Recently, the District of Columbia’s City Council has made news for trying to force Wal-Mart to pay its employees $12.50 per hour should it open three locations in the city. The move has been hammered by conservatives as economically unwise. The effort has also been critiqued as a government witch hunt, since other big box stores already exist inside city limits and do not pay their employees the aforementioned wage.
Checking in with NBC Washington, we find that big box stores aren’t the only ones not paying their employees $12.50 per hour:
District government pays less than $12.50 per hour.
According to the D.C. Department of Human Resources, some full-time school maintenance workers and custodians make $11.75 per hour. The rate for a clerk at the University of the District of Columbia is $10.40.
Council members went to great lengths to criticize Walmart’s pay scale. They should have taken care of their own business first.
The author is blistering in his critiques of the city:
The Council’s thinking is flawed on other accounts, too. Their law targets Walmart while exempting other businesses from paying higher salaries.
….If you are a politician extolling the virtues of a living wage, make sure the government employees over whom you preside are making a living wage.
The D.C. Council’s shenanigans are scaring off potential employers, not just Walmart. In a city where unemployment is a huge problem, that’s bad business.
Lachlan Markay of Washington Free Beacon summarized the whole mess rather nicely:
Social Justice! RT @OneFineJay: So, instead of 300 employees making minimum wage, you have 300 people without jobs. http://t.co/xIgk5aIhZ6
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) July 9, 2013
The minimum wage is a government-created obstacle to greater employment and economic opportunity. It’s also, as the D.C. City Council is showing, a political weapon. If city council members are actually interested in bringing jobs to their fair city, hunting businesses through regulation is a poor way of showing it.