Chicago Votes for ‘Living Wage’ of $10/hour

In a 35-14 vote, the Chicago City Council recently approved a measure that would force all "big box" retailers to pay a minimum wage of $10/hour by 2010. Stores with over $1 billion in annual sales and 90,000 square feet of store space would be required to comply with the ordinance if Mayor Richard Daley signs it into law. If approved, Chicago would join San Francisco, Sante Fe, and several other cities that have "living wage" laws in place.

Despite enormous amounts of empirical literature that reject the effectiveness of minimum wage laws, supporters of this measure believe it will benefit low-wage workers. However, this policy will only drive jobs away from poor, inner-city areas and put more unskilled workers out of a job. It also has the potential to scare away retail giants such as Target and Wal-Mart, which would prevent the creation of new jobs in the future. Mayor Daley should veto this absurd policy before it has a chance to wreak havoc on Chicago’s labor market.