Maybe it’s just how I was brought up, but I believe when you live in a modern society you’re held to some level of social responsibility. And while I never begrudge anyone who achieves great success or wealth, I do believe that when someone achieves this within a society, they to have a responsibility to that society.
There might be no greater example of that than Walmart, which is the world’s largest private employer. It’s a company that comes under great scrutiny here in the United States for what many, myself included, call a sub-standard level of pay for their employees — which ends up forcing many of them onto government programs even while working full-time for the company.
Which is ironic considering Republicans often slam those who rely on government assistance. Yet here we have a company like Walmart, paying its employees such a low wage that even while “gainfully employed” they’re still forced to use government programs.
Well, in a recent statement, a liberal group made the accusation that the Walton family controls a fortune equal to that of the bottom 42 percent of Americans combined. A statement Politifact rated as “True” — their best rating, which means the facts back up the statement completely with no gray area whatsoever.
Staggering, isn’t it?
Politifact then went a step further and pulled numbers from a Forbes list of the richest Americans, which came up with this:
No. 6: Christy Walton (daughter-in-law), $35.4 billion
No. 7: Jim Walton (son), $33.8 billion
No. 8: Alice Walton (daughter), $33.5 billion
No. 9: S. Robson Walton (son), $33.3 billion
No. 95: Ann Walton Kroenke (niece), $4.7 billion
No. 110: Nancy Walton Laurie (niece), $4 billion
To add that up for you, those six people are worth a total of around $144.7 billion — or as much as the bottom 42 percent of Americans combined.
Who in their right mind really believes it’s a good thing for this country that six people (from the same family, no less) have more wealth than tens of millions of Americans combined?
There’s always a lot of talk from Republicans about “overthrowing our government” and a second revolution. Well, I’ll promise you this — if we continue to allow just a handful of people in this country to control the vast majority of the wealth, that is how you’ll start a second revolution.
This level of top-down economics isn’t sustainable and eventually will boil over. Which is exactly where we’re headed as long as we continue to support economic policies that are based on the notion that people like the Waltons need more while the poorest among us need less.
Because that’s exactly what Republicans support — cuts to federal programs that help the poor and needy while advocating deeper tax cuts for the richest among us.
It’s an economic model that’s been an overwhelming failure for 98 percent of Americans while benefitting only the richest 2 percent of us, and we can’t continue to stand for it much longer.