As we wait for the D.C. Council hearing—-scheduled for 10 a.m., and set to include a final vote on the living wage bill—-to get underway, let’s take a look at a snapshot of the debate over the legislation, which would require retailers in excess of 75,000 square feet whose parent companies make at least $1 billion per year to pay a living wage of $12.50 an hour. Walmart has threatened to cancel at least three of its planned D.C. stores if the bill becomes law.

This debate is between ex-Mayor for Life and current Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry on one side, and Walmart spokesman Steve Restivo on the other. It begins with a flurry of tweets from Barry:

Restivo responds with the following email:

Saw Councilman Barry’s tweets regarding profit…

PROFIT PER EMPLOYEE

1.     Exxon Mobil, $510,000

2.     Apple, $353,041

3.     CVS Caremark, $23,568

4.     Home Depot, $13,338

5.     McDonald’s, $12,420/employee

6.     Nordstrom, $12,049

7.     Kohl’s, $11,951

8.     Dollar General, $10,527

9.     Dillard’s, $10,222

10.  Family Dollar Stores, $9,595

11.  Starbucks, $8,648

12.  J.C. Penney, -$8,491

13.  Target, $8,307

14. Wal-Mart Stores, $7,726

Restivo points out regularly that lawmakers sometimes fail to recognize the difference between revenue and profits, and that a company that grosses unfathomable sums of money doesn’t necessarily have a wide profit margin per employee. That said, if Walmart’s per-employee profit is $7,726, that means the company can afford to pay each employee $7,725 more and still make a (very slim) profit. And because the living wage only amounts to $26,000 per year, minus benefits, for a 40-hours-a-week employee, that in turn implies that as long as the company is currently planning to pay its starting workers at least $18,275, it can probably pay the living wage and still be profitable.

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