Imagine winning more than $1 billion in a lottery over the next six years. That’s the good fortune that befell the 5 heirs of Sam Walton — all at the expense of the American taxpayer. That’s the conclusion of a new report from the Food and Allied Service Trades Department (FAST), which released calculations last week in the wake of Vice President Dick Cheney’s visit to Bentonville, Arkansas to tout the impact of the Bush tax cut on the American taxpayer. “Vice President Cheney couldn’t have picked a better town in America to hype the Bush Administration handout to the idle rich,” said FAST President Jeff Fiedler. “What better place to do this than in Bentonville, the home of the late Sam Walton, whose true genius was to figure out how to get rich off of poverty.” According to FAST, the Bush tax cut on dividends lowered the taxes for Sam Walton’s widow Helen, plus children Rob, Alice, Jim and John) by nearly $137 million. The family’s tax on dividend earnings from 1.68 billion shares in Wal-Mart stock fell from a rate of 38.6% to 15% under the Bush plan, and will stay at that lower level until at least the year 2008. While Vice President Cheney went to Bentonville to tout the Bush cuts as putting more money “into the hands of people who earned it,” the Walton family was the big beneficiary of those with unearned income from stocks. “The Bush/Cheney Administration has not simply put more money in the hands of the Walton family,” Fiedler said, “the have stuffed it into every pocket of every shirt, blouse and pair of pants the Walton’s wear, and every cupboard, trunk, cabinet, wallet, suitcase, storage shed and safe the Waltons’ have ever used or owned. No five less needy human beings have ever received more money from the federal government for doing nothing in the history of the United States.” By 2008, FAST estimates that the Walton family will be paying Uncle Sam $206 million less in federal taxes due to the Bush cuts in the tax rate on dividends.
For the working poor, there are always jobs at Wal-Mart. While more than 1.5 million Americans work for subsistence hourly wages at Wal-Mart, the Walton family members will make $91,500 per hour in tax breaks this year, or a total of $190 million by the end of the year. All that money is a direct transfer from Uncle Sam to Mr. Sam, courtesy of the working people of America.