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Back to basics (2)

July 11, 2013

As I mentioned last month, "You’d think the lessons from letting governments mismanage economies would be apparent to people by now and that they wouldn’t let their governments try that. But you’d be wrong."

Here’s Ron Bailey writing at Reason’s blog about the demagogues on the Washington DC City Council, who’re fixing to shoot themselves (and everyone else) in the foot.

Again.

DC City Council Shake Down of Walmart Epic Fails

Yesterday, I marvelled at the chutzpah of the Washington, DC City Council’s effort to shake down retailers like Walmart by boosting the city’s minimum wage by nearly 50 percent just for them. As I opined:

The economic ignorance of the city mothers and fathers of Washington, DC never ceases to flabbergast me. Years ago, the city’s solons decided that not enough people were choosing to work at house-cleaning and other domestic chores, so they sought to solve this “shortage” by voting to boost the minimum wage for such work. Surely, increasing the price of an activity will increase the demand for it.

In another boneheaded move, the city council voted earlier this year for legislation, the Large Retailer Accountabliity Act, that would hike the minimum wage for workers at “big box” stores to $12.50 per hour. This is a big increase over the city’s $8.25 minimum wage. Evidently the city council believes that this is the way to entice retailers like Walmart, Target, and Wegmans to open businesses in the city.

The amazing part is that such a group of economic illiterates thinks it can fine tune the local economy with laws for business-specific minimum wages. Their schemes remind me of Wile E. Coyote’s – i.e., they’re hilariously impractical.

But even if this crew were economic geniuses, and their schemes worked as planned, those laws would still be a violation of economic freedom in DC. The laws would be wrong in principle even if they were practical. But back to the news…

When Walmart wrote about re-evaluating its plan to build six stores in DC – due to the friendly reception it got from the City Council, councilman Vincent Orange responded (“its” and “them” refer to Walmart):

What does Orange say now? From today’s Post:

Vincent B. Orange (D-At Large), a backer of the bill, said the announcement revealed its “true character.”

“For them to now stick guns to council members’ heads is unfortunate and regrettable,” he said.

Who is sticking what gun to whose head? In this case, it is Orange who has revealed his true character as an economically ignorant demagogue. Let’s hope that DC’s voters will hold Orange and the other seven council members accountable for the loss of jobs, convenience, and affordable shopping.

Bailey asks the right question about that remark: Who’s the thug in this picture?

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