The Mayor and DC Council are considering a bill to require large retailers who do business in DC to pay their workers a living wage of at least $12.50 an hour. Opponents say that this will hurt retail in the city and lead to fewer jobs for the very people the legislation is intended to help. Yet their evidence — a business-backed analysis — has been discredited by economists, who find that raising minimum wages leads to higher take-home pay without causing job losses.
Living wage opponents offer no solution to the fact that an entire industry is built heavily on poverty-level jobs. And they don’t have an answer to the question of how some retailers, such as Costco, can pay wages well above industry norms and still be wildly successful.