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Plenty of blame to go around

Monday, Dec 8, 2014 - Posted by Rich Miller

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

Pretty much every Statehouse finger of blame was pointing North toward Chicago for the minimum wage hike bill’s failure during the legislative veto session which ended last week.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel does indeed have a lot of explaining to do. His decision to move up a vote to pass a $13 an hour minimum wage for his city completely undercut Springfield’s efforts to pass a statewide minimum wage capped everywhere at $11 an hour.

Months ago, Emanuel scheduled a vote on raising Chicago’s minimum wage for the week after the General Assembly’s annual fall veto session. After the election, though, retailers, restaurant owners and other business groups agreed to an eventual $11 an hour statewide minimum wage, but only if Chicago and other home rule municipalities were not allowed to raise their own local wages above that amount. Proponents say they were within two votes of House passage before the second and final week of veto session when Emanuel quietly filed paperwork calling for a special hearing on his own minimum wage proposal before the second week kicked off in Springfield.

There was just no way that House Speaker Michael Madigan would publicly rebuke his city’s mayor by reversing that ordinance via state law. It’s just not in his nature to go up against a mayor like that. Besides, Madigan lost of ton of votes from Chicago legislators who could not or would not risk supporting legislation which “cut” their constituents’ pay.

Even so, Speaker Madigan himself shares in the blame here. Yes, he’s not all-powerful, but he probably could’ve passed a minimum wage bill during the spring session. Instead, he didn’t want to rile up business groups before an election and believed he could use the issue to fire up his party’s base and the unions in the November election.

As Champaign News-Gazette columnist Jim Dey wrote not long ago, former Senate President Phil Rock’s autobiography contains a story which explains Madigan to a “T.”

Rock wrote in his book “Nobody Calls Just to Say Hello.” that he wanted to pass a bill guaranteeing women unpaid maternity leave. Rock told Madigan and another House Democrat that he’d like to get the issue off the table by passing it. The Senate President believed Madigan was stalling.

“We jousted back and forth, and one of the House members said to me, ‘You know, I’m getting a little tired of you trying to do what’s right all the time. We’ve got a great political issue here,’” Rock wrote.

That’s Mike Madigan: Use an issue for political advantage rather than pass it into law. And he’ll likely use the minimum wage issue again next year, perhaps by passing a bill that he knows will be vetoed by a Gov. Rauner. He can also use the issue to keep organized labor focused on that topic and away from other stuff that Madigan might oppose (like an electronic trading transaction tax, for instance). Business groups will also be frozen in place in opposition to a minimum wage threat.

But the blame doesn’t end there, of course. As I told you months ago, Gov. Pat Quinn and US Sen. Dick Durbin didn’t want Chicago to pass a $13 an hour minimum wage ordinance before the election, believing it would undermine their attempt to gin up the city’s vote for the statewide $10 an hour minimum wage referendum. Politically, this made some sense at the time. Why would any Chicagoan bother to vote for a $10 an hour minimum wage when it had already been raised to $13?

In reality, though, the minimum wage referendum didn’t work as planned. And instead of a statewide attempt to partially catch up with Chicago’s minimum wage during veto session, the whole effort fizzled.

The governor announced plans to make the minimum wage hike his final legacy, but he didn’t bother to make sure his ducks were in a row before saying so. And that is Pat Quinn in a nutshell. He’s good at press conferences, not so spectacular at governing.

And, of course, Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner’s demand that the General Assembly not pass a minimum wage bill in the veto session can also be blamed for the measure’s failure this week. He’ll have to wear that jacket unless and until he can come up with a plan to actually put something in place.

This was, in the end, a failure of policy, of politics and of governance all around. Low-wage workers deserved better.

Madigan’s spokesman said this morning that there is “no actual recollection on the Madigan side of the ball about the Rock story.” He also suggested that the Republicans and the business community deserve more blame for “stonewalling.”

Your thoughts?

       

93 Comments
  1. - Apocalypse Now - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 9:39 am:

    Minimum wage increase is bad economics.


  2. - Wordslinger - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 9:39 am:

    Low wage workers did deserve better, and still do. I never believed that an advisory referendum would drive turnout. Hard to believe the political wise guys did.

    Most minimum wage workers are in food service, retail and hospitality. Those businesses locate where the people are. They’ll adjust to the new Chicago wage just fine.

    I don’t think the Ritz Carlton and Water Tower Place will be moving to Gary anytime soon.


  3. - Demoralized - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 9:42 am:

    =Minimum wage increase is bad economics.=

    Not for the workers.


  4. - Try-4-Truth - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 9:44 am:

    I’m sorry, Mr. Apocalypse Now, that is simply not true. I suggest you study the economic concept of aggregate demand and how it pertains to the minimum wage.


  5. - A guy... - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 9:45 am:

    The referendum effort was always too clever by half. Not just minimum wage, all of them. This is the formula for making a bad situation worse. It does keep the issue on the table to talk about in the same disingenuous way in the future. I had to chuckle when the response to the Phil Rock story was one of “I don’t remember”. Why would he?


  6. - Wordslinger - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 9:46 am:

    AN, what an insightful comment. Brings a lot to the table.

    The current minimum wage should be set in stone? Why? Is it in the Bible or something?

    If your drive-by is against the concept of the minimum wage, perhaps you could explain the last 76 years of “bad economics.”


  7. - PublicServant - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 9:46 am:

    Try-4-Truth, facts have a decidedly liberal bias.


  8. - Loop Lady - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 9:46 am:

    Competing agendas and a lack of communication all around helped this fiasco happen…something tells me Madigan and Rauner are going to have a closer relationship than Rahm and Bruce, at least until the muni elections in April…


  9. - Steve Brown - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 9:47 am:

    Actually Madigan’s spokesman decided remind Capt. Fax that he “forgot” to give GOPies and biz crowd any credit after the ReBooters hijacked the piece and stacked on a headline citing the mayor and the Speaker #1 and #2. I hate to see GOPies always left out:)


  10. - William j Kelly - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 9:47 am:

    Rich, I am glad someone had the courage to say it and by ’someone’ I mean you big boy!


  11. - Marty Funkhouser - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 9:50 am:

    Well, Madigan co-hosted the book signing event for Rock in Springfield, so the book must not have been too off target.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 9:51 am:

    Great column, Rich.

    Looking beyond minimum wage, but in the spirit of the column, will the minimum wage issue, along with most issues Rauner wanted the GA to hold off on, be the chess games Rauner thinks he can play with Cullerton and MJM, and we will all see if Rauner plays checkers or chess?

    If the Rock story, refuted or not, shows anything, it’s that checkers and chess against MJM has no party sides, but the Speaker’s side and the opponent’s side, and sometimes the issue is lost in the game being played until the final result is seen.

    These will be interesting times…


  13. - Urbs In Horto - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 9:53 am:

    I’m prone to naivete. But I’m happy to be enlightened. Can someone explain to me why it’s the conventional wisdom (expressed in Rich’s column) that MM wouldn’t call SB0068 for fear of offending MRE/the City? The bill keeps the City wage intact, though it preempts after $13 and disallows COLAs. Maybe even that degree of home-rule preemption is too much for MRE to bear. But is it possible that this is just a fit of pique on MM’s part, annoyed by what he perceived as MRE forcing his hand? Or, more likely, that enough of MM’s foot soldiers just aren’t willing to raise the minimum wage, and he didn’t want to put them in the tough spot of voting against the bill? Also, any thoughts on the odds of PQ calling the House back and forcing MM to decline again to call the vote? I know that Rich thinks this would be loser for PQ, making him look ineffectual. But isn’t there a downside to MM’s continued refusal to try to raise IL workers’ wages?


  14. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 9:54 am:

    == That’s Mike Madigan: Use an issue for political advantage rather than pass it into law. ==

    And that, in turn, explains much about why our state has been so poorly run and managed in recent years.

    There have been multiple minimum wage increases during the past decade alone. But if you pass that in the Spring session, there is no minimum wage referendum and it takes away a campaign issue to target Rauner and your rivals with.


  15. - Knome Sane (now known as "The Real Sock Puppet") - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 9:54 am:

    Rich, what’s with “admin” William j Kelly soaping you up in recent threads over the past few days? Very weird.


  16. - RonOglesby - Now in TX - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 9:55 am:

    There are pluses and minuses in a higher min-wage. A good example is Seatac in Washington… The airport, hotels, People, etc can be “moved” as noted by Word above…

    But, business does not lay down. Many workers lost other things in the Min Wage move in Seatac. some hotels cut free food. Some cut their number of vacation days, some a combination. Then of course many raised their prices in combination with changes to employee benfits.

    http://shiftwa.org/sea-tac-workers-not-happy-with-15-min-wage/
    Money comes from somewhere. I know many think businesses are just sitting on hoards of cash like Scrooge McDuck, but in reality balance sheets need to be maintained and labor costs increases dictated by the gov, will impact other areas… The law of unintended consequences.


  17. - RonOglesby - Now in TX - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 9:56 am:

    I meant to say they CANNOT be moved above.


  18. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 9:58 am:

    - Urbs In Horto -,

    Just start with “Pat Quinn’s time is up”

    It’s time for Quinn to go. Quinn can call them all back, and the GA will sit there, and that will be it. Quinn is not only a lame duck, Quinn is just lame too.

    Further, MJM can leverage more with a man walking into a job for four years, than help a legacy of a man whom he didn’t get along with governmentally all that well in his last 4 weeks.

    The Quinn angle alone is more than enough reason to wait for Rauner. The politics makes far more sense.


  19. - Not Rich - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:03 am:

    It’s only the 4th inning, calm down.. the game is 9 innings and we haven’t even got to the point where each manager starts matching up the middle relievers..


  20. - A guy... - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:04 am:

    Urbs, calling in the GA for a gimmick is not free. The election is over. PQ needs other cooperation, even begrudging cooperation. I doubt very much that he’s going into “tweak” mode with anyone who’s holding a better hand than he is. For the record, that’s just about everyone right now.


  21. - William j Kelly - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:05 am:

    Knome, I know you have had your differences with me in the past but I would like to invite you to consider another path, please watch this video and pray (or meditate) on it before commenting, thank you! http://youtu.be/3re3zlKwGvg


  22. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:05 am:

    The business groups tried to triangulate, and they got Rahmed.

    You can’t blame them for trying to block the City, but Rahm outmaneuvered them.

    Apparently, they also tried a last-minute parliamentary trick to block the City vote that Rahm sidestepped as well.

    Rahm’s dance training is coming in handy.


  23. - Knome Sane (now known as "The Real Sock Puppet") - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:11 am:

    “admin” William j. Kelly, rest assured, I will not be watching any video you post. And I don’t have “differences” with you. I merely think you are a ultra-fringe player, hanging out on the edge of politics. You are attracted to politics like a moth is to flame because politics attracts all kinds. But you are irrelevant and and non-entity who is seeking attention like a two-year old does.


  24. - anon - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:11 am:

    V== That’s Mike Madigan: Use an issue for political advantage rather than pass it into law. ==

    Just out of curiosity, do Republicans ever use issues for political advantage rather than pass them, or is that a practice limited to MJM?


  25. - AlabamaShake - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:17 am:

    **The business groups tried to triangulate, and they got Rahmed.**

    Wrong… MJM tried to triangulate, and he got Rahmed.

    MJM wanted to give the Restaurants something, so it forced Rahm’s hand. And Rahm outmaneuvered MJM.


  26. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:17 am:

    I feel torn about Madigan. I also learn from him. I don’t approve always of his playing politics with issues. If he indeed could have passed a minimum wage increase last spring but didn’t want to anger business groups, and instead tried to milk the issue for political gain, that’s not good.

    I learn from Madigan because I believed the minimum wage push would have ended with legislation passed. I see how I allowed myself to be misled, and how to interpret Madigan’s political ploys in the future. I need to be more skeptical–even cynical–rather than have naive optimism. We are in Illinois, after all.

    What about the millionaire surcharge that voters strongly supported? Will that also be moved to the back burner, or will it be part of fiscal reform?


  27. - Amalia - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:18 am:

    re Rock’s supposed Madigan quote, been there experienced that even if it was not spoken.


  28. - William j Kelly - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:22 am:

    Knome, we will have to agree to disagree but I support your right to hold your opinions, no matter how hateful, please try to have a good day.


  29. - john doe - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:22 am:

    When the Democrats do pass minimum wage increases, why don’t they just index it to inflation? Because they won’t be able to use the issue in the future.


  30. - Soccermom - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:30 am:

    The “local pre-emption” thing is an ALEC initiative. As far as I’m concerned, that’s reason enough to oppose it.

    http://billmoyers.com/2014/04/18/oklahoma-provides-a-win-for-alecs-50-state-campaign-against-democracy/


  31. - Knome Sane (now known as "The Real Sock Puppet") - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:33 am:

    @”admin” William j Kelly, it’s not hate. My thoughts of you are the opposite of hate. I am totally indifferent to you. And I suspect that is your biggest fear.


  32. - Team Sleep - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:39 am:

    Illinois is pretty much the Wild West of lobbying. Pay your $1,000 and go to town. I cannot fault businesses and business groups from pushing back against the wage hike, and I also cannot fault SEIU and the other labor PACs that pushed for the recent referendum’s passage.

    I still go back to the number 12. That is the amount of years that Illinois has had a Democratic governor and Democratic majorities in both houses. Yes, incremental change in minimum wage has happened, but the magic number of $10 an hour never truly materialized. Remarkable.


  33. - Apocalypse Now - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:42 am:

    The Congressional Budget Office projects that increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would cause 500,000 Americans to be unemployed:

    Once fully implemented in the second half of 2016, the $10.10 option would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers, or 0.3 percent, CBO projects.

    Note that while the overall increase in unemployment would be 0.3%, the increase among the affected low-wage employees would be much greater. It is noteworthy, too, that 500,000 lost jobs represents the midpoint of a broad band: the CBO acknowledges considerable uncertainty in its predictions, and says that “there is about a two-thirds chance that the effect would be in the range between a very slight reduction in employment and a reduction in employment of 1.0 million workers.”


  34. - walker - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:49 am:

    Rock did not attribute the quote specifically to Madigan, unless that’s how we read “One of the House members said to me.”

    The rest of the piece is spot on.

    Yes, of course the timing of moving legislation is often political.

    Yes, Madigan often appears driven more by political needs than by policy needs. But that usually can be translated as how the voters are expected to react in an election. It is tricky indeed to fairly criticize being “political” in that sense.

    When money is the concern: different story. This is a win for some of the business lobbyists.

    The deal to override Chicago home rule on this issue was never realistic IMO. If that’s what it would have taken to get this bill passed, then it could not pass.

    It should be passed without such a consideration.


  35. - Joe Maddon - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:51 am:

    Knome- well said , but let’s just ignore Kelly and maybe just maybe he will go away. He was at a party last Friday and not one person would speak with him , so he left now let’s do the same


  36. - Soccermom - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    Oh, and Rich — I just want you to know that I have nominated you for the Nobel Peace Prize, because you are just the most awesomest, most bravest, best-looking, funniest, kindest, sweetest, cuddliest and amazingest person I have ever met or dreamed of.


  37. - William j Kelly - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:53 am:

    Knome, the old William Kelly would have hit back but I am happy to say I have grown, learned, changed and improved since those days and I wish the same for you! We are all on a journey and I can not say where you are at in yours or even where it is going but may I recommend another video?
    http://youtu.be/3ySsLRwE3Lk


  38. - VanillaMan - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    I don’t have a problem with MJM holding off until he can use this issue with the new governor. I would do the same thing.


  39. - Soccermom - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEW7E9XYxd0


  40. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    William J Kelly can really get under people’s skin at times, but at least he puts his real name on his posts and is trying to be positive in his comments.

    Anyone posting under any handle could obviously be just about anyone: a former statewide office holder, a current Congressman or Senator, a local Mayor, a lobbyist or a kid in high school.

    Your past comments and arguments with others aside, William, way to stay positive in your current ones. Happy Holidays to all.


  41. - Knome Sane (now known as "The Real Sock Puppet") - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:57 am:

    @Joe Maddon, good call. Thesen will be my last words on the “non” subject. I’ll wager “admin” William j. Kelly left the Irish Fellowship luncheon when it became apparent no one would give him their business card, which he was seen attempting to collect in the lobby.

    By the way, good luck with the Cubs next year. It’s good to see the new head coach on Cap Fax Blog!


  42. - AlabamaShake - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:58 am:

    ** the CBO acknowledges considerable uncertainty in its predictions, and says that “there is about a two-thirds chance that the effect would be in the range between a very slight reduction in employment and a reduction in employment of 1.0 million workers.”**

    In other words… the CBO is saying that it is likely that there will be anywhere between a slight increase in jobs and a 1 million loss in jobs.

    That’s worse than the local weather man!

    Also, what else is notable is that the CBO didn’t actually do a study, they essentially just did a lit review, and took a bunch of studies together and threw them together. They didn’t do any weighting of the studies.

    Further, the vast majority of research does not support the CBO assertions.

    You can read a decent critique of the CBO report here:

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/178429/cbo-report-will-minimum-wage-hike-really-cost-jobs

    And yes, I know that is from The Nation, but tell me what you actually disagree with the article rather than the source.


  43. - Wordslinger - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 10:58 am:

    AN, you’re rather selective in your cherry-picking from that CBO report. I guess you missed the part where it said there could be no adverse effect on employment. Or that 16.5 million workers would get a raise, Or that 900,000 would be lifted above the poverty line.

    If you’re interested, you could also google the Economic Policy Institute letter signed by 600 economists, including seven Nobel Prize winners, that concludes research shows that minimum wage increases have historically had a negligible effect on employment levels.


  44. - walker - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 11:06 am:

    SoccerMom: Laughing. It must be Award Season.

    (Not that I disagree in any way.)


  45. - The Captain - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 11:09 am:

    Pretty much every Statehouse finger of blame was pointing North toward Chicago for the minimum wage hike bill’s failure during the legislative veto session which ended last week.

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel does indeed have a lot of explaining to do.

    This is an incredibly Springfield-centric point of view. Here is a non-exhaustive list of things the City has been asking Springfield for:

    1. A Chicago casino - Vetoed, never happened.
    2. Pension reform - Nothing. They passed an unconstitutional reform bill for the state pension funds but nothing that would affect the city funds.
    3. Minimum wage increase - Didn’t even get a vote.

    The City of Chicago was able to act on its own to raise the local minimum wage and it did only after it became clear that the General Assembly was going to pass up repeated opportunities to do so. The City waited until after the 2014 elections and still nothing so with their own elections coming up they finally decided they had waited long enough and acted on their own. Why wouldn’t they, Springfield has been somewhere between indifferent and openly hostile to the City’s agenda. In this environment you’re more likely to see the General Assembly vote on a bill to partition Chicago out of Illinois than any bill that would provide assistance or relief for Chicago. You’d have to be living in a pretty tight bubble to think the inaction on minimum wage is Chicago’s fault.


  46. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 11:10 am:

    ===This is an incredibly Springfield-centric point of view.===

    And is clearly labeled as such. How about reading the rest?


  47. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 11:11 am:

    @AlabamaShake -

    Right…that’s why the Madigan wrote that op-ed for Reboot calling for a uniform minimum wage.

    Oh wait…that was written by Sam Toia, head of the Restaurant Association.


  48. - Soccermom - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 11:25 am:

    There is no way I am letting William J. Kelly (or whoever it is that posts under his name) get in front of me in the early maneuvering to win that coveted Wordslinger Commenter of the Year Award.


  49. - William J. Kelly * - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 11:27 am:

    I am William J. Kelly*. I think Soccermom should win the Wordslinger Commenter of the Year Award. She knocks my socks off. She makes me want to vote Democratic. Heck, she makes me yearn for the good old “Punch 10″ days. She is even better than Rich, who is so consistently amazing and pluperfect.

    My name is William J. Kelly*, and I approve this message.


  50. - A guy... - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 11:28 am:

    S-mama, very good post and sure to warm the holiday heart of the dude, but “best-looking” will have the folks in Oslo scrambling. lol. We gotta get you out more!


  51. - Apocalypse Now - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 11:36 am:

    @Wordslinger. The bottom line is raising the minimum wage results in fewer jobs at the lower end of the job spectrum. If raising the minimum wage the answer to reducing poverty, then why not raise it to $20 per hour. Then no one would be below the poverty level. Why do you think all the jobs are going overseas to low wage countries.


  52. - William j Kelly - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 11:42 am:

    I do not seek nor would I accept the commenter of the year award due to the fact that all of my comments from the past year reflect the old WJK. The new and improved WJK only sees the good in people and wants to work towards consensus thru civility while still keeping his values intact. So that being said I nominate soccermom (who I have always had a thing for) for this award, thank you for your consideration.


  53. - Wordslinger - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    AN, that is not the bottom line, that’s just something you choose to believe, despite evidence to the contrary, for some ideological reasons.

    Food service, retail, health care and hospitality jobs are not going overseas. That’s who makes minimum wage in this country. But your support of sweat-shop wages and child labor for this country is duly noted.

    Again, you’re arguing against a law that’s been in effect for 76 years.


  54. - Tony Strupac - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 11:47 am:

    Is “William J. Kelly” making fun of Rich Miller? In several comment sections he has made comments about Rich that on first blush look complimentary. Now I’m not so sure.


  55. - Apocalypse Now - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 11:50 am:

    =Again, you’re arguing against a law that’s been in effect for 76 years.=
    Just because it has been in effect for 76 years doesn’t make it a good law. Very few people working in the industries you mention make minimum wage. You don’t seem to understand that simple fact.


  56. - Arizona Bob - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 11:51 am:

    @soccermom

    =Oh, and Rich — I just want you to know that I have nominated you for the Nobel Peace Prize, because you are just the most awesomest, most bravest, best-looking, funniest, kindest, sweetest, cuddliest and amazingest person I have ever met or dreamed of. =

    Ummmmm… does MRS Rich Miller know about this?LOL

    Better not invite them to the same Christmas party, Rich. I can see her “moon eyes’ even over the internet!


  57. - Wordslinger - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    AN, you crack me up. The Pew Center report on who makes minimum wage would be a good place to start for you.


  58. - Soccermom - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    AN, if you don’t believe Pew, take a look at this — actual peer-reviewed research.

    (for those of you who don’t have time to read the whole thing, it’s an incredibly detailed study of what happened along a specific commercial strip on a road that separates PA from NJ, when NJ raised the minimum and PA didn’t.

    Spoiler alert: “We find no indication that the rise in the minimum wage reduced employment.”

    http://davidcard.berkeley.edu/papers/njmin-aer.pdf


  59. - Apocalypse Now - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    Wordslinger, Obviously you didn’t read the whole report. It made my point that most worker in these industries are earning above the minimum wage, already. For goodness sakes, at least read something, before you refer to it in a post.


  60. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    Mr/Ms Captain
    You make some fun points on the Chicago agenda. Some facts to check
    1. Casino expansion has been prisoner of tracks v. boats for years. Neither side will help the city alone.
    2. Pension debate has seen 3 city centric funds pass bills generally agreed by employer and employees — a much smarter course of action
    3. Min. Wage — city beat state to punch, maybe

    BTW the City did get a big expansion at McCormick place and no erosion of LGDF and PPRT $$$.


  61. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 12:12 pm:

    ===does MRS Rich Miller know about this?===

    There is no Mrs. Miller.

    There is a Mr. SoccerMom, however.


  62. - Ginhouse Tommy - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 12:29 pm:

    If the quote from Rock’s book is true, and I have no doubt that it is, just shows how pathetic Madigan and his people are. It reminds me of a post by Ladylawyer about Bill Cellini. If there is nothing in it for me I’m not interested. When there is let me know. It’s no wonder the state has the problem it does. As far as minimum wage goes, the more money you make the more you spend. It is good for the economy.


  63. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 12:29 pm:

    The Washington Post clearly lays out the reasons why ==In any case, it’s wrong to suggest the debate is settled. Economists remain sharply divided about the issue.== They include plenty of links to evidence supporting either camp on this.

    Their summary of the CBO report conclusions is also similar to AN’s - http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/wp/2013/12/05/obamas-claim-that-there-is-no-solid-evidence-that-boosting-the-minimum-wage-harms-jobs/


  64. - Soccermom - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 12:40 pm:

    If more economists worked in fast food, the whole “minimum wage” controversy would be more understandable.

    Consider the predicament of the manager of a small KFC franchise. To handle a normal lunchtime rush, he needs (minimally) two “counter girls”, two chicken packers and one cook. (In my experience, the cook must be male and is paid more, even though the lower-paid female chicken packer does his job while the cook is on break.)

    If the minimum wage rises by one dollar per hour, the manager could respond by reducing the staff by one packer. However, that move will drastically increase customers’ wait times. That means some impatient patrons will leave in a huff after they have stood in line for more than five minutes, and some angry folks in the drive-through will peel out after they place their orders.

    So is it better to pay an aggregate wage increase of $5 per hour (roughly $60 a day) or reduce staff in a way that could lead to hundreds of dollars a day in lost sales?

    I understand that $60 a day adds up over the course of a year (to something around $20,000). But cutting one employee from an already slim staff would lead to 10x more in lost sales. And keep in mind — the manager still has to cover fixed costs, which can be huge. Not to mention the costs of spoilage as the manager tries to figure out the new sales volumes under the reduced staffing plans.

    So, despite the argument from “classic economics,” I don’t think that raising the wage will have the apocalyptic impacts on employment that others might predict.


  65. - NoGifts - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 12:42 pm:

    This is a little off the subject, but didn’t people think that the referendum question:

    “ Shall the minimum wage in Illinois for adults over the age of 18 be raised to $10 per hour by January 1, 2015?[4]” was discriminatory? What is minimum wage if it doesn’t apply to everyone. Plenty of people 18 and under are supporting or helping to support their family. Or maybe it would help them, by making them the more attractive employee? :)


  66. - Black Ivy - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 12:49 pm:

    Sheesh! There are so many moving parts here, exacerbated by the fact that some of the critical players profoundly dislike one another. I suspect Governor-Elect Rauner is comfortable wearing the “jacket” - the General Assembly should not have rushed through a minimum wage measure without full and complete review. Now, Mayor Emmanuel’s just showboating…just in time for re-elections. When we see that retail chains are chased out of the great city of Chicago because this $13 per hour new rate is not sustainable, we know where to place the blame…


  67. - AlabamaShake - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 12:59 pm:

    ** What is minimum wage if it doesn’t apply to everyone. **

    The min wage already doesn’t apply to everyone. There is a sub-minimum wage ($0.50 less) for teen workers. There is a sub-minimum wage for tipped workers. Employers are exempt if they have less than 4 employees. Etc., etc., etc.


  68. - liandro - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    “I understand that $60 a day adds up over the course of a year (to something around $20,000). But cutting one employee from an already slim staff would lead to 10x more in lost sales. And keep in mind — the manager still has to cover fixed costs, which can be huge. Not to mention the costs of spoilage as the manager tries to figure out the new sales volumes under the reduced staffing plans.”

    Soccermom, given that margins are margins, there are several options you are missing here:

    1. Obviously, raising prices
    2. Tightening the wage scale, so that more people are making closer to minimum wage
    3. Cutting staff earlier and letting extra tasks go undone (usually not done by chains like KFC, where a franchisor audits the place) which creates long-term issues and problems
    4. Cutting back on business hours, products, or services
    5. Going out of business

    Case in point, I spent some time Saturday talking to a local shop owner who was having his last day of business; he’s auctioning off his equipment today. It just wasn’t worth it for him to be in business; he’s going to find a job working for someone else and be done with the stress. There is a laundry list of things he mentioned to me as issues, but he did mention the upcoming minimum wage hike (without prompting, btw). Just another straw in the haystack.

    My guess is this guy isn’t very political–he only cared about his business. He didn’t have a partisan “agenda”…he just was sick of the grind for slim margins. And, btw, the service he offered isn’t offered by anyone else in his small town of 4,000. They just lose out.

    Those of you who have completely convinced yourselves (including Rich) that the economics of this are good for the employees are ignoring how many people are damaged: those whose raises are suddenly worth less (or never offered in the first place), those who lose their jobs or lose hours, etc. And all of these dynamics are worse for small, local employers in rural areas. The economy just works different in small towns. This guy had employees from surrounding communities who traveled because jobs are tight.

    That $20,000/yr that you think is nothing, Soccermom? That’s a massive amount of money for any small rural shop…the kind of money that makes you question why you don’t just go work for someone else. And it’s just one–one!–rising cost among many.


  69. - Arizona Bob - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    @soccermom

    I don’t think anyone is saying that the min wage hike in Chicago was going to cause some sort of apocalypse. It’ll just make it tougher for young and unemplyed people to get into the work force.

    I doubt you get into rough neighborhoods on the South and West sides much, but one of the “costs of doing business” there is to hire locals for “make work” jobs so that the community is less likely to rob and vandalize there. The same goes for non-profits. The jobs weren’t operationally necessary, but they are good community realations investments.

    You can only afford so much for these jobs, so people will be let go when the cost rises too high.

    There are also a lot of jobs from small businesses where it pays to have low wage workers do what other employees would rather not do. Maybe “gofer” jobs and other things that are nuissances. Now,a s the costs escalate and proftis drop fropm mandated health insurance premiums and city, Fed and state taxes, those jobs are expendable. The work for those remaining becomes less pleasant, and those working the tedious tasks get dropped.

    You described a KFC situation where you lose revenues when you downsize. I doubt that’s the majority of the cases affected here.

    Of course, if you were really concerned about the plight of US minimum wage workers, you’d tighten up those hiring workers here illegally. They’re the primary reason US citizens can’t get the low wage jobs that in the 1970s and 80s American kids used to do to get work experience and some paychecks.

    There are a lot more “off the books” illegals working in Chicago for whom min wage makes no difference in food service, hospitality and construction. Get rid of them and watch the lower wages rise naturally due to labor demand. That’s the FAIR way of doing this, having government do it’s job to protect workers rather than refusing to do their duty.

    I’d love to see the distortion in the low wage labor market be eliminated in Chicago, but I’m afraid that’s just not in the Dem agenda anymore.


  70. - Mama - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 1:48 pm:

    ==What about the millionaire surcharge that voters strongly supported? Will that also be moved to the back burner, or will it be part of fiscal reform? ==
    With Millionaire Rauner as the governor-elect, the answer is NO.


  71. - Demoralized - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 1:50 pm:

    Well Bob, what you said was a fairly intelligent analysis . . . until you snuck in your partisan garbage at the end. Just can’t resist your hyperpartisanship can you?


  72. - Lincoln16 - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    Steve Brown never has been accused of having a BACKBONE to begin with. And you know the Chamber of
    Commerce & Small Businesses will pass the Minimum Wage onto the Consumer.


  73. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 2:09 pm:

    Soccer Mom is correct, Bob is wrong.

    Most minimum wage jobs are in the hospitality industry, and her KFC analogy is spot-on.


  74. - Tony t. - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 2:11 pm:

    - Soccermom - I agree with most of what you’ve written here. And I don’t think having a higher minimum in Chicago will reduce employment in the state or region. Jobs won’t be eliminated, but they will be moved.

    In the long run, Chicago might regret jumping ahead of the state on this. If there is a $4.75 gap between the minimum wage in Chicago and it’s immediate neighbors — and that’s what scheduled to happen four years from now — the retail strips on the city’s side of the borders are really gonna be hurt. It will be interesting to see how much property and sales tax revenue that costs the city. Some Chicago residents will have a few more bucks in their pockets thanks to the higher wages — and that will be good for the economy. But the city, of course, doesn’t collect income tax. Will the extra cash created by higher wages fire up the economy enough to offset the loss of sales and property tax created by Chicago retail outlets closing? Probably not if that cash is spent at retail outlets in the burbs.


  75. - Arizona Bob - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    @YDD

    =Soccer Mom is correct, Bob is wrong.

    Most minimum wage jobs are in the hospitality industry, and her KFC analogy is spot-on.=

    Source please, YDD? Educate me!


  76. - Soccermom - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 2:31 pm:

    Arizona Bob, you’re provably wrong on at least one point: Soccermom spent 10 years living on the West Side. (I moved out after my best friend was murdered on the street while walking to the El.) During that time, I was the president of a non-profit grassroots child care center, and I can tell you that we didn’t hire “non-operational” folks.


  77. - Arizona Bob - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 2:46 pm:

    @soccermom

    Arizona= Bob, you’re provably wrong on at least one point: Soccermom spent 10 years living on the West Side. (I moved out after my best friend was murdered on the street while walking to the El.) During that time, I was the president of a non-profit grassroots child care center, and I can tell you that we didn’t hire “non-operational” folks.=

    That would be unusual if you got government grant money per my experience. I didn’t say they were “non-operational”. I said they were hired to meet political “needs” in the community, whether they performed necessary services or not.

    Was there any influence to hire certain people from “community leaders”? Did you pay EVERYONE above minimum wages? How would a 67% increase over 5 years for min wage workers have affected your staffing,benefits, services and raises for those making above min wage?

    I’d really be interested in your response to this. I’m not just trying to put you on the spot.

    Out of curiosity, what happened to the day care center after you left?


  78. - William j Kelly - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    FYI do not confuse the old WJK with the original WJK who by all accounts was a pretty sweet kid. http://youtu.be/rKKPV5sT5EI


  79. - zatoichi - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 3:24 pm:

    There are whole worlds of services that will be effected by major jumps in minimum wages that I have never seen discussed.

    In our town there are sheltered workshops that employ people with various levels of developmental disabilities. Under DOL 14c regs, these organizations can pay subminimum wages based on local commensurate wages and the speed a person can maintain for a job. DOL has strict rules on how these workshops can contract for work with local companies. Bids must be above mininmum wage and include all the usual overhead cost. The fact the workshop may need 5-6 people (due to each person’s work speed and capabilities) to equal the work output of 1 person in a for profit company becomes the workshop’s issue. When min wage goes to $10, Indiana/Wisconsin will still be a $7.25 and Missouri will be at $7.65 where do you think these jobs will go? Community employment by people with I/DD backgrounds is very low at $8.25. Think it will show a vast increase at $10? This min wage will effect thousands of people in these programs throughout the state.

    Around us in the rural part of the state, there are many small packing and manufacturing companies that pay $9 and less for most jobs. Not just retail, restaurant, or service work.

    Local workshop was asked to bid a janitorial job in a state agency office complex. Bid was based on $10. Result: too expensive. Imagine that.

    Same angle: State wide Average wage in a community based residential program is about $9.50 an hour. As I write this, DHS is being asked to consider 20% cuts for FY16. So does minimum wage become an unfunded mandate or does the state increase rates from some source it apparently does not have? Or do organizations simply shut down their programs?


  80. - walker - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 3:43 pm:

    SoccerMom: Sheesh. I was going to nominate you until you opened a campaign office.

    Arizona Bob: Having been associated with several service organizations that receive state grants, my experience is that most key employees are not political or community leader-influenced hires. The work is too hard and too important.

    Not to say it never has occurred, but please don’t let a few exceptions cloud our vision of the hundreds of good, and sometimes even heroic, leaders who work in these jobs.


  81. - Soccermom - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 3:53 pm:

    Walker — it’s your own fault. Previous to your comment, I couldn’t figure out why William J. Kelly ™ was slathering Rich with praise. When you so perspicaciously identified his likely motivation, my competitive side just took over…


  82. - A guy... - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 5:07 pm:

    Walk, she’s right. You did “perspicaciously identified his likely motivation”. Sometimes when she says stuff like this, it’s like she finishes my sentences. lol. Nominate her anyway. It’s an honor to just be nominated among this crowd. And when you do; be perspicacious about it, okay?
    #evenmoresmitten


  83. - Soccermom - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 5:29 pm:

    A guy… “an honor just to be nominated”?

    As a perennial bridesmaid across several categories — le sigh…

    It’s okay. I just want to give it my best shot, and the good Lord willing, things will work out.


  84. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 5:41 pm:

    ===It’s okay. I just want to give it my best shot, and the good Lord willing, things will work out.===

    You have to approach the nomination with fear and arrogance.

    That’s the secret.

    - Soccermom - A good friend of mine used to say, “Politics is a very simple game. You throw the Spin, you catch the Spin, you hit the Spin. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.” Think about that for a while.

    Anyone who understands Nuke LaLoosh…


  85. - Soccermom - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 5:50 pm:

    OW — let’s just be honest here. I know my audience, and I am pandering.

    (I love the fear and arrogance quote. It keeps me going on dark days.)


  86. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 6:11 pm:

    - Soccermom -, it’s only pandering if you are unaware of what makes it work and why.

    That ain’t you, and that’s to your credit.

    As for Mr. Kelly who started all this, I’d be more worried if I understood what he was up to.


  87. - Soccermom - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 6:21 pm:

    OW — Seriously, I have been tremendously puzzled by Mr. Kelly’s blandishment campaign. Of course, this is not the first time I have been tremendously puzzled by Mr. Kelly…


  88. - Wordslinger - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 6:33 pm:

    always fascinating to read about now minimum wage workers rule the economy. A buck and a half bump to a burger flipper is more dangerous than Jamie Dimon. Stone cold crazy.

    You know, back in the day, I used to do a lot of illegal drugs, but I was never so messed up that I thought minimum wage workers were anything but those who made the least money.

    Those who think something else, you are in some kind of crazy cult.


  89. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 7:07 pm:

    - Soccermom -

    It’s the Holiday season, maybe he was visited by three ghosts, of his political past, present, and future(?)

    I do think we may find out soon enough.

    If a well-beibg check is needed…


  90. - Soccermom - Monday, Dec 8, 14 @ 7:22 pm:

    I’ll let you take care of the well-being check, OW. The only time I met William J. Kelly IRL, it was not tremendously pleasant. I am glad to hear that he has taken the civility pledge since then.


  91. - A guy - Tuesday, Dec 9, 14 @ 7:43 am:

    ===You know, back in the day, I used to do a lot of illegal drugs===

    Sling, you have no idea how much this one statement clears things up for me. This is a “Helen Keller” moment for me. lol


  92. - A guy - Tuesday, Dec 9, 14 @ 7:45 am:

    S-Mama, Bridesmaids always get the most attention. Not always a trophy, but memories of a lifetime. That being said, “you’ll be on my first ballot” for the shoe. Because….I’m smitten.


  93. - Soccermom - Tuesday, Dec 9, 14 @ 9:46 am:

    A guy…

    Aw, that’s so nice to hear on a gray day


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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