A bill that would have raised the minimum wage for large retailers in the Washington, D.C. area to $12.50 an hour was vetoed by Democratic Mayor Vincent Gray on Thursday, despite the fact that Democrats led the charge to pass the pay raise.
The bill was proposed after Walmart announced plans to open six new stores in D.C., bringing over 1,800 jobs to an area struggling with an 8.6% unemployment rate. Rather than provide incentives to lure Walmart into the area, the D.C. City Council passed a bill requiring Walmart and similar large retailers to pay a 50% premium on the city’s $8.25 an hour minimum wage.
The veto may have angered idealistic liberals intent on punishing Walmart for being a successful company, but for Mayor Gray, the veto made practical economic sense. Walmart threatened to cancel plans to open the D.C. stores, calling the hike in wages “discriminatory legislation” that would hurt profitability. Other retailers like Target and The Home Depot also opposed the bill.
Mayor Gray says he supports a fair “living wage,” but called the bill seriously flawed. The veto sends the bill back to the City Council, who could override the veto, but it does not appear the council has enough votes to do so.
While supporters of the measure insist it is necessary to help the working poor, Mike Flynn of Breitbart News reports that many of the arguments used to support a higher minimum wage are unfounded. Flynn points out that nearly half of all minimum wage earners come from households making $50,000 or more, usually because they are young workers starting out in the workforce.
The idea that many minimum wage earners have families to support is also a myth. 94% of adults with a family earning a minimum wage have a spouse who works as well, who often earns much more.
Indeed, businesses like Walmart rely on the minimum wage for new workers as they learn their trade. Very few businesses, including Walmart, keep employees at the minimum wage level, most get pay raises within a short time.
Victor Medina writes for Yahoo News and his political blog WhenLiberalsAttack.com. His other writing credits include The Dallas Morning News and SportsIllustrated.com. He has served as a Dallas County election judge and on the Board of Directors of The Sixth Floor Museum. You can follow him on his blog, VictorMedina.com or on Twitter at @mrvictormedina. He can be reached by email at email@example.com. Click here to receive a weekly email update from WhenLiberalsAttack.com. To be notified of future stories by Victor Medina, click the SUBSCRIBE link at the top of this page.