DC Living Wage

Walmart, the beloved mom-and-pop retailer, was planning to build six new stores in Washington DC. That is, until the City Council passed a “living wage” law. From the article:

Should the bill be signed by Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and pass a congressional review period, retailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more and operating in spaces 75,000 square feet or larger would be required to pay employees no less than $12.50 an hour. The city’s minimum wage is $8.25, a dollar higher than the federal minimum wage.

This is clearly aimed at big box stores like Walmart, requiring them to pay a higher minimum wage than other employers.

I’m torn on this. On the one hand, I don’t think that it’s appropriate to enforce different wage controls for a larger retailer; you know, free market sets wages, blah blah blah. On the other hand, Walmart underpays its employees so severely that they actually cover “how to apply for Medicaid and food stamps” in their employee orientation training. At least the living wage law makes Walmart pay for their employees rather than making every taxpayer do it.

12 Responses to “DC Living Wage”

  1. Pitt says:

    Add this one to the list of reasons why politicians are stupid. Even if Wal-mart were to build the planned store/s, do you think they’d just say, “Gosh darnit, I guiess we’ll have to pay people an extra 150 dollars per week and eat the cost.” Not any more than they’ll eat the cost for the higher real estate prices in DC. Prices at the DC stores will be higher than those in MD or VA. Then I’m sure the city council will whine that Wal-Mart is unfairly targetting African Americans, who make up about 90% of D.C.s population.

  2. BrianN says:

    DC is well known for it’s intelligent governance. I’m sure whatever the decide is what’s best for their.. ohh, free crack!

  3. matt says:

    “Prices at the DC stores will be higher than those in MD or VA.”

    I’m pretty sure that would have been the case anyway. Isn’t the cost of living fairly high in DC?

  4. Pitt says:

    Mostly because of real estate. Which will also drive up the prices there, as I mentioned before.

    Business is smarter than government. But, politicians refuse to believe this. Hence, the labyrinthian regulatory environment business has to function within.

  5. matt says:

    I don’t know if business is necessarily smarter than government. They’re certainly better at business than government is, but they’re supposed to be, right? Business and government have totally different aims, so it’s tough to directly compare them.

  6. Pitt says:

    I’d go out on a limb and say that businesspeople, by and large, are better at business than politicans are at governing.

  7. waterwolf says:

    I agree with Pitt…”I’d go out on a limb and say that businesspeople, by and large, are better at business than politicians are at governing.”… and add “those that can–do, those that can’t….. teach or become politicians” .

  8. Pitt says:

    If we have any hope at succeeding as a civilization, we need to completely turn that last statement on it’s head, so that it’s the best and most capable people in society who become teachers and leaders. We should strike the term “politician” and all of it’s negative connotations from our lexicon.

    So…which of you guys is going to run for public office first?

  9. waterwolf says:

    I think Matt should run for office. Statistics show that in 90% of political races, the taller candidate wins….plus he’s smart.

  10. Pitt says:

    Funny, we made that exact observation at dinner the other night, both about his towering stature and his intellectual prowess.

  11. matt says:

    People look to the tall in times of trouble. We’re like the lighthouses of polite society.

  12. waterwolf says:

    You said..”People look to the tall in times of trouble. We’re like the lighthouses of polite society.”

    Matt, don’t let my comment go to your head. Now you are starting to sound like a politician. I think Brian would agree….you aren’t our beacon or lighthouse. You’re just tall and smart.

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