This week I had my kids in D.C. At one point my daughter says, “Hey dad, can we go to Wal-Mart?” She was dazed and confused that there isn’t a Wal-Mart in D.C. It gave me a chance to teach her a little about social engineering and central planning.
You see, last week, the Washington, D.C. City Council voted 8-5 to require large retailers to pay their employees a minimum wage of $12.50 per hour. The newly passed minimum wage requirement is more than 1.5 times the current minimum wage in Washington, which is already $1 per hour above the nationally mandated minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
This law was directly targeted at Wal-Mart, who until recently, was planning on opening six new stores in D.C. Wal-Mart told the City Council that the passage of this law would force Wal-Mart to vacate its plans to build at least three stores in the area.
Sure enough, the City Council took the opportunity to crush thousands of job opportunities and affordable retail options for D.C. residents. Many on the Left, including unions, are claiming victory that Wal-Mart will not be “disrespecting” D.C. residents with “low-paying” jobs. Council members and political groups alike gloated that they had defeated the large business and that city did not need the large company to help create jobs.
Mona Charen of NRO refutes
their baseless arguments pretty easily:
“That must be why the unemployment rate in D.C. is 8.5 percent — and 20.3 percent among blacks. That must explain the 37.8 percent unemployment rate for black teens, and the 43.3 percent rate for black male teens. It would explain why about a third of the District’s residents are currently receiving food stamps, Medicaid, or welfare — and why more than 18 percent are living below the poverty line.”
Sure, Wal-Mart isn’t a dream job for most people, but what about the D.C. residents who are just dreaming of a chance for a job?
Mayor Vincent Gray has to sign or veto the bill within 10 days of its passing. So far he has committed to neither. If Mayor Gray signs the bill, Wal-Mart will scrap its plans for three stores, and the plans for the other three will be left teetering in the balance of what to do next.
And my daughter may not have a Wal-Mart to shop at next time she’s in D.C.