W hile some financial oligarchs steal money with their right hand, then give to charity with their left hand, The Walton family doesn’t bother to hide their greed using charity. Only the Millionaire Estate Tax can guarantee equal opportunity for every child. Billionaire families will never do it.
Four members of the Walton family, heirs to Sam Walton’s Wal-Mart fortune, are collectively worth more than $100 billion– more wealth than the entire bottom 40% of Americans. They are doing everything in their power not to give up a penny more than they have to.
The Waltons are the richest family in the world. They are the new Rockefellers, the modern synonym for “vast wealth.” And indeed, income inequality in America has reached levels not seen since John D. Rockefeller roamed the earth. The Waltons are the kings and queens of our new Gilded Age.
Reasonable people, I suppose, can disagree on the morality of amassing such mind-boggling wealth. What most reasonable people would agree on, I think—what we would regard as basic human decency and common sense—is that it is not healthy for such great wealth to exist in perpetuity, passed down from generation to generation endlessly, creating ever-larger dynasties, until America is even more of an unequal plutocracy with unequal opportunity than it already is. This is why estate taxes exist. We have agreed, as a society, that at least some of these huge piles of wealth should be put back into the public coffers when their rich owners die.