Mona Charen

"The District has arrived," crowed Jarvis Johnson, justifying the strong-arming of the giant retailer. Council member Muriel Bowser, who voted against the measure, reflected sadly on one of the poor neighborhoods that will now be abandoned "When I go to Skyland, we have not arrived," she said. "That project has been some 20 years in the waiting." It's going to have to wait a little longer. Many of the residents of those areas will have to continue to do what they've been doing, incurring the inconvenience and expense of traveling to Maryland to shop at Walmart.

Seventy-three percent of District residents approved of Walmart's plans to open six stores. They were apparently unaware that the hope of a job and a convenient place to buy broccoli, bicycles, diapers, bathing suits and milk was some sort of surrender to the plutocrats. Far better for the neighborhood to remain devoid of clean, attractive stores -- so much more authentic that way.

Walmart has long been a bogeyman among business-despising leftists like Respect D.C. (actually the category is capacious enough to include about 75 percent of the Democratic Party). As my colleague Jay Nordlinger observed a few years ago, far from providing "dead end jobs" (a fiction anyway), Walmart is a often the first step on the employment ladder. Two-thirds of its managers rise from the ranks of hourly employees.

Walmart isn't a perfect. Its low prices are partly attributable to vast imports from China -- and it's impossible to know which products are the work of slave labor and which are not. The company embraced Obamacare, perhaps because it knew it would hurt competitors more than itself. But the D.C. council's punitive swipe at the chain is the perfect embodiment of liberal governance -- rejecting jobs and low prices and embracing continued poverty - all while calling it "respect."


Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
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