Star Parker

Why, when there is no question that nothing has created more wealth and eradicated more poverty than capitalism, do left wing politicians hate it so much?

After all, it’s supposed to be the left that cares about the poor.

The latest chapter in this ongoing saga of economic perversity is action being taken in Washington, DC, to prevent Walmart from opening stores there.

The District’s city council has passed a bill, awaiting signature of the Mayor, specifically targeted to block Walmart. It raises the District’s minimum wage 50 percent to $12.50 per hour only for stores with more than $1 billion in sales and store size of more the 75,000 square feet.

Unionized stores in the District with these characteristics are exempt. In other words, the bill protects special interests and blocks who politicos don’t want -- Walmart.

Walmart promptly announced that if the Mayor signs the bill into law, they will cancel plans to open three stores, each of which would create around 300 new jobs.

Walmart’s “low prices every day” business strategy is one of the greatest success stories in American history.

Opening its first store in 1962, it has grown and grown and grown. Today Walmart has sales of almost a half trillion dollars, putting it number one on the Fortune 500 list.

According to the company, it now has over 10,000 stores around the world, employs 2.2 million people, and serves 200 million customers per week.

Is anyone forced to shop at Wal-Mart? Of course not. Is anyone forced to work at Wal-Mart? Of course not.

This mind-boggling growth happened as result of freedom. Walmart’s huge success is one hundred percent the result of delivering products that people freely choose to buy.

Critics of Walmart claim that the company doesn’t pay enough. The company responds that its average pay is at or above the industry average.

But the real issue is, what is it the business of politicians what Walmart pays? Unlike government, that fines you or jails you if you don’t do what lawmakers want, people work at Walmart because they choose to do so.

Walmart says it gets anywhere from 10,000 to 25,000 applications for 300 to 400 job openings when it opens a store. That’s more than 25 applicants per job.

Doesn’t appear to me like Walmart has trouble convincing people to work there.

Washington, DC, is more than 50 percent black. Its unemployment rate is above the national average. Its poverty rate is above the national average.

Yet Washington, DC’s politicians would rather have no new jobs at $12.50 per hour than 900 new jobs at $10.00 per hour.

Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.