The DC City Council has voted in favor of a "living wage" measure that would apply only to "big box" retailers like Walmart and increase the city's minimum wage rate just for them by more than 50 percent. Yesterday, Walmart warned the council that if they passed the specially hiked minimum wage that the company would refuse to build three of the six stores they were planning on and might pull out the city altogether.
Now take a moment to contemplate the irony of this statement reported in the Washington Post today from Rev. Graylan Hagler, the senior pastor of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ and a leader of pro-living-wage group Respect DC:
"If you allow a bully to bully you, it's never going to end."
Say what? Evidently, in the Newspeak used by the good reverend, a "bully" is someone who refuses to hand over their lunch money when being pommelled by a gang of thugs.
Soon, Rev. Hagler will no doubt be declaiming: War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength, Coercion is Liberty, Oppression is Freedom, Profit is Loss, Unemployment is Work, and so forth.
Prominent living wage supporter Council member Vincent Orange, still suffering from a severe case of grandiloquence and logorrhea, asserted in the Post:
"The question here is a living wage; it's not whether Wal-Mart comes or stays," said council member Vincent B. Orange (D-At Large), a lead backer of the legislation, who added that the city did not need to kowtow to threats. "We're at a point where we don't need retailers. Retailers need us."
It's hard not to conclude that council member Orange is channeling Atlas Shrugged's Wesley Mouch. Look soon for the city council to further restrict businesses in the District by passing the Equalization of Opportunity Act.
Perhaps the ongoing corruption investigation will end up sparing the city further stupidities from council member Orange.
If DC's Mayor Vincent Gray can muster the courage to veto this economically ignorant legislation, there is still some hope that the residents can enjoy the jobs, convenience, and affordable shopping that Walmart would bring to some of the poorest city neighborhoods. If mayor fails to veto the measure, Orange and his cohorts will soon find out who needs whom.