Skip to comments.Sigh: D.C. Council poised to chase off 900 jobs because they donít like Wal-Mart, so there
Posted on 07/09/2013 7:15:56 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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.
Here’s the haps. In Washington, Wal-Mart, the city council, the grocery store unions, and a thousand Wal-Mart hating community groups have been engaged in a delicate, dumb dance for years over whether the giant retailer should be allowed within the hallowed precincts of the District of Columbia. Other big box stores are allowed Best Buy, Target, and Home Depot for examplebut the mother of all box stores has been picketed and pushed and generally trashed throughout its attempts to set down some retail roots in the District. The parties seemed to be coming to an agreement on three stores inside the District, predicted to bring 900 full and part-time jobs and some fresh grocery options to those so-called “food deserts” you hear about.
But the agreement might fall apart over a “living wage” bill, which requires a segment of retailers that sounds suspiciously like “retailers that are Wal-Mart” to pay far and above D.C.’s $8.25 minimum wage:
Representatives from Wal-Mart say the company will no longer build its planned stores at Skyland Town Center and Capitol Gateway, retail sites in Ward 7. “They’re not bluffing me,” Councilmember Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) says, having just left a meeting with the world’s largest retailer. “We worked for many years to get this commitment. I really didn’t think it would get to this point.”
The Large Retailer Accountability Act requires companies that take in at least $1 billion in revenue annually to pay their employees at least $12.50 an hour, well above the District’s minimum wage of $8.25. The bill also only applies to stores that are at least 75,000 square feet, thus exempting companies like Apple and Starbucks.
Isn’t the carve-out for liberal-approved billion-dollar retailers precious? Wal-Mart’s announcement is enough to make some reconsider and see the big picture:
In addition to the two Ward 7 stores, Alexander’s chief of staff, Ed Fisher, also says Wal-Mart’s move imperils a store planned for New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road NE. Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5), who represents that area, was one of eight “yes” votes on the bill’s first reading.
“That was without knowing Wal-Mart was going to pull out,” says Jeannette Mobley, McDuffie’s chief of staff. Mobley says her boss is “going to give this some thought” before tomorrow’s Council session.
Fisher says each planned Walmart was going to have at least 300 full- and part-time employees, as well as enhance food shopping options in Ward 7, where there are only four full-service supermarkets. “We’re going to have fewer options for groceries and commercial retail,” Fisher says. “At least 900 people won’t have an opportuntiy whether it’s full-time or part-time. Whether it’s a student in high school or a senior or a job someone can use as a stepping stone.”
As Bunch puts it: “So instead of decreasing the unemployment rate in blighted Washington, D.C., neighborhoods, there will be no jobs. Good job, guys! You really nailed this whole ‘governance’ thing.”
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 argument from the left is a petulant cry of, “Hey, the Waltons are real rich and they can’t afford to pay $12.50 an hour?!” Again, they’re not obligated to bring their stores to your city when you’re actively trying to make it harder for them to do business there, especially when they have other options nearby. In the same way, gun accessory manufacturers are not obligated to stay in your state when you’re banning their products. In the same way, smart, talented people are not obligated to be doctors when the cost of becoming a doctor and maintaining malpractice insurance isn’t worth the financial rewards of being a doctor. Incentives matter, and free people respond to them.
Oh, and if the D.C. Council does end up blocking Wal-Mart in the city, it’ll be great fun to watch them all later endorse former Wal-Mart board of directors member Hillary Clinton.
(For the record, though I’m defending Wal-Mart here, I’m not always down with the ways the company colludes with government to get into certain communities, via eminent domain, for instance.)
Liberals are snobs. They roll up their windows and hold their noses just driving by Walmart. Even if they never go there, they don’t want other people to, either.
they’d rather take money from others to keep the 900 on welfare.
Economics is a zero sum game in the US these days so if Walmart opens up with 900 jobs it will kill 900 jobs from supermarkets and other businesses. Since the 2007 RE bubble collapse our economy has been zero sum or worse. Prior to this we had an expanding economic pie
An example. Walmarts have garden departments. If this Walmart opens up it will steal this business from stores such as a supermarket that sells bagged mulch stacked outside the entrance doors. It will steal garden business and jobs from Home Depot and small hardware stores
With all of OUR money that is floating around the District of Corruption these days, I don’t think you’ll find many Walmart shoppers there anyway. The elite, commie snobs would never lower themselves to be seen in a Walmart.
I live outside DC.
DC wanted Walmart sooo bad for years - and Walmart was worried about the crime rate. FINALLY, about 2 years ago, Walmart agreed to 6 stores and spent money on development. 3 stores are currently under construction and the other 3 are in the planning stage.
Now, at the 11th hour, the DC Council wants to pull the old switcheroo and raise the minimum wage from $8.25 to $12.50 per hour. If Walmart had known this 2 years ago, it never would have agreed to move in and spend the money it already has on development.
FYI: The new minimum wage proposal only applies to big-box stores, not Mom-n-Pops. I don’t even know if it would pass constitutional muster based on 14th Amendment equal protection issues.
Liberal controlled area. The Constitution no longer applies. Get used to it.
Are you lost?
Thank you. I was going to post much the same, but you’ve hit the main points.
Walmart, or any other retailer, opening a store does not create new jobs. Unless someone is going to contend that the people in the market area will buy a lot more toilet paper or CDs after Walmart opens than they did before.
There are also some confounding factors. Three of them:
Walmart generally sells more stuff per employee than its competitors, which might result in a net loss of jobs in retail.
OTOH, WM generally sells stuff cheaper, leaving more money for its customers to spend on something else, in the process creating jobs.
Walmart might pull customers from outside the market area, if WM is not available closer to them. But that doesn’t create new jobs, it just transfers them from one market area to another.
I believe Walmart is lucky they can still pull out.
They would have been robbed blind by employees and customers alike in DC anyway.
I should also have pointed out that “steal” is not the right verb in this case.
IOW, 'I didn't know there were going to be consequences.' Hey, at least his spokesperson was honest about her boss' stupidity.
Just wow!! Do you have enough reasoning abilities to know what a non-expanding economic pie is? And see if it applies here?
that don’t make no sense.
The U6 rate in the district is like 13%. There are plenty of people that need jobs. The pie in DC has been exploding and aiming higher over the next few years, which is why Walmart decided to take the chance.
Supermarkets out here in the burbs (near two walmarts, two targets, and two Lowes and two HDs mind you) still manage to sell their mulch and if they couldn’t sell mulch and flowers, maybe they should focus on food.
Just because the jobs Walmart provides aren’t 200k per with stock options, a company car with an admin doesn’t make them unworthy.
A common colloquialism in less sophisticated countries is “Stealing bread from his families mouth” I have heard foreigners here use this expression
You get that in a crappy Obama economy Chinese guy X opening his restaurant down the block from Chinese guy Y will take business from him. Enough new customers are not “created” to keep X and Y happy because there is not enough discretionary spending money in peoples pockets
Idiots are DDC. Dumber than Dog Crap!
Ohhhhhhhhhh and how and why is the economic pie in DC exploding, as you put it? How come it isn’t “exploding” in Newark New Jersey and Newark Delaware?
How is the U6 doing in America as a whole?
This is not an Obama economy issue, though a poor economy exacerbates the situation.
Any new business, unless it has no competition, will acquire its business mostly by taking business away from competitors, either by taking existing market share, or by taking new market share that would otherwise have been acquired by the existing firms. Or, in some cases, by convincing customers to spend money with them that they would otherwise have spent on something else entirely.
Nothing wrong with that, of course. And nothing wrong with WM doing the same. I just get very tired of their idiotic “900 new jobs!” meme.
They are new jobs in a sense, but they are most certainly not 900 new NET jobs.
The amusing part is I actually enter Walmarts and buy things there from time to time while many of our many of our freeper free market theoreticians never shop there.
I used to like WM a lot. Mostly because it pisses off liberals.
The last year or so they seem to have cut WAY back on staffing, and waits to check out have gotten ridiculous.
people won’t have to drive to Alexandria, Arlington and montgomery/PG counties to get the same products at the same price, so maybe a pack of TP sold in DC isn’t sold in VA or in the Safeway on the other side of town but the fact still remains that the company is willing to hire people, stock the stores, sell the stuff with almost 100% helping people in Dc through salary and taxes. The thought that people in Alexandria might be canned because they move less paper goods is theoretical. When they start getting fired because DC residents (most of whom don’t have cars) aren’t buying their paper towels and the locals aren’t making up the difference and the store’s profitability slips just enough to fire that person, I’m sure we’ll find out.
The pie in DC is based on government employment and spending and it has been going up on all levels. The people at Walmart spent many years working on the numbers and didn’t come to the decision to open six stores lightly.
The overall economy might only be “growing” at a glacial pace but around here, it’s moving along at a pretty good clip.
What you say is not true when the economic pie is expanding and through most of American history it has been and from genuine economic activity and useful production. What we have now is a Federal Reserve Bank propping up a hollowed out economy via QE to infinity. Walmart is a great symptom of this with all its Chinese/Asian imports
You know why. gubmint spending. If the growth in the DC area isn’t sustainable, the stores will close. I’m guessing that Newark and Newark are both cesspools that can no longer be supported by their states and the tax payers have left for greener pastures
DC is growing because of gentrification too. People moving in to once considered bad areas and investing and building. There is a lot of it going on here. You need to get out of the Newarks and check it out.
There is some truth to what you say.
But not a whole lot.
A super-center averages something like $75M per year in sales. When one opens in a given market, even one with a rapidly-growing economy, that market area doesn’t spend an additional $75M that first year on the type of stuff sold at WM.
Instead, most of those sales, probably 90% or more, are diverted from other retailers in the area, or possibly from retailers in adjacent market areas.
But an additional $75M just is not spent.
Don’t get me wrong. WM and the efficiency it brought to retailing and forced other retailers to emulate, has been an enormous financial boon to America, and most especially to poor Americans.
But it has probably led to a drop in total jobs in retailing, and also probably to a drop in wages over what they would otherwise have been.
D.C.s muddled thinking on licensing immigrants
By Editorial Board, Published: July 7
TWO MONTHS ago, Mayor Vincent Gray proposed common-sense legislation that would allow an estimated 15,000 illegal immigrants living in the District to obtain D.C. drivers licenses. Now a committee of the City Council, employing supremely muddled thinking, has modified the mayors proposal in a way that would blatantly violate federal law, cast a pall on the validity of all D.C. licenses and do no favors for undocumented immigrants.
How does the councils move make sense?
The mayors proposal would grant licenses to immigrants living in the District if they showed proof of identity and residence. In that way the city could ensure that whatever their immigration status, drivers are competent, safe and insured. Mr. Grays bill made clear that the licenses for undocumented immigrants would be distinct from other city-issued licenses, so they could not be used for boarding flights or accessing federal programs.
The latter provision, also found in similar legislation enacted in seven states and pending in others, complies with federal law. The law, known as REAL ID, requires states and localities to verify the lawful status of applicants for drivers licenses and identification cards.
However, the councils Transportation and Environment Committee, in a unanimous vote, decided that federal law shouldnt apply to the District even though it acknowledged in a report that factually it does, indeed, apply.
For the committee and its chairman, Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), these facts are inconvenient. They say that the federal law can be safely ignored because they dislike it.
Their arguments rest on the flimsy foundation that REAL ID is unpopular and controversial, that the feds havent fully enforced it and that it would be expensive to implement. More to the point, they believe that requiring markers on licenses for illegal immigrants would stigmatize them and discourage their widespread use.
Thats possible. In most of the states that have decided to provide such licenses, marked to make clear they are invalid as federal IDs, no data on demand are available yet.
But as the committee report acknowledges, undocumented immigrants could use such licenses without worries in the District, where law enforcement does not target illegal immigrants. While drivers bearing such licenses might be at risk elsewhere, specifically Virginia, the risk would surely be no greater than from driving without a license, which is their only option now.
Some council members believe a distinctly marked license of the sort Mr. Gray proposed would confer second-class status. In fact, undocumented immigrants already are fully aware of the limitations imposed by their status. A drivers license, whatever its design, does not change that; it simply ensures that those who possess it have met minimum qualifications to drive safely.
Two states, New Mexico and Washington, have gone the route Ms. Chehs committee recommends and now issue illegal immigrants licenses identical to those given to legal residents. The risk for those states, as for the District if it follows suit, is that the federal government would refuse to accept any drivers licenses from those states as valid ID, including to board airplanes.
Ms. Cheh says glibly that if the Department of Homeland Security starts enforcing the law, we can worry about that when the time comes. Thats a shaky basis for legislation. Better to do the obvious thing and obey federal law.
Duh! We know the DC region is a black hole sucking fake Federal Reserve money (such as it is) out of the rest of America. That this accounts for your bizarre prosperity there. The DC motto is "make them fake money, then take it from those outlying idiots"
We know that within the DC region the rest of America are considered idiots to be lied to get re-elected and to pay for affirmative action Federal jobs
” Walmart is a great symptom of this with all its Chinese/Asian imports”
When I go to Kmart or Target it looks like they import a lot from those same countries.
Liberals never had a problem with WalMart until back in the ‘90’s when Her Thighness started her crusade against them. Ever since then, WalMart has been like steak to a vegan worshiper.
Hitlery did an Alinsky on WalMart - pick an opponent and demonize it. The idiots will follow.
Ten years ago I used to rally behind Walmarts but since they support Obama-care and the Senate internet tax bill my romantic feelings for them have ended.
We got a Walmarts not far from here and it draws in the riffraff from the Baltimore City direction (and section 8 apartments here) and the employees are lazy and clueless.
They got cameras every 10 square feet on ceiling due to riff raff including their employees and they took out the automated checkers due to theft and employee apathy.
A few more miles away from here would suit me fine.
Why should I go to Newark or DC? I know the situation right from here a few thousand miles away. A relative had to go to DC recently to see an elite MD. She got there at 3PM and needed to get some quick food. The eating places were full at this hour
How come you left off Home Depot?
Yep. And that will be 900 workers who also get food stamps thanks to Walmart socializing the cost of the minimum wages of their workers. Corporate America will always support a big government welfare state. Always.
America is like a snake eating its tail. Due to our deportation and destruction of serious industries many people can only afford to shop at WalMart.
Stupid free trade doctrine plus WalMart's Asian imports destroy decent jobs, so much so that those dispossessed (and their families) can only afford to shop there
thanks! And this is why economics is called the dismal science. Rush Limbaugh used to talk about capitalism’s creativity in our free markets here and our expanding economic pie. And rightly so. But for the past 4 years or so I have not heard this kind of free market happy talk from him. I like this kind of talk but it only justified in the “Good times”
I got news for you, they don’t classify as jobs. Jobs drive the American economic engine, or at least what used to be an economic engine. These so called jobs only provide subsistence and nothing above that. They do no good for the economy in any real sense. No conservative could support this nonsense.
True! I know an honest young guy who is a policeman which is a good gov’t job these days. A great job these days given our awful economy. His girlfriend works at Home Depot and been there 10 years so has climbed up the ladder a bit. But all in all is treated like a disposable replaceable wage slave. She knows it and he knows it. They know the difference between a decent gov’t job and the crap jobs that are more and more of what makes up our private sector.
They should be paid the same as the taxpayers
I much prefer the private sector. I’m just commenting on the reality these days of very nice gov’t jobs while private sector jobs are less desirable
paid for with stolen loot from us serfs
Doesn’t matter; in D.C, everyone lives off government fat and waste.
Everyone is working on the Federale plantation these days (one way or another) except for the welfare sector and the off the books illegal aliens
You are right about the post-2008 zero-sum game. Our small business used to want to expand - now we are all about crushing our local competitors into the dust. It's the New Chicago Way, brought to you by your local Chamber of Commerce. He's got the whole country doing it...
And to accuse them of it seems to be the antithesis of FR.
you have to think for yourself in economics and not blindly worship and believe in free market theories
You would be singing a much different tune if your family hardware store is put out of business by a new Walmart and your 55 year old father now has to stock shelves at Home Depot to make ends meet.
They're not the only culprit. But they're the worst culprit. Remember when they were just beginning their out-of-control expansion? They were advertising that they sold a lot of "made in the USA", and it turned out the labelling on some of their merchandise was bogus.
I once read Walmart brings in 10% of all Chinese imports that come in here
” America is like a snake eating its tail. Due to our deportation and destruction of serious industries many people can only afford to shop at WalMart.
Stupid free trade doctrine plus WalMart’s Asian imports destroy decent jobs, so much so that those dispossessed (and their families) can only afford to shop there “
Well stated, Dennis.
Thank you for correcting my wayward thinking, Mr. Keynes.