June 11, 2004

Chicago Aldermen

Either you set up and protect institutions--like property rights and a court system--and let a free people choose in the marketplace, or you tell an unfree people how to act in the marketplace. Many Chicago Aldermen, seeking a third way, want WM to succeed only so much if they even let it enter the South Side:

Specifically, the ordinance aims to require companies to pay a living wage, provide a minimum level of benefits, remain neutral in union attempts to organize workers and promise not to use their buying power as leverage to force competitors to close up shop.

"The philosophy is to make sure anyone seeking to do business in Chicago contributes to the overall economic well-being of the city," North Side Ald. Joe Moore (49th) said.

"Without it, these businesses could end up costing the city economically with lost businesses and jobs at a faster rate than (places like) Wal-Mart provide.

"It's like the oil barons of 100 years ago. The oil industry got so big and powerful that it resulted in no competition at all."

Mr. Moore should stick to politics, because his economic history is senseless. Other aldermen don't know how to respond:
Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. (21st), whose South Side ward includes the proposed Wal-Mart, said he's skeptical of the proposal to put conditions on business redevelopment agreements.

"I'm fearful it will be another thing that may run business out of the city of Chicago along with the head tax and other things businesses have to agree to come into the city," he said. "Maybe it's good in theory ... but I'm afraid businesses will say it's easier to locate in Evergreen Park, Bedford Park, Skokie and other places along the perimeter of the city and still get (Chicago's) market."

Sir, it's not good in theory; in fact it's bad in the theory, and the theory is bad itself. However, it will give aldermen far more power, control, and "respect" than they have today; maybe that is the real reason it is being proposed?

Posted by Kevin on June, 11 2004 at 10:04 AM