Friday, September 13, 2013

DC mayor vetoes "Wal-Mart" bill, which would force super-minimum wage

ON Thursday, September 12, 2013, Washington DC Mayor Vincent Gray vetoed a city council bill that would have required most large retailers to pay a “living wage” (including benefits) of $12.50 an hour. The DC minimum wage is $8.25.   The bill had been called the “Large Retailer Accountability Act” and applied to  non-union retailers with more than 75000 square feet in the District and more than $1 billion annual sales from parent companies. The Washington Times has a story by Andrea Noble (website url) here
   
The veto can be overridden next week if just one DC councilmember changes his or her vote. This can lead to intense personal lobbying,  
    
Mayor Gray said that he feared that the bill would drive businesses and jobs away.  Wal-Mart had threatened to cancel three of six projects in the City, including a badly needed facility near New York Avenue in NE, and possibly even all six eventually.  Others argue that minimum wage jobs are not the kind of employment the city needs to attract. They also argue that wages of other workers will remain lower because other employers will not feel as much pressure to raise wages.   The bill probably could have raised prices for consumer slightly, less than 5%.
  
The libertarian position is, of course, that wages should be unregulated.  A person earns what his or her skills are worth on the open market.  Such a view doesn’t take into account “inherited” disadvantages, the “place in line” where someone started work life. 


David Madland and Stephen Moore speak in the PBS video above.
  

This problem very much fits into Robert Reich’s “Inequality for All”.

Update: September 17

The DC Council did not override the veto, and protests then took place, story on WJLA here. 

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