Thursday, December 4, 2014

WPF BROKE; WALTONS DROWNING IN CASH

Accumulation and hoarding wealth has plagued societies since the begining civilization. One would hope that as we evolved our social acumen would have improved rather than deteriorate to what we are experiencing today where the rich continue to get richer while the poor are barely able to etch out enough to survive. 

“The thing about food is, you can’t not have it”

That's pretty straight forward and simple to understand. 



Facing what it described as a severe cash shortfall, the United Nations food aid organization said on Monday that it had been forced to suspend a voucher program that was helping to feed 1.7 million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.

The suspension by the organization, the World Food Program, was one of the most drastic cutbacks ever by an emergency relief provider in the nearly four-year-old Syrian crisis, raising the prospect of widespread hunger at the onset of winter.

The cutback in aid will affect refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey who receive voucher cards from the program, which work like debit cards so users can buy food in local shops.


That's also pretty straight forward and easy to understand.

The Walton family is the richest family in the United States and one of the richest and most powerful in the world. They are heirs to the Walmart fortune and the company’s largest shareholders, with over fifty percent ownership of stock in the retail giant.

 The six Waltons on Forbes’ list of world billionaires have a net worth of $148.8 billion. This fiscal year three Waltons—Rob, Jim, and Alice (and the various entities that they control)—will receive an estimated $3.16 billion in Walmart dividends from their majority stake in the company.

The Waltons aren’t just the face of the 1%; they’re the face of the 0.000001%. The Waltons have more wealth than 42% of American families combined.

The richest Americans hold more of the nation’s wealth than they have in almost a century. What do they spend it on? As you might expect, personal jets, giant yachts, works of art, and luxury penthouses.

And also on politics. In fact, their political spending has been growing faster than their spending on anything else. It’s been growing even faster than their wealth.

According to new research by Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley and Gabriel Zucman of the London School of Economics, the richest one-hundredth of one percent of Americans now hold over 11 percent of the nation’s total wealth. That’s a higher share than the top .01 percent held in 1929, before the Great Crash.

We’re talking about 16,000 people, each worth at least $110 million.

One way to get your mind around this is to compare their wealth to that of the average family. In 1978, the typical wealth holder in the top .01 percent was 220 times richer than the average American. By 2012, he or she was 1,120 times richer.

It’s hard to spend this kind of money.

The uber rich are lining up for the new Aerion AS2 private jet, priced at $100 million, that seats eleven and includes a deluxe dining room and shower facilities, and will be able to cross the Atlantic in just four hours.

And for duplexes high in the air. The one atop Manhattan’s newest “needle” tower, the 90-story One57, just went for $90 million.

Why should we care?


On the one hand you have millions of people around the world who are literally starving to death, while on the other you a small group of people who accumulate (and hoard) enormous amounts of wealth that, if even a small portion of it were redistributed from where it came, world hunger would disappear.