you about the morality of the issue. But I think it's more persuasive to argue about the factual issues of what the negative effects of extreme income inequity are. The main problem is that the list is so long it's hard to discuss it all in a forum like this!

            (also note that you're discussion of an alternative isn't actually a response to my ending question as the alternative I asked for was an alternative to taxing the superrich at higher rates)

      •  No no ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happymisanthropy

        ... did i miss someone say they were against inherited money?  

        Look, if i won a lottery, i'd be expected to pay taxes on the amount i won.  Go ahead and inherit your fortune!  But you should, in a just society, pay taxes on that income.

        •  Income is income (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jts327

          I think one of the horrible inequities in the tax code is the idea that some income is more taxable than other income.  I am firmly convinced all income should be taxed the same, whether it's from wages, capital gains, gambling, smuggling or an inheritance.  I really don't want to mess around with an inheritance tax at all.  Just tax the inheritance as income to the recipients.  So if you gave your $1M estate to 1000 poor people, there probably wouldn't be any taxes at all.  But if you gave it all to 1 person, they'd be paying on a $1M income, which should be in excess of 50%.

          Frankly, I blame everything on Nixon.

          by J Orygun on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 11:04:24 PM PST

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      •  You can't have a ruling class (0+ / 0-)

        in a Democratic Republic. That's kinda sorta what our revolution and the founding of our country was about...

        It's not about morality it's about how we want our country to be...America is about equality of opportunity and equality of expression and equality of justice and those values negate having a ruling class.

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