Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A small victory for Free Marketeers!


CHICAGO (AP) — Mayor Richard Daley vetoed an ordinance Monday that would have required mega-retailers to pay their workers more than other employers after some of the nation's largest stores including Wal-Mart Stores (WMTI) warned that the measure would keep them from opening their doors within the city's limits.

Supporters said the measure would guarantee employees a "living wage," but in a letter to City Council members released Monday, Daley said the ordinance would drive businesses from Chicago.

"I understand and share a desire to ensure that everyone who works in the city of Chicago earns a decent wage," Daley wrote. "But I do not believe that this ordinance, well intentioned as it may be, would achieve that end."

The veto was Daley's first in 17 years in office, and will likely set up a showdown during Wednesday's council meeting.

The ordinance was approved by the council in late July and requires so-called "big box" stores to pay workers at least $10 an hour plus $3 in fringe benefits by mid-2010. The rules would only apply to companies with more than $1 billion in annual sales and stores of at least 90,000 square feet.

The minimum wage in Illinois is $6.50 an hour and the federal minimum is $5.15.

Chicago has been at the epicenter of a debate about the wages at large retailers ever since the city rejected a proposal by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to open a store on the South Side, prompting the company to open a store just outside the city limits.

Fans of keynesian economics follow the idea that upping minimum wage increases inflation (and on of the factors that contributed the lengthing of the great depression). I very much dislike regulation like this is a good thing in my little world.

There are, of course, those who disagree:

"The experience of other cities that have done living wage ordinances, is that they help create more jobs and lead to more business development, not less," he said.

No, what you get are smaller stores that don't have the buying power of the larger ones. This raises prices on normal goods...not just a little. The difference here in rural Missouri from Walmart goods to small store is 30% or so. The end result is that those who are hardest hit are those who can't afford to be.

"No American, other than Mayor Daley and the folks at Wal-Mart, believe it's right for corporations to make billions while their workers get paid poverty-level wages and live without affordable health care," said Chris Kofinis, a spokesman for union-affiliated advocacy group

Let us take a quick survey of the average bottom-rung Walmart employee. There's a turnover rate of approxamaitely 2 months. The vast majority of cashiers I see are high schoolers. High schoolers usually work on the side(as in disposable income). Those who I do know that have made careers at Walmart make far more than "poverty-level wages" and have healthcare.

My view is simple...follow the free market. If you don't like Walmart...don't shop there. It's *THAT* easy. Same with fast food places, or any other business. If I want to take advantage of Walmart's low prices, let me.

Now, if they'd just build a Target out here, I'd probably go there (the quality of some Walmart products leaves some to be desired).


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