Off-Target in the Windy City

The political/left war on "big box" stores has claimed more victims:

Target Corp. is halting plans for new stores in Chicago in response to a proposed city law that would set minimum wage and benefit levels for employees of big-box retailers.


The measure would require that retailers with stores of 90,000 square feet or more pay employees who work there at least $10 an hour and provide minimum benefits of $3 an hour.

[I]f Target follows through with its threat, it could hamper retail development in neighborhoods that have been largely ignored by retailers. A shopping center is hard to pull off without a large anchor tenant to bring in traffic—and attract smaller retailers.

“If Target goes, the whole thing falls apart because a lot of these tenants are contingent upon Target,” Mr. Sneider says. “It’s kind of like a house of cards.”

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Some People Never Learn The

Some People Never Learn
The Chicago City Council could certainly use a hefty dose of reality.

>"If your objective is to

>"If your objective is to help the working poor, then an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit..."

Quite. But if your objective is to increase the number of desperate non-working voters, then:

Bill, Raising the minimum


Raising the minimum wage doesn't diminish jobs as much as it reduces job quality.

If your objective is to help

If your objective is to help the working poor, an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit would be a much more effective and equitable way of doing so than raising the minimum wage.

Just had the incumbent state

Just had the incumbent state rep candidate stop by and brag that she had voted to raise the minimum wage in MN. I asked her if she would like the minimum wage raised to $100 so that she wouldn't have a job. She said that would obviously be ridiculous. I asked how she thought the black inner-city teenagers that she had effectively "fired" from their jobs felt.

She said, "There are studies that show that the minimum wage doesn't affect employment."

All I could do was ask whether she thought the people she had unemployed would believe the studies...

Unfortunately her "Republcan" opponent stopped by later to brag about her plan for subsidies to biotech companies. I asked why she thought she was better at stock picking than investors. She got a weird expression on her fce and said "this isn't about picking winners".

I had to concede that she would undoubtedly pick lots of losers.

This is issue pops up again.

This is issue pops up again. Minimum wage. We’re told the minimum wage must be raised because no one can live on the current minimum anymore. I quickly ran the search engine to find the last national hike, and it was in 1997. Now, if a formerly descent salary devalues into unacceptable poverty only nine years later, I’d say we have a problem with someone devalueing the dollar.

How useless is the dollar becoming? Mr. Bernanke? Bernanke?

It makes sense to replace all welfare programs with the Earned Income Tax Credit, while you're at it, Mr. Prenatt, as long as it very gradually brackets to zero, rather than meeting the cutoff at a sharp cliff. Many parents in low income families won't let their kids work, fearing the government will cut off their benefits. A gradual curve would Mitigate the dreaded "cut off", and allow more teens in low-income homes to pursue work.

“There are studies that

“There are studies that show that the minimum wage doesn’t affect employment.”

After she said that, you should have once again "asked her if she would like the minimum wage raised to $100"

Has anyone recently read any good explanations why studied might show no employment effects from the minimum wage? I suspect the unemployment was probably masked by other factors such as pre-existing strong job growth or perhaps quick abandonment by those workers rendered unemployable.

Of course, there is another alternative: Maybe the politicians are right and a higher minimum wage can sometimes filter seamlessly through to higher prices without employment dislocation, which sounds unlikely to me...