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Jim Hightower: The Mother Teresa of global trade

Want to see pure altruism in action? Go to Washington, D.C. — not to the federal government’s marble buildings, but to the real city, where ordinary folks live.

There you’ll find a business organization that wants nothing more than to serve the people, help improve lives and be a generous neighbor. That selfless organization is Wal-Mart.

With six big-box stores planned for our nation’s capital, the corporation’s regional manager wants people to know that Wal-Mart’s intentions truly are philanthropic. We wish only "to bring more jobs, shopping options, and fresh food choices," Wal-Mart regional manager Alex Barron recently declared in an ultimatum published in The Washington Post.

Alas, this Mother Teresa of global retail is now wailing that its generosity has been spurned by an impudent city council that says it’s not interested in corporate pretensions of "charity," but in tangible fairness. Council members have had the audacity to pass a "Large Retailer Accountability Act" that would require Wai-Mart to pay fair wages to its D.C. employees.

The stipulated wage floor is $12.50 an hour, or about $25,000 a year in gross pay. That’s no princely sum for life this very expensive city.

Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.