Chicago Considers Boosting Minimum Wage To $15/Hour

Tyler Durden's picture

If there is one thing that the militarized warzone with the weapons ban (and which makes east Ukraine look like a kindergarten) namely Chicago, did not need in order to fall further into social chaos and disarray, it is a new tidal wave of unemployment: people freshly without jobs who for lack of better options would likely join the daily survival of the fittest routine on the streets of the windy city. And a tidal wave of unemployment is precisely what Chicago is likely to get if, as a group of Chicago aldermen have proposed, the minimum wage in the nation's third-largest city is nearly doubled to $15 an hour. Why $15? Because according to recently striking McDonalds line cooks, it's only fair, and is the minimum pay that fast-food workers have sought during national protests.

Chicago won't be the first to push for a city-level minimum pay raise: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced a plan earlier in May to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, making it the first major U.S. city to commit to such a high base level of pay. The proposal awaits approval by the city council. New York and San Diego also are considering such raises.

However, unlike other cities, Chicago is unique in that it has not one but two wage hike proposals on the table. As Reuters reports:

The group proposing the wage increase is separate from a panel Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel named last week among aldermen, labor and business leaders to provide recommendations for raising the minimum wage.


Alderman Ricardo Munoz said 12 to 15 of the 50 council members support the proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour and he expected more to join.


Illinois lawmakers on Wednesday approved an advisory referendum for the November ballot that asks whether the state's minimum wage should be raised to $10 an hour from $8.25. Governor Pat Quinn said he would sign the bill.

As for the justification, it's a cliched as that old Keynesian broken window fallacy:

"Study after study demonstrates that when you put money into the pockets of consumers, they spend it," Munoz said. "They don't hoard it in their mattresses."

And what does study after study show employers do to their employees when a mandatory and unexpected intervention by the nanny state tells them they have no choice but to see their profit collapse if they keep their existing workforce and have zero chance of passing on higher labor costs to an insolvent consumer? Do they, perhaps, fire a whole lot of people and tell those who still have jobs they have no choice but to work double as hard for the new minimum wage?

We should find out very soon.

And speaking of warzone, there was also this idiocy:

Declaring gun control "essential" to public safety, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday proposed a gun shop ordinance that would videotape gun purchases and limit sales to one per month per buyer. The ordinance comes in response to a January court order invalidating a longtime ban on gun shops within the nation's third-largest city. The proposed law would require a 72-hour waiting period to purchase handguns and a 24-hour waiting period to purchase rifles and shotguns.

The ordinance would also require gun store employees to undergo background checks, and sellers to do quarterly inventory audits and make store records available for police inspection.

"Gun control is essential to our public safety," Emanuel told reporters. He said the ordinance, which also would prohibit gun sales within 500 feet of schools, was "smart, tough and enforceable." The court order had given the city six months to come up with store policies.


Emanuel and the Chicago Police Department released a report on Tuesday showing that almost 60 percent of the guns used to commit a crime in Chicago between 2009 and 2013 had been initially purchased in states like Indiana, Wisconsin and Mississippi which do not require background checks for sales at gun shows or on the Internet.

And with gun control in Chicago, those guns will no longer be purchase in Indiana, Wisconsin and Mississppi?

Because if there is anything that could assure the even more accelerated destruction of Chicago - a city which already boasted an unsurpassed murder rate when it had a gun ban - it would be giving central planners free reign over how to fix Chicago's "gun problem."

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ACP's picture

Do it please! When it causes Chicago's economy to collapse, it will be an example for what NOT to do!

JLee2027's picture

Green. I thought they collapsed years ago. 

WayBehind's picture

Why just $15? They should make it at least $50 :)


Reminds me of this:

Save_America1st's picture

Do it bitchez!!!  I fucking dare ya!!!  Can't wait to sit back with a big 'ol buttery bucket 'o popcorn and watch that fucked up debacle burn down to the ground! 

Keyser's picture

A minimum wage of $30K per year for blue and white collar employees... This is going to end well... /s


NoDebt's picture

How can his utterly dependent constituency look to him to fix a problem unless he causes one in the first place?

max2205's picture

After chicqgo taxes they still net $5 per hour....weeeee!

economics9698's picture

Jump, jump, jump!!!!! lol

deeply indebted's picture

Companies will turn more to automation as well. Why the hell pay $15/hour when you can buy a robot?

I'm sure there will be no end to the unintended consquences.

graneros's picture

Hell why stop at $15 an hour?  Why not a million an hour? Just think of it, all our problems would be solved. Work one day make 8 mil and retire. A new person fills your job the next day and the cycle continues.  Unemployment solved as well. Soon we'll all be millionaire retirees living in a progressive utopia and all Americans will be happy, healthy, (free Obamacare) and living stress free lives.

Then we can tackle climate warming, cooling, change, whatever by mandating all carbon spewing vehicles be replaced with unicorns. Magic unicorns that can... blah balh blah blah blah.

g'kar's picture

This article would be a good reason why the push for minimum wage hikes. Unions ride the wage hike up.



          "The Wall Street Journal’s Richard Berman explains:

The real reason is that some unions and their members directly benefit from minimum wage increases—even when nary a union member actually makes the minimum wage.

The Center for Union Facts analyzed collective-bargaining agreements obtained from the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. The data indicate that a number of unions in the service, retail and hospitality industries peg their base-line wages to the minimum wage.

The Labor Department’s collective-bargaining agreements file has a limited number of contracts available, so we were unable to determine how widespread the practice is. But the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union says that pegging its wages to the federal minimum is commonplace. On its website, the UFCW notes that “oftentimes, union contracts are triggered to implement wage hikes in the case of minimum wage increases.” Such increases, the UFCW says, are “one of the many advantages of being a union member.”

Antifaschistische's picture

In all fairness, we need a city to make this move so the rest of the world can watch and see what happens.

We also need a abolish Minimum Wage, FMLA, EEOC, Affirmative Action policies....and the rest of the world can watch what happens.

But we know this experiement would never happen.  Because people would flood from city A to city B and the socialist who don't believe in a freedom to choose one's own destiny would be left scratching their heads in total dismay.   We must have mutual economic destruction to be truly fair.

falconflight's picture

Finally, a silver lining to this shyt sandwich.

ThirdCoastSurfer's picture

I make $17.23 an hour now here in Chicago and if you start paying the kid at Mickey D's $15 an hour then you damn sure better start paying me $27 or you can take all the knowledge, experience and stress I put up and shove it in a paper bag and take it to go.

SumTing Wong's picture

I'm glad this didn't end with, "...and I sit on my butt on the internet all day doing it. You can make huge bucks, too, by going to the following link..."

As you can see, this is already starting off well. Class envy. And if they're getting more, I should get more too. This will lead to inflation and more taxes being taken out of your paycheck. You can trust me on this one.

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

I always wonder of this stuff is another way to extend and pretend on social security. Think about it- if they get to 15/hour, they will still get most of what they pay in federal taxes back when they file, especially if they have kids. But social security stays, no refund on that. This will force the workers, and especially their employers to provide a large increase in the money going in to everyone's favorite Ponzi scheme. Most on here know its a good possibility that it will be offset by the unemployment that is sure to follow, but people dumb enough to do shit like this probably don't realize that

SilverIsMoney's picture

I make roughly $17 but i'm on salary... today at worked someone asked the question why we wouldn't quit and go work an easier job...


we gotta get outta here...

falconflight's picture

Yeah but progressives vomit the meme that the only way to equality is "fairness."  Equal misery for all but the ruling elites.

Monty Burns's picture

Why just $15? They should make it at least $50


Exactly.  What a boost that'd be to the economy.  Can't understand why they don't do it.

ACP's picture

Or maybe Rahm's plan to increase violence (after the inevitable layoffs) so that stricter gun control can be enacted.

jimijon's picture

Time for me to run for alderman and then mayor.

If there are any Chicagoans here who live in Pilsen or ChinaTown, give me a shout. It's time to start the ZHParty!


rwl160's picture

i'm in bridgeport.. lets party..


Fidel Sarcastro's picture

Rahm's a cunt that thinks he's OWED the mayor's position who may not win reelection. This is his stunt to win.

CuriousPasserby's picture

I left Chi-town as soon as I got my degree and never looked back. 

Jlasoon's picture

Maybe if life wasn't so damn expensive, ahhh fuck it. This is pointless. 

PT's picture

I stand by these assertions:

1.  The Achilles Heel of a minimum wage increase is the cheaper labour elsewhere.
2.  Otherwise, the benefits of richer customers and debt dilution outweigh the  burden of more expensive employees ... until some external wall is hit, such as reaching a resource supply limit.
3.  Minimum wage increases are actually about allowing debt to be repaid instead of defaulted on - bailing out the banks.
4.  Point 3 will be negated by the banks themselves when every dollar in pay rises results in real estate prices rising by ten dollars, or 20 dollars if everyone is already sharing accommodation.
5.  Banks have more political leverage than minimum wage workers.

For those where the action is, this stuff should not be too hard to track.  Minimum wages and minimum wage increases, real estate prices - mortgages and rents at the cheaper end of town, number of people sharing ( okay, reality vs official figures may be hard to compare - but haven't RE researchers had that problem since forever? )
Debt defaults vs real estate mortgages vs rents vs minimum wage over time.  That might be worth looking at on a graph or two.

ElvisDog's picture

You're overthinking this. The question is can a given minimum wage job generate $20 profit to its employer ($15 plus employer taxes). If not, then that job is going away. All this blah-blah about "allowing debt to be repaid" doesn't mean shit if the job goes away.

PT's picture

How do jobs disappear when your customers get RICHER???  Oh deary me, I have to pay my workers more.  Well, if your customers get exact the same pay rise then, at worst, you will end up EXACTLY WHERE YOU STARTED - except with higher numbers written on everything (inflation)  AND DILUTED DEBT.

Oh but your customers earn more than the minimum wage, do they?  Well, at worst they will demand proportionate pay rises and what I wrote above still holds.  Remember, the MINIMUM wage is a MINIMUM because those workers HAVE NO LEVERAGE.

What you are left with is as I wrote above. 

ElvisDog's picture

The jobs disappear because they no longer generate a profit for the employer. The employer has two choices - raise prices or switch to automation. You seem to assume that everyone will just go along with the price increases and the volume of business will be unchanged. That is classic Keynesian thinking (of which you seem to buy hook, line, and sinker). The reality is that if the price of a Big Mac value meal is now $10 a lot of people will stop buying Big Mac value meals.

Let's go one step further - who besides employers will be hurt with the $15 minimum wage and resulting price increases? Anyone on a fixed income - retired persons on pensions or SS, anyone who is on public assistance on food stamps, etc. They will clamor for cost of living increases.

Your assertion (in all caps no less) that we will end up "EXACTLY WHERE YOU STARTED" is Keynesian crap because it assumes that you can change a major component of an economic system in isolation without it having any unintended and negative effects on anything else.

PT's picture

From someone else who disagrees with my conclusions:

You mean you can double their wages and prices go up by only 15%?

PT's picture

Given that the price of real estate quadrupled over seven years, you may want to reconsider the impact of debt on the economy, in particular in the form of impact on spending power of minimum wage workers.

But no, someone else supplies your rich customers.  They just magically appear out of "rich customer fairyland". 

ElvisDog's picture

Once again you seem to assume that price levels will remain the same if the minimum wage is increased to $15. In the real world, prices will increase. I hope they do raise the minimum wage to $15 so we can all see what will happen to prices, employment, etc. How will you explain things when prices rise and population employment ratio declines? The weather?

PT's picture

No, I do not expect prices to stay the same.  I expect this to happen:

15% inflation from doubling the minimum wage?  Sounds like a good trade to me, but as you may have noticed, others disagree.  How many minimum wage earners shop at Walmart?  Keep thinking.

What if employment goes down?  Then try point one from my comment 4803598 above.

Gaius Frakkin' Baltar's picture

I wouldn't get your hopes up.... Has anything been learnt from Detroit?

Jlasoon's picture

I can see it now,

"Hey Johnny, how was your weekend?"

"Good, my wife is pregnant. We just bought a new SUV. Great deal. Have you seen those new Pathfinder hybrids? They now do 19MPG, can you believe that boss? And it was only $42,000."

"Sounds good Johnny"

"Boss, we just bought a house too, beautiful place. Realtor told us it was a great time to buy. He said if we invest wisely we should make 7000% in the coming year. He said the market has never been this blazin' hot and that we were smart to buy." 

"Well listen here Johnny, the city of Chicago is mandating that I pay you $15/hour now. My operating expenses are about to skyrocket and I have to make some slight modifications to my workforce. Johnny, 'You're Fired'."

"But my house? What about my car? Shit, my baby!!!" 

"Sorry Johnny, you're a good worker its just that America really 'sux' right now. Here's a map to your nearest unemployment office. Good luck Johnny."

"Fuck You Boss, I'm gonna kill you." 


Cathartes Aura's picture


Johnny's obviously not the brightest bulb in the string, if he's buying houses, driving new vehicles and  makin' babies on a minimum waged job.

natural selection.

Oldwood's picture

million points of light? (dim bulbs indeed)

Gringo Viejo's picture

Al Capone....John Wayne Gacy.....Obama.....
Has anything good ever come out of this shithole?

NidStyles's picture

Not sure I would put Capone on the same level with those pieces of shits. He was at least honest about what he was, the others had to lie their way into power or into their "thing".

falconflight's picture

Well maybe Upton Sinclair's novel about the shithole named Chicago.  The Jungle.

Rainman's picture

Robots everywhere rejoice !

    Never send an expensive human to do a machine's job !

Jlasoon's picture

So this means my specialized labor should be worth $500/hr, right? 

Oldwood's picture

No. Just be thankful you have anything to sell.

PT's picture

The average yob can't afford my specialized labour.  Well, not every day, anyway.


PT's picture

If only those horses weren't so lazy and demanding, always wanting rest breaks and hay all the time - they could have kept their jooooooooobbbs!!!  They NEVER would have been replaced by the motor car.

Why would anyone bother inventing a 100hp motor car if it was cheaper just to tie a hundred horses to the front of their carriage?

Dumb, lazy unemployed people.  If they didn't price themselves out of the market then they could get a job digging coal out of the ground by hand and swimming with it all the way to China.  Jobs for all!







I, for one, welcome the robots.  Now where is the four hour working week they were supposed to bring with them? 

Oldwood's picture

You only say that because you either believe your job is safe or you believe those who do retain their job will gladly pay you to stay hame and not compete for theirs.