Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Better than Monday night Football: Ald. Moore, Streaming and on Cable

Ald. Joe Moore: That’s $10 in wages, and the equivalent of $3 in benefits.

Jeff Berkowitz: So that’s almost doubling the [6.50 Illinois] minimum wage in the City of Chicago for Big Box stores, because there is no minimum as to benefits.
Jeff Berkowitz: Joe Moore, do you believe in that? They buy more [at lower prices]?

Ald. Moore: Well, I think as a general principle, that may work.

Jeff Berkowitz: Okay, all right. There you go. There you go.
Watch a "Public Affairs," exclusive this week in the Chicago metro suburbs with Chicago Alderman Joe Moore [D-Rogers Park] debating and discussing the issues with show host and legal recruiter Jeff Berkowitz; Topics range from a Living Wage and its impact on employment to School Vouchers to Possessing Guns to eating Foie Gras.
See, below, for the Public Affairs suburban airing schedule.
Next Monday night's City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs will feature the same show with Ald. Moore at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21 [CANTV]
The "Public Affairs," podcast page gives you a choice of more than twenty-five episodes of “Public Affairs," including our show with Chicago Ald. Joe Moore [D-49th Ward], as well as interviews, discussions or remarks with or by U. S. Senators John McCain and Barack Obama, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Governor Rod Blagojevich, current State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, 27th District Senator Elect Matt Murphy [R-Palatine], newly re-elected 8th CD Congresswoman Melissa Bean , 9th CD Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Cook County Commissioners Tony Peraica [R-Riverside] and Forrest Claypool [D-Chicago] and many, many more pols on our video podcast page[Watch here].
Jeff Berkowitz: Living wage-- Were you the lead person pushing that?

Ald. Joe Moore: I was a lead sponsor. I had a number of co-sponsors, and, as I indicated, about two thirds of the City Council supported a living wage ordinance for workers at big-box retailers.

Jeff Berkowitz: “Big box,” that would be Target, who else?

Ald. Moore: The ordinance applied to any retail establishment with 75,000 square feet or more in retail space. So that covered the Wal-Marts, Targets, Home Depots, the leading stores in the retail industry.

Jeff Berkowitz: And that would ratchet, essentially, the minimum wage for employees working in those stores, from the current state minimum wage, which is $6.50 an hour, to $10.00, by the year 2010.

Ald. Moore: By the year 2010.

Jeff Berkowitz: Plus $3 in benefits, so that’s $13 an hour.

Ald. Moore: That’s $10 in wages, and the equivalent of $3 in benefits.

Jeff Berkowitz: So that’s almost doubling the [6.50 Illinois] minimum wage in the City of Chicago for Big Box stores, because there is no minimum as to benefits.

Ald. Moore: Well, this ordinance was going to be phased in over the next few years. [The living wage law in Chicago was vetoed by Mayor Daley and the City Council failed, earlier this year, in its effort to override the Mayor]. And, what we did was we took what one of the big-box retailers pays their employees today—which is Costco. Costco pays their employees a starting wage of $10 an hour and actually provides more than $3 an hour in benefits. So the idea was, if Costco can afford to do this, and they are a profitable business—they earned over a billion dollars in profit last year—and they provide consumers with good products at affordable prices—if they could do it, then the other guys could, as well. And we wanted to use Costco as the standard, rather than one of the other big-box retailers who are paying their employees subsistence wages, and not providing them with any benefits, or providing them with very few benefits.

Jeff Berkowitz: Did you take some economics along the way, when you were doing your undergraduate work and law school?

Ald. Moore: I did, indeed.

Jeff Berkowitz: And, you learned something about the free market, right?

Ald. Moore: I sure did. And I also learned about the need for government occasionally to step in, to curb the excesses of the free market. The minimum wage has been in effect in this nation since the 1930s. And many of the economists of the 1930s warned that the minimum wage would cost jobs and lead to economic calamity. As a matter of fact, having a minimum wage in place has helped to rebuild the economy out of the depression of the 1930s and has provided the economic stimulus that has led to the greatest economic expansion this world has ever seen in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

Jeff Berkowitz: Well, I think the overwhelming majority of economists would say that’s not the case…there are a number of economists who favor a minimum wage and a number who disagree-who would oppose it. I think the majority would oppose it…but what you said was that the minimum wage was responsible for bringing this country out of the great depression?

Ald. Joe Moore: Well—

Jeff Berkowitz: I mean I don’t think there is an economist worth his salt who would say that-

Ald. Joe Moore: I beg to differ—

Jeff Berkowitz: Give me [the name of] a Nobel Prize Laureate [in economics] who would say that.

Ald. Joe Moore: I would challenge you to look at the facts.
Jeff Berkowitz: Do you know about the law of Demand? You have heard that expression in economics?

Ald. Joe Moore: The laws of supply and demand?

Jeff Berkowitz: No, there is a law of supply; there is a law of demand. Then, there are laws of supply and demand. But, the law of demand simply says that at higher prices, people want less [of something] and at lower prices, people want more. That’s what we call a demand curve in economics. Graphically, we would say there is a line that slopes downward to the right if we were graphing it [a negative slope]. Do you believe in general in the Law of Demand- that at higher prices, people buy less and at lower prices, they buy more?

Ald. Moore: Well,

Jeff Berkowitz: Joe Moore, do you believe in that? They buy more [at lower prices]?

Ald. Moore: Well, I think as a general principle, that may work.

Jeff Berkowitz: Okay, all right. There you go. There you go.

Ald. Moore: But, there are other factors you have to look into. If we wanted to have automobiles cost a lot less, then maybe we should pay automobile workers a minimum wage.

Jeff Berkowitz: No, their wages are set by the market.

Ald. Moore: Henry Ford knew something. He was a capitalist.

Jeff Berkowitz: Yes, yes.

Ald. Moore: He knew that if you paid your workers a decent wage, they’d go out and buy cars.

Jeff Berkowitz: He paid them a market wage- their marginal product was [equal to their wage]. And, there are people who aren’t very skilled. It’s sad, but true. And, if you take someone who is not very skilled and, say, their marginal product [per hour] is seven dollars, and the government requires that employers pay that person ten dollars, they are going to be unemployed at $10/hour, as opposed to employed at $7/hour. And, the group of people in society on which that law falls most heavily are the people with low skills, which is correlated with low education, which is correlated with race. So, you are outpricing low skilled, low income blacks [and Hispanics], and you are benefiting high skilled, high income whites [the competitors to minorities for those jobs]. You understand that?

Ald. Joe Moore: Jeff, you are generally a political conservative. Don’t conservatives believe in the value of hard work?

Jeff Berkowitz: Of course.

Ald. Joe Moore: Of course you do. Shouldn’t hard work be valued? Shouldn’t we reward hard work with at least paying someone a wage on which they can at least support their families?

Jeff Berkowitz: But, the labor theory of value went out [of favor] about two hundred years ago [Ed. Note: See Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations]. Currently, we understand, from economics that work and skills are valued by demand and supply. If we want to help those people-- and Joe, I don’t doubt for a minute that you do, I know you are sincere-- but if you really want to help those relatively low skilled minorities, go out and figure out ways to improve their skills. [Then], the free market will reward them and give them higher wages, which is a good segue into our next topic, which is education. What are the Chicago Public Schools doing to improve the quality of education, especially for minorities, since about 85% of the kids in the public schools in Chicago are minorities, right?
From this week's suburban airing on Public Affairs of Chicago Ald. Joe Moore [D-Rogers Park, 49th Ward], recorded on November 5, 2006, as it is airing tonight and this week in 35 Chicago Metro suburbs on Comcast Cable.
In twenty-five North Shore, North and Northwest suburbs, the "Public Affairs," show airs tonight in the regular weekly Public Affairs slot, 8:30 pm on Comcast Cable Ch. 19 or 35, as indicated, below.

In ten North Shore suburbs, the show is also airing in its regular airing slot at 8:30 pm on Comcast Cable Ch. 19 this week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as indicated, below.
The suburban episode of Public Affairs, featuring Chicago Ald. Joe Moore [D-49th Ward], airs tonight:

at 8:30 pm on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, parts of Inverness, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northfield, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wilmette

And at 8:30 pm on Comcast Cable Channel 35 in Arlington Heights, Bartlett, Glenview, Golf, Des Plaines, Hanover Park, Mt. Prospect, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Schaumburg, Skokie, Streamwood and Wheeling.

and Monday night, Wednesday night and Friday night at 8:30 pm on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Bannockburn, Deerfield, Ft. Sheridan, Glencoe, Highland Park, Highwood, Kenilworth, Lincolnshire, Riverwoods and Winnetka.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at JBCG@aol.com