Fox News host Steve Doocy suggested on Friday that it could be “the death of free enterprise as we know it” if a bill requiring Walmart to pay a living wage was approved by the mayor of Washington, D.C.
In a Washington Post op-ed earlier this week, Walmart regional general manager Alex Barron said that the company would abandon its plans to open three stores if Mayor Vince Gray signed the Large Retailer Accountability Act, which the city coucil passed by a 8-5 vote on Wednesday.
The bill would require employers grossing more than $1 billion a year to pay workers at least $12.50 per hour instead of the $8.25 minimum wage.
“Is this the death of free enterprise as we know it?” Doocy asked Kevin Hasset of the American Enterprise Institute on Friday.
“There are parts of D.C. where you can have about the worst retail experience in America,” Hasset replied. “And those places tend to be kind of local monopoly supermarkets that have heavily unionized workforces, and the unions give all their money to Democratic politicians. And what’s going on is the Democrats are trying to drive up the cost of the competitors.”
Christian Dorsey of the Economic Policy Institute, however, pointed out that Walmart could be exempted from the living wage requirement if the company allowed collective bargaining.
“Walmart has a wonderful history of bringing in economic development to communities,” Dorsey explained. “But it also has a very clear history of bringing other consequences to communities: sprawl, traffic impacts, water impacts, other environmental impacts.”
“Lower prices,” Doocy interrupted.
“The one that D.C. cannot stand is to have Walmart come and completely distort the labor market and at the same time require taxpayers to support its low-wage employees, and, in effect, provide a subsidy to a very profitable company,” Dorsey added. “That’s something D.C. doesn’t need, nor should it require.”
Watch this video from Fox News’ Fox & Friends, broadcast July 12, 2013.
(h/t: Media Matters)