Hey, Wal-Mart, get outta here; we don't need your stinkin' jobs:
The world’s largest retailer delivered an ultimatum to District lawmakers Tuesday, telling them less than 24 hours before a decisive vote that at least three planned Wal-Marts will not open in the city if a super-minimum-wage proposal becomes law.
[. . .]
The D.C. Council bill would require retailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more and operating in spaces 75,000 square feet or larger to pay their employees no less than $12.50 an hour. The city’s minimum wage is $8.25.
While the bill would apply to some other retailers — such as Home Depot, Costco and Macy’s — a grandfather period and an exception for those with unionized workforces made it clear that the bill targets Wal-Mart, which has said it would open six stores, employing up to 1,800 people.
I've noticed that even people who favor the free market and usually disapprove of government overreach have at least one "big" they have a visceral hatred of. For some, it's Big Pharma, for others Big Oil or the Big, Rich, Mean old insurrance industry. And Wal-Mart gets more than its fair share of the Hate Big Retail That's Destroying America As We Know It crowd. Why, that company provides a nearly infinite variety of quality goods at rock-bottom prices. The bastards! And, dammit, they don't pay their unskilled workers as much as brain surgeons get!
The linked story is from The Washington Post, and I'm not exactly surprised that a little anti-business bias seeps into the writing. The story talks about the company's "hardball tactics" that "come out of a well-worn playbook" to describes what seems to me a very reasonable response. Hey, if you single us out for punitive, profit-killing requirements, we just won't come to your city.
Here's a more common-sense view of the situation:
A couple lessons, here. First, businesses are not obligated to open in your city or your neighborhood, particularly when you incentivize them to locate elsewhere. Washington, D.C. is particularly susceptible to losing potential jobs (particularly in entry-level and working class retail positions, as opposed to lobbyist slots) to nearby jurisdictions because it doesn’t take much to simply cross the bridge to friendlier climes in, say, Virginia.
Second, as Sonny Bunch reminds us of a lesson from Econ 101, hiking the minimum wage kills jobs.