Politicians have always used empty promises to garner votes. But on Dec. 2, our very unpopular mayor and his band of 45 ruppets (Rahm’s puppets) voted in a higher minimum wage for Chicago business owners to pay. Beginning in July 2015, Chicago’s minimum wage will be increased to $10 an hour and eventually to $13 by 2019. I don’t begrudge anyone making more money, but I do suggest that we all pay attention to who will truly benefit from the higher wages and who stands to be on the outside looking in, wondering why they can’t be a part of the process.
Now in the fantasy world of our city council, employers will just dig into their extra millions of dollars in reserves and begin magically paying the new salary and all will be well. In the world of those aldercritters who only feed off the taxpayer dole and have never run anything more than their mouths, there won’t be any consequences that go along with the increase. How much will a hamburger at McDonald’s cost as the owner passes on the increased wages in the price of a burger? Will workers’ hours be reduced so that their actual gross increase is zero?
Our city council is acting like this is the 1970s when people today don’t have choices and easy access to suburban options. I watched a man put back four cases of water in Food 4 Less on Thanksgiving Day when he learned he would have to pay $5 in taxes on it. I never buy water in the city and I know there are thousands like me who refuse to have our pockets gouged. How many of us buy our gasoline in the suburbs because it can be 30 or more cents a gallon cheaper?
And if we used the sales tax on cars as an example, ever since Chicago began collecting sales taxes on cars no matter where the resident bought it, look at how over the years all the car dealerships and those corresponding jobs have left the city. What other businesses can close up shop in Chicago and move to the suburbs so that their workers don’t see the increased salary? Years ago I drove a bus for those with disabilities and although 90 percent of the rides were in Chicago, the business was located just on the outskirts of the city on purpose.
What are some of the other unintended consequences of the City Council’s rushed decision? Anyone who has ever looked for a job lately knows it is now all about the competition for the position. In days of old, someone living in the suburbs might turn their noses up at coming into the city for $8.75 a hour. So city residents had a slight advantage in the competition for certain jobs. But at $10 an hour, there will be suburbanites willing to come into the city; there will be college students competing against high school students, graduates, or dropouts. Where once you only had five people applying for a position, there will now be 30.
Do you think the City Council ruppets gave any deep consideration to minimum wage classism? So two McDonald workers living in the same building will be paid different salaries if one has a job in Chicago and the other in Oak Park. Yet both have to pay the same increased taxes on their cellphone bill. Both have to pay for the overpriced city sticker. Both have to pay the same rent, utilities and whatever else.
Recently the mayor sat down with a local congressman lauding the POTUS’s new immigration decision, which puts those here illegally in position to compete as well for the limited jobs as soon as they get their “work papers.” If black folks in Austin don’t care who the workers are, then that is why a certain fried chicken fast food place years ago replaced the entire black staff with non-blacks while black folks are still 95 percent of the customers buying it. It is the reason that several currency exchanges that employed black workers consolidated and replaced the majority black staff with non-black workers.
Every Chicagoan, before they believe the hype and lies that the political election-season commercials are touting should ask a number of hard questions of the mayor who now wants our vote after ignoring us for the past four years.
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