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Minimum Wage Isn't Enough

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
Can a city really tell a company how much it should pay its workers?

A new ordinance says big box stores in Chicago like Wal-Mart or Target must pay their employees almost double the minimum wage, and a couple of dollars worth of benefits too.

The retailers immediately said they'd take it to court. Mayor Daley says, while he doesn't like the law, he hasn't vetoed it either.

The stores bring inexpensive goods into neighborhoods where they are desperately needed, and jobs too. Some fear the wage hike will chase the stores away, punishing both consumers and employees.

But advocates say just look at Costco. They pay well and apparently are doing well too.

The real culprit here is the minimum wage, stuck at $5.15 an hour, just where it's been for almost ten years now.

Minimum wage is what you pay undocumented workers. Seven or eight dollars is the real life minimum wage, and the Chicago City Council has said that's not enough.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
By Harry Smith