The stock market has been surging to new highs on a regular basis, corporate profits have soared, and taxes on corporations as a percentage of GDP are lower than they've ever been in decades. During Obama's reign as president of the United States, the top 1% --- of the 1% --- of the 1% --- has been doing phenomenally well.
Despite all the great success of most major U.S. corporations, if they weren't outsourcing jobs, they've kept their domestic employees' wages low, cut their hours and benefits, and squeezed more productivity out of them by laying off their co-workers. Productivity is at historic highs, but Americans (especially those making minimum wage) have less buying power as a whole now than they did 51 years ago.
50% of America's work force earns $26,965 a year or less; but the heirs of Walmart have been doing VERY well, and include the two richest women in world.
The richest woman in the world is Christy Walton ($25.3 billion), who is the widow of John Walton, son of Walmart founder Sam Walton. After John Walton died in a plane crash in 2006, Christy inherited his vast fortune, including enough stock to make more than $220 million in dividends every six months (That's $1.2 million a day).
The second richest woman in the world is Alice Walton ($23.3 billion), who is the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton and heiress to a portion of the Walton fortune, but her reputation has been clouded by a series of DUI arrests. ("You know who I am, don’t you? You know my last name?" — Alice Walton to police after being stopped for drunk driving.)
A new study finds that because Walmart wages are so low, many of its workers rely on food stamps and other government aid programs, and could cost taxpayers as much $1 million a year --- just for one Walmart supercenter --- and there are 3,182 Walmart supercenters in the U.S.
Walmart employees were on strike last week in Miami, Massachusetts and California, kicking off what organizers had promised will be, the first “prolonged strikes” in the retail giant’s history.
Some workers walking off the job will stay out until June 7th, when Walmart holds its annual shareholder meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas. Organizers expect retail employees in more cities to join the work stoppage, which follows the country’s first-ever coordinated Walmart store strikes last October and the high-profile Black Friday walkout last November 23rd.
Meanwhile, there are six vacant houses for every homeless person. Thanks Walmart (and thanks to all the other American businesses like you).
Walmart Workers Get Organized
By Andy Kroll | Feb.2013
Are Walmart's Chinese Factories As Bad As Apple's?
By Andy Kroll | March 2012
Why Raises For Walmart Workers Are Good For Everyone
By Josh Harkinson | Nov. 2012
To Match Walton Heirs' Fortune, You'd Need to Work at Walmart for 7 Million Years
By Josh Harkinson | Sep. 2012
6 Walmart Heirs Hold More Wealth Than 42% of Americans Combined
By Josh Harkinson | Jul. 2012