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A Christmas Rant

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Do you ever read or watch the interviews on Bloomberg, like its competitor Reuters, is synonymous with investing. The website is quite comprehensive and I use it frequently, and sometimes watch the videos.

I happened to be reading on Bloomberg the other day and came across a piece on the new museum, Crystal Bridges, in Bentonville, Ark., funded by Alice Walton, daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton. The writer was on a rant about Walmart and the Waltons. He briefly wrote about liking the museum; then he took off on a crusade, telling readers about workers who made $8 an hour slaving at Walmart and then slept in the store parking lots. I think he got Alice Walton confused with Marie Antoinette, of “Let them eat cake” fame.

This was hardly capitalistic fare. Did Alice build Walmart? I’ve never met her and am not likely to, even though I have customers in Bentonville, a scant two hours from Tulsa, but I don’t think she built the company. I think she had the good fortune to have had Sam Walton for a father, and I think he started the stores.

The Bloomberg writer seemed to accuse all of the Waltons of some unspeakable horror because they accumulated some $93 billion in wealth. I did some simple math and reckoned out that if Alice took the writer’s vitriol to heart, she could get the family to divvy-up the money to Walmart’s two-million employees and each would receive $46,500 to spend. For a time, none of the former employees would need to sleep in store parking lots.

After the distribution of funds, the Waltons would be out of the biz, and I’ll bet the writer a nickel that virtually all the employees would spend their windfalls in less than six months. Then, 2 million souls would be out of work, adding to global unemployment; Walmart would be defunct on the day the family distributed the funds, and the Bloomberg writer would be free to author an article only about the museum, which I think was supposed to be the point of the piece in the first place. (Interestingly, each Walton who was eligible for the $46,500 would probably do something productive with  the money, especially Alice.)

So ends my Christmas rant. Please accept my heartfelt thanks for reading The Investment Edge and this blog for another year. I wish each and every one of you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful and happy (and even capitalistic) 2012!


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