September 13 2013

A Bolder Shade of Gray: Mayor Vetoes Anti-Wal-Mart Minimum Wage Bill

Charlotte Hays

One of the things the Left instinctively fails to grasp is that, if you don’t have a job, a higher minimum wage is not going to help you. But apparently Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray is aware of this.  

Gray has vetoed a $12.50 minimum wage bill that was designed primarily to stick it to h Wal-Mart, which is non-union. In an editorial (sorry, subscription required) praising Gray for his “wisdom” the Wall Street Journal noted:

In his veto message, Mr. Gray called the bill a "job killer" that "would do nothing but hinder our ability to create jobs, drive away retailers, and set us back on the path to prosperity for all." Well said, if perhaps a little restrained. …

Mr. Gray acted in the spirit of the 2006 veto by former Mayor Richard Daley of a similar bill intended to keep Wal-Mart out of Chicago. Mr. Daley later called the now 10 Wal-Mart stores in the city a "bonanza, both for revenue, for jobs and economic opportunities." Let's hope Mr. Gray's veto is sustained.

How out of line was the DC minimum wage legislation? California is on target to raise its minimum wage to $10 an hour, which will make it the highest in the U.S. CBS reported that the California hike would help workers “left behind” in the recession. More likely scenario is that businesses that can will go elsewhere.

Wal-Mart had announced that, if the $12.50 minimum wage became law, it would cancel plans for three new stores in the District, at a cost to of around 300 jobs per store. It is further worth noting that the campaign to enact the new minimum wage was financed by Wal-Mart’s unionized competitors, Safeway and Giant.

Of course, we believe that people should be paid fairly. But we also know that, if companies are hampered from making what they consider a sufficient profit to justify doing business, they will go elsewhere.

It may seem to politicians that they can wave a magic wand and raise the minimum wage with no repercussions. This is the same kind of magical thinking that got us into the looming ObamaCare mess.  

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