We can assure you Wal-Mart is not kidding. While we want DC residents to make as much money as they possibly can because it’s good for consumption and good for growth, instituting a two-tiered minimum wage will do more harm to low wage earners than good. The way for them to make more money is through improvements to our education system and strengthening our job training system so that it imparts skills that lead to jobs that command higher wages. See below for our case against raising the minimum wage.
I hope alarm bells are ringing in the offices of District policymakers. I don’t think this is an idle threat. I also don’t think that’s it true that if Wal-Mart drops out there will be other large retailers jumping to get in. The economics of the retail business are the same for Wegeman’s as they are for Wal-Mart — very thin margins where $1.50 per hour can be the difference between being profitable and not being profitable. Should the council not drop this legislation, we would support a veto by Mayor Gray, not because we want to deprive low wage workers of a living wage, but because many jobs are in jeopardy over this decision.