A new report has revealed that six heirs of Sam Walton's Walmart fortune are now wealthier than 42% of Americans combined. Meanwhile, the average Walmart worker earns less than $15,000 a year. Read the new report from the Economic Policy Institute.
The Walton family is now worth about $100 billion -- up from $89.5 billion just two years ago. While the Waltons and Walmart were growing richer, most Americans were growing poorer. This is no accident. Walmart is the nation's largest employer and its business model is to pay poverty-level wages with few benefits and to manufacture the toys and clothing it sells in its US stores in sweatshops in Asia and elsewhere. Several scholars have called the widening gap between the rich and everyone else the "Walmart-ization" of our economy.
So the debate over Walmart's efforts to open new stores in Altadena and perhaps Pasadena -- to get their foot-in-the-door with groceries stores and then expand into a full-blown super-store -- is both a local issue and a global one. It is important to see the bigger picture because Walmart certainly does.