There are a lot of ways to measure the rising inequality in wealth and income over recent years in our fair nation and Prof. Louis Johnston, who writes about economics for MinnPost, has done a much more serious job of it (here, here and here, for example.)
But, thanks to my friend who blogs under the name Pasquino, I stumbled on what you might call the Walton measure.
Apparently if you add together the net worth of the six wealthiest members of the Walton (as in Walmart) family, it equals the combined net worth of the least wealthy 30 percent of the U.S. population
Labor economist Sylvia Allegretto compiled the Walton measure by comparing the six top Waltons on the 2007 Forbes’ list of the wealthiest Americans with the 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), a source for data on the income of ordinary Americans.
The SCF isn’t published every year, so Allegretto had to use 2007 figures for both. Forbes has released its 2011 figures on the super-rich and it turns out that despite the recession and slow recovery of recent years, the six Waltons saw their net worth grow from a combined $69.7 billion in 2007 to $93 billion in 2011.
I’m guessing the net worth of the bottom 30 percent hasn’t kept pace. Allegretto promises to update her measure when the new SCF comes out.