When you get off Highway 101 at Exit 484A, you immediately fall into headachy traffic on access roads not designed for this crush. It is the kind of dysfunction that Wal-Mart would never tolerate in its own internal operations but that big-box stores breed in the world they increasingly define. This Wal-Mart is in Rohnert Park, California, about 50 miles north of San Francisco.
Estate taxes are a problem that most Americans would like to have. Not many do. To qualify, one has to have a nice piece of change--at least $1.3 million for a married couple and, taking loopholes into account, more like $5 million. At present fewer than 2 percent of Americans achieve that kind of affluence. Some 40 percent die with no assets at all to leave behind for the kids and grandkids.
As hospital care has become prohibitively expensive, home health care has swelled into a $7 billion industry, generating a wave of corporate investment. Growth has been so rapid that the industry has even attracted interest from foreign companies. Yet the field also has spawned alternatives to the dominant corporate model, including cooperatives that aim to provide economic opportunity to the poor as well as personal care to the infirm.