By Raynard Jackson
Over the past few weeks, the D.C. City Council has been in the news quite a bit, though but for all the wrong reasons. They recently passed a law that would prevent thousands, yes you heard me right, thousands of jobs from being created within their city.
Now mind you that D.C. is a majority Black city, with a Black mayor and near Black majority on the council, and one of the highest unemployment rates in the country (especially among Blacks). The national unemployment rate for June was 7.6 percent, but in DC the rate was 8.5 percent (almost a full point higher).
At issue is the “Large Retailer Accountability Act,” introduced by council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D). The bill would require large retailers, defined as businesses operating an indoor store of at least 75,000 square feet and whose corporate parent has sales of at least $ 1 billion—to pay wages no lower than $12.50 per hour plus benefits. They call this a “living wage” and it would be indexed to the local consumer price index every year. (Note: The Federal minimum wage is $ 7.25/hour but D.C. has tacked on an additional $ 1, so in D.C. the minimum wage is $ 8.25/hour. This is almost a 40 percent premium that the council wants to subject job creators to.)
This bill targets the city’s largest retailers, including Wal-Mart, Costco and Home Depot.
The vote on this law was 8-5. For the bill to become law, it has to be signed by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, and then it must go through a 30-day Congressional review period.
Fortunately, the mayor vetoed the bill. The council needs 9 of the 13 councilmen votes to override the mayor’s veto.
So, let me make sure I understand what’s going on here. D.C. desperately needs jobs, Walmart is willing to obey all wage laws to bring D.C. thousands of jobs with benefits, and then D.C. tells them that they don’t like the manner in which they choose to create those jobs that its citizens need.
Business can only thrive in an environment of certainty.
Walmart negotiated in good faith with the leaders of D.C. and then committed to build several stores based on those terms. Councilman Vincent Orange, stated, “Walmart’s balance sheet can surely absorb the difference [between the legal wages Walmart agreed to pay vs. the new “livable wage” the councils wants].”
An unnamed politician told CBS news, “If Walmart moves on, another so-called ‘big box’ retailer will fill the void.”
This has little to do with race and more to do with ideology. Liberals hate corporate America and despise those who want to make money. What’s interesting to note is that the most vocal proponents of this bill have never created a job nor have ever had to meet a payroll.
They find it very easy to put demands on how others invest their money because they have never thought about putting their money at risk in order to make money.
The only reason a person opens a business is to make a profit. Period. Not to pay a “livable wage,” but to make a profit. You not being able to raise your family on the wages your employer is paying is not their issue. Before one starts a family, one must be able to financially afford a family.
Creating and raising a family is a personal matter between the parties involved and employers should not have to bear the burden of the private choices one makes. This is a central tenant of liberalism—you make a private choice; and if things don’t work out, they will find a way to get you relief from some other source that had no involvement with your original choice.
D.C. is the personification of a liberal approach to addressing the high unemployment rate within the minority community. The very people they are attempting to help are the ones who are hurt the most by their policies. But in liberalism, it’s the thought that counts.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site, www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at raynard1223.