Supporters of a $15-an-hour minimum wage in Chicago said today that the time is right to introduce their plan to the City Council, despite moves from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and at the state level to go more slowly and possibly adopt smaller increases.
Speaking at a City Hall news conference prior to a council meeting, fast food worker Tanika Smith said she can’t make ends meet on her pay of $8.75 per hour. “My car note is $500 a month, my rent is about $500, food is going up, lights are going up,” she said.
The state minimum wage is currently $8.25 an hour.
Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno, 1st, scoffed at the argument that a higher minimum wage would hurt business, saying the whole city would be better off if residents had more money to spend. “It’s not going to hurt business. It never has,” Moreno said. “It’s only raised those at the lower end.”
Clearly, it’s time to start hurling rocks through bakery shop windows. Think of all the jobs that will create for glaziers! If only they could figure out how to legislate a $7.75 an hour marginal product of labor, they’d really be on to something.
IMO if you favor a higher minimum wage, you should favor a higher national minimum wage, particularly if you live in a place like Chicago, whose metropolitan area borders two states, each of which has a lower minimum wage than Illinois’s current state minimum wage and a lot lower than $15 an hour. Otherwise we may be in for a future in which large areas of Chicago are not merely “food deserts” in the sense of no grocery stores that offer fresh fruits or vegetables but real food deserts in which there are neither grocery stores nor even fast food.