For many years now, Walmart has been a bogeyman of the Left. The company employs millions, and offers good products at low prices to many millions more — but the very name “Walmart” is still anathema to some. There are people who would rather there were no jobs, and no products, than that Walmart existed. Take the District of Columbia. Its city council has essentially voted to keep Walmart out of D.C. The company had wanted to open six stores — including in “underserved” areas. It promised to fund transportation projects, create a job-training program, and so on. But the city council said, “Your minimum wage must be $12.50” — 50 percent higher than the District’s regular minimum wage. In the District, unemployment among blacks is 20.3 percent. Among black teenagers it is 37.8 percent. Among black male teenagers it is 43.3 percent. At least they won’t have to suffer the ignominy of working at Walmart. Nor will the “underserved” have to suffer the ignominy of shopping there. Mona Charen pointed out the worst part of this whole anti-Walmart effort: Its leading group calls itself “Respect DC.”
The Egyptian military’s overthrow of the elected but lawless Muslim Brotherhood government in early July seems to have been a marginal improvement, and the Obama administration has recognized it as such, providing the strongest support by its reticence: It hasn’t called the coup a coup. By law the U.S. is not supposed to provide foreign assistance to a country where the military has seized power; aid to Egypt would have to be frozen and cooperative military programs and equipment sales ceased. Our support for the military is a lever we would temporarily lose and permanently weaken if we cut off all support until elections occurred and aid could legally resume. The military is crucial to maintaining free passage through the Suez Canal and, via the Camp David accords, the safety of Israel and the security of Sinai. Further, it stepped in at a crucial point, when the despotism and abject mismanagement of the Muslim Brotherhood had driven millions of Egyptians into the streets to demand a new government. The right course is for the State Department to take some time to make its decision, monitoring the military government’s deportment. Eventually, Congress should grant a waiver to the pertinent law and provide aid even after the coup, contingent on the military’s progress toward establishing a constitution that protects minority rights and freedom of speech and conscience.