Research into economic figures has revealed that just six Waltons, the family responsible for the founding of Walmart, collectively hold as much wealth as the ‘bottom’ 30% of United States citizens.
It would be incredible to think that six members of one US family have more spending power than the bottom 30 percent of all Americans. But that’s what a report has shown with the Walton family, the original owners of Walmart, being collectively worth $93 billion, according to Forbes.
And yet it appears the author of the report - Jeffrey Goldberg – is also in the major league of wealth stakes, reporting more wealth than the bottom 25 per cent of Americans himself.
In 2007, according to one major economic researcher, the six Walton family members on the Forbes 400 developed a net worth equivalent to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans. But numbers aside with all of the different angles you could take on these snippets of statistics, does it force home the point of American wealth inequality?
Have Ten Dollars and Zero Debt? You Have More Wealth Than 25% of Americans
To average more wealth than nearly a quarter of the population is a conversation stopper, but in reality you could claim to have more wealth than the bottom 25% of Americans added together — assuming you have $10 in your pocket and no debts. How? Let’s break it down. It really comes to how much debt the average citizens has, despite income levels.
Look at the figures: In 2009, roughly 1 in 4 (24.8%) of American households had zero or negative net worth, up from 18.6% in 2007, and 37.1% of households had net worth of less than $12,000, up from 30.0% in 2007.
Wealth is always more unequally distributed than income. By the way, it isn’t even true that all of those households with zero or negative wealth are what we would call poor either. It’s entirely possible to have no net assets while having a good income, even a high income. All you need to have is debts higher than your assets: something that will almost certainly be true of anyone with student debt and fresh out of college for example. It should also be noted how we see the wealth in the US quickly changing amid financial crisis:
But this comparison of wealth doesn’t show us quite what Mr. Goldberg thinks it does. If you have no debts and have $10 in your pocket you have more wealth than 25% of Americans. More than that 25% of Americans have collectively, that is.
That a family who have inherited the majority of one of the leading global retailers have more wealth than the bottom 30% of Americans, when compared with how high up the tree a single ten dollar bill gets you, is pretty much worthy of considering how wealthy you are compared to your neighbor. It does, however, server to demonstrate the highly polarized level of wealth (not income) within the United States. As financial meltdown affects the lower wealth groups in the nation, the super wealthy actually tend to amass even more wealth.