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Friday, July 28, 2006

Politics trumps economics in Chicago

The Chicago city council passed a law which would mandate "Big-Box" retailers pay a minimum wage of $10/hour and $3 in fringe benefits, essentially an effort to keep Wal-Mart out of the city (see story in USATODAY.) I am not surprised, given that Chicago aldermen hate Wal-Mart (at least those on the north side, where jobs and unionized grocery stores are plentiful).

However, I was stunned to learn that my former alderman, Helen Shiller, is "mixed" on the law. Shiller is a self-proclaimed socialist and vehement hater of Wal-Mart (as evidenced by her quotes in the article), but has come to realize that less-hated Target may not open a store in her district because of this law. Stunned to discover that government mandated wages lead to lost jobs, she chose not to vote.

Also, check out this analysis in the Wall Street Journal.

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