Carol Platt Liebau: A Lesson on the Minimum Wage

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Lesson on the Minimum Wage

Democrats are constantly seeking minimum wage increases, but here's an object lesson in what happens when liberal economics triumph.

The Chicago City Coucil passed an ordinance to "to require wage and benefit standards for retail stores with more than 90,000 square feet owned by companies with more than $1 billion in annual sales." How wonderful, thought the liberals -- we're going to guarantee a "living wage" with benefits, and from the hegemonic, oppressive big box stores, no less!

But happily for all of us and for the principle of liberty, it's difficult for the government effectively to impose wage controls in a capitalist system. As a result of the Council's bill, Target has now decided to withdraw from a 32-acre shopping mall development that the city had expected it to anchor (and into which the city has already sunk $23 million in subsidies). What's more, Target may pull out of another development in Chicago.

Way to go, City Council. You really helped all those people who won't get jobs at the new Target(s) (or, perhaps, elsewhere if the entire development goes down), as well as all the disadvantaged people who won't have the option of shopping at Target for a wide range of merchandise at reasonable prices. What's more -- and note it's the councilwoman's only stated concern -- the city won't be getting the sales tax it expected.

Thanks for taking a stand on behalf of the "working people." At least in Chicago, fewer of them will actually be working than if you had just kept your wage controls to yourself.


Blogger Dittohead said...

$ 800 a month wages in Chicago without health insurance, allows the worker to afford a cardboard box for a home. So when they get deathly ill or shot, they'll go to the closest emergency room and won't be able to pay the bills. As a result health insurace premiumns increase 20% a year, eating away at the middle class.

The conservatives solution, is more tax cuts for the wealthy which have quadrupled their income over the past ten years and is obviously a sad joke.

With Carol's endless saber rattling for more wars, just how does she expect the US to afford them? Bush has already spent $ 10.3 trillion from the treasury and the military needs rebuilding and repair.

Ken Lay and those other convicted CEO's have set a very poor path for Carol to follow.

10:45 AM  
Blogger COPioneer said...

It's going to be harder for the homeless to find a box since Target won't be throwing them out the back.

The endless supply of strawmen and lies you are spewing here dhead aren't doing a thing but quadrupling the size of your ego.

The TRUTH is that Democrat "solutions" have closed more businesses than you can shake a stick many union sponsored strikes have ended in business closings? I've seen that happen, people that were making decent middle class wages for non-skilled labor were laid off.

Why is the health care insurance so high? (and 20%/year is an over the top lie). It's because of the LIBERAL Trial Lawyers! Get a grip!

11:02 AM  
Blogger COPioneer said...

oh, Carol, BTW, EXCELLENT post.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

Sad thing is that Carol cherry picked the story. Other cities have ordinances with the similar minimum wages and those big box merchants have stores in these cities.

More lies from the elite right wing-nuts so the rich can rip off the middle class and the poor.

This site is so full of lies it is useless.

Goodbye all.

11:53 AM  
Blogger amber said...

My town is small. We have 2 grocery stores, 2 discount stores, 1 empty mall, and 2 major factories where 60% of the town works. The town has been raising taxes every year for the past 5 years on everything from property to utilities. They are now facing the fact that the factories are seriously considering relocating. The town made it too expensive for them. Were they making a profit? Of course, probably in the 30-50 billion dollar range just at these locations. Could they afford the increases? Yes, but they feel there are other places that will offer them the ability to increase their profit even further. What happens when a company has huge profits? They keep them for a time, but as soon as it is profitable for them to, they will spend it by openning another business to allow them to continue to increase their profits. My town would die without the factories. Target will close, the grocery will close, the gas stations, the restaraunts...... Eventually there will be nothing left. Yep, it may not hurt them to pay the taxes or increased wages, but a business is always looking to maximize profit, it is not a charitable organization, if they can do better elsewhere they will move. Thank goodness my husband's job is secure and we would not loose any money on our home, but for everyone else in town it is a very dire situation. I hope they can remedy it.

1:59 PM  
Blogger wile e coyote said...

Is DHead departing this site?

It's like Frank Burns leaving M*A*S*H.


2:00 PM  
Blogger COPioneer said...

woo hoo! finally no more unhinged conspiracy nutcase.

Yeah, Capitalism works, and it's not the zero sum game the libs think it is. Everyone and ANYONE is capable of getting rich...and you don't even have to be evil! That's the bonus. And then you can donate to your hearts content, or horde it all for your dogs and cats and fishies at home. It's true FREEDOM. You can choose to be poor if you want. And in America, that means you only get a car, a DVD player, a big screen TV, an iPod and a habitat...oh and some extra funny money for food, beer and cigarettes...

I myself, middle-class, and I donate a lot (My good friend Lucy here is my latest). If I lost my job, all my donation would have to stop. At least until I got another job or started a new successful business...

2:46 PM  
Blogger COPioneer said...

Point being, I don't need any government bureaucrat telling me who needs my donation, and then skimming the top 80% Katrina

2:58 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

ditto's leaving? We'll see. Personally, I don't care if he stays or not. It'd be nice to hear a good argument from him if he returns.

It's hardly the point if a "big box store" stays where they will be taxed harder for their success. The point is that some think it's OK to take from the producers. Where do they get off? If they were to lobby the stores directly to dig deeper, and then the store complies, that's totally cool. But to demand and expect? Totally unAmerican.

10:45 PM  
Blogger eLarson said...

It's that Greater Good. However they care to define it.

6:34 AM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Ditto and others want our lifestyles and the businesses that support us, to be largely controlled by BIG Government and BIG regulations. Sounds like Communism to me. Who wants that? Not me. I don't know why so many want to blindly buy into that type of twisted thinking.

9:43 AM  
Blogger eLarson said...

I'm not sure what's behind it, and I've always been curious to know.

I perceive that their belief is "profit is evil". What it actually is I can't say with certainty.

10:34 AM  
Blogger wrabkin said...


If you're really always been curious to know what's behind liberal beliefs like the minimum wage, it's not all that hard to find out. You could start with a book by a liberal economist -- Paul Krugman is one of the best at explaning liberal economic philosophy in layman's terms. Or if you're not that curious, you could check out some of the larger, more mainstream liberal blogs, like those run by the Center for American Progress or The American Prospect.

Our beliefs are not deeply hidden secrets like the secret orders of the Freemasons or Templars. They're out there for everyone to see.

Of course, it may be more fun to just decide that all Democrats hate America, love terrorists, and want to punish rich people because we're jealous. In that case, Carol will happily feed you all the red meat you want.

But if you've really "always been curious," why not actually find out for yourself?

12:37 PM  
Blogger eLarson said...

Frankly, because I'd rather not drop a dime on Krugman, but hear it from you in your own words.

12:46 PM  
Blogger wrabkin said...


I have already posted what I think about the minimum wage and the estate tax. (And the closest thing to an intellectual argument I get back is an accusation that I hate or envy rich people.) I don't have the energy to keep repeating myself. You can probably find my earlier postings if Carol keeps all the old stuff around.

But you can get a much clearer explanation from any of the sources I cited previously. There are people who think about this stuff full time, and they can give you all the facts and statistics that I don't have at hand.

2:52 PM  
Blogger eLarson said...

Carol might not, but Google helps. Here's about the one thing I've found where you were not against something but explicitly for something:

I'm for a progressive system of taxation[2] that prevents dynasties of wealth and power from ruling the nation[partly 3]. I'm for the rich having a little less so that everybody has a little more. I'm for free, quality education for every child, not just rich white ones.[10]

You can find the bracketed numbers here.

How do you feel about "Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state", especially as it applies to "rich white radio blowhards" for instance? [6]

2:00 PM  
Blogger wrabkin said...

I'm opposed to the centralization of the means of communication, whether in the hands of the state, or in the hands of three or four global corporations that operate hand-in-glove with the state. (Although the latter is certainly a little better than the former; one need look no further than Italy under Berlusconi to see what happens when the state essentially controls all media.) It's why I'm furiously opposed to the bill currently pushed by Ted Stevens to give give telcoms more power over the internet (laughably called "Net Neutrality").

3:39 PM  

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