We all had to know this was coming as soon as the news came out that the D.C. City Council wants to force large, hugely profitable businesses like Walmart to pay their employees a living wage. The cheap labor conservatives are coming out in droves to attack the council and shill for Walmart. I swear, these people aren't going to be happy until we're all making $2 an hour or less.
Fox News disregarded economic evidence to claim that legislation providing a living wage in Washington, D.C. would deprive the city of jobs and keep workers in poverty, and defended Walmart after the company declared it would nix plans for locating new stores in Washington should the living wage bill pass.
The Washington, D.C. City Council recently proposed and passed legislation that would require retail outlets with a parent company yielding $1 billion or more in annual revenue to pay a living wage of $12.50 per hour to workers. In a July 9 op-ed in the Washington Post, regional general manager for Walmart U.S. Alex Barron claimed that the legislation would require the company to cancel plans to build three new stores in the district and potentially jeopardize the survival of three existing locations.
On the July 10 edition of Your World, Fox Business personalities Charles Payne and Elizabeth MacDonald quickly came to Walmart's defense. MacDonald claimed, "Walmart brings economic development time and again, we've seen that, they bring other stores that create jobs in the area."
Payne responded by claiming that the City Council was doing a disservice to the poor, and that implementing the living wage legislation would deprive them of job opportunities.
MacDonald's and Payne's assertions about Walmart's positive economic influence are in direct contrast to evidence.
A study conducted by economists David Neumark, Junfu Zhang, and Stephen Cicarella directly disproves MacDonald's theory that Walmart brings new jobs to areas in which stores are located. The authors found that counties with Walmart locations witness a net reduction in retail employment: Read on...
And it wasn't just Fox. MSNBC's Hardball had the Wall Street Journal's resident hack, Stephen Moore on to carry water for Walmart as well. Moore apparently doesn't know the difference between Walmart and the dollar stores, because he thinks everything for sale at Walmart costs 99 cents. I'm sure that he makes enough money from his wingnut welfare that he never has to worry about stepping a foot in either one of them.
At least unlike the Fox segment, they had a liberal on there to explain that those low prices cost the taxpayers a ton of money subsidizing their low wages. Here's more on that from Think Progress: Walmart Threatens To Shut Down Stores If DC Passes Living Wage Bill:
Walmart fought hard to persuade DC residents to let it open stores in the district. But now the retail giant is threatening to walk away from three planned sites if the DC City Council passes a “living wage” bill that would require all major employers to pay workers a minimum of $12.50 an hour.
Walmart claims that the bill, which applies to retailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more and stores that are 75,000 square feet or larger, is “arbitrary and discriminatory.” In a Washington Post editorial, general manager Alex Barron issued an ultimatum to Mayor Vincent Gray: veto the bill, or Walmart will halt construction on stores at Skyland, Capitol Gateway, and New York Avenue.
In less than 24 hours, the corporation is already seeing results: Some council members who voted for the living wage bill are now balking. Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie said he is “going to give this some thought” because he voted yes “without knowing Walmart was going to pull out.”
Walmart is accustomed to singlehandedly taking down worker rights legislation. Seven years ago, Walmart threatened to scrap its plans to open stores in Chicago after the city passed a similar living wage law. The mayor promptly vetoed the bill. In March, New York raised its minimum wage but gave tax subsidies to Walmart and other firms that hire seasonal workers. Unions claimed at the time that Walmart had influenced the deal behind the scenes.
Other large stores like Costco, Home Depot, Target, and Macy’s would also have to abide by the DC proposal. But the new $12.50 minimum would be an especially dramatic change for Walmart, which currently pays workers 28 percent less on average than other large retailers, even as it reaps profits of nearly $450 billion a year. In contrast, Costco will have no problem meeting DC’s requirement if it passes — the average Costco worker currently makes $21.96 an hour.
Walmart’s refusal to pay their employees a livable wage translates into a bigger burden for taxpayers. A Congressional report found that the workforce of a single Walmart store consume roughly a million dollars in public benefits every year, relying on “safety net” programs like Medicaid, food stamps, school lunch, and housing assistance to survive. Since Walmart is the largest private retailer in the nation, the full taxpayer cost of the store’s labor practices is exponentially higher. Read on...