Monday, August 19, 2013

Lifestyles of the rich and famous: Rob Walton edition

Posted By on Mon, Aug 19, 2013 at 3:26 PM

WELL SUITED: Rob Walton dressed for the track, a hobby that has drawn criticism from organized labor.
  • WELL SUITED: Rob Walton dressed for the track, a hobby that has drawn criticism from organized labor.
If labor unions can't have a little class warfare sport with the Walton family — billionaires dedicated in their loathing of labor unions — what's the point in organizing at all?

So today comes a release from The Walmart 1%, a union-backed operation dedicated to illuminating how the Bentonville-based retail giant and its wealthy heirs are "dismantling middle class jobs, distorting our democracy, and undermining public education."

Demonstrators were on hand when Walton took some of his expensive vintage race cars — worth $16 million Walmart 1% says — to run at the Laguna Seca course in Salinas, Calif., as part of an annual week-long festival of vintage cars. Demonstrators carried an effigy of Walton and leafleted a local Walmart with the message that it was time to pay Walmart workers a living wage.

“Last year, it took Rob just a second to wreck a rare 15 million dollar vintage car, but it would take 194 years for a Walmart employee working around the clock to earn 1 million dollars,” said Raymond Bravo, a member of OUR Walmart who was recently illegally fired from his job at Walmart for speaking out and going on strike. Raymond, who participated in the demonstration, told the Monterey County Herald that while he worked at Walmart earning a poverty wage he was “living on Top Ramen and fast food.” Despite their enormous wealth, Rob Walton and Walmart rely on taxpayers to subsidize their low-road, low-wage approach to business. Rob and the Walton family, who control the world’s largest private employer, have more wealth than the bottom 42% of American families combined.

The Walton wealth according to a recent government report is subsidized in part by taxpayers. The report issued in June describes how on average a single Walmart store costs taxpayers nearly $1 million in various government subsidies including food and rental assistance provided to Walmart workers to supplement the company’s poverty wages.

I confess. As a vintage car fan I'd have liked more information and photos about the Walmart board chair's racers. This website says the collection includes Ferraris, Porsches and a Shelby Cobra. $20 million worth of cars to a fellow worth $26 billion is, of course, chump change. About on a mathematical par with the $2 model Ferrari Testarossa I once bought my son.

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