Jack Saturday

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Anti-Job, Pro-Freedom Quote Of The Week 57

IT ISN'T THAT when Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton purchased Asher B. Durand's 1849 painting "Kindred Spirits" last year she got the state of Arkansas to pass legislation specifically to save her taxes - in this case, about $3 million on a purchase of $35 million. It isn't that Walton - the world's richest woman and thirteenth-richest person (with a net worth of $18 billion, according to Forbes magazine) - scooped the painting out from under the National Gallery and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which had banded together to try to keep it in a public collection when the New York Public Library decided to sell it off.

It isn't that Walton will eventually stick this talisman of New York cultural life and a lot of other old American paintings in the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Walton family museum she's building in Bentonville, Ark., the site of Wal-Mart's corporate headquarters. After all, people in the middle of the country should get to see some good art too. It might not even be, as WalMartWatch.com points out, that the average Wal-Mart cashier makes $7.92 an hour and, because Wal-Mart likes to keep people on less than full-time schedules, works only 29 hours a week for an annual income of $11,948 - so a Wal-Mart cashier would have to work a little under 3,000 years to earn the price of the painting.
Not so ‘Kindred Spirits’
By Rebecca Solnit
February 19, 2006, © Los Angeles Times


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